Dietary Fiber and Diverticulosis
The bran of cereals constitutes more than half of their vitamin and mineral value, but in order to make cereals more palatable, food manufacturers remove this part and feed it to livestock. Cereals are then enriched" by putting back four of the twenty-two nutrients that were removed. The whole situation is ironic in the wasteful pattern it encourages. Moreover, by the time most of these foods reach our plates they are soft, smooth, and almost entirely lacking the fiber necessary to keep the colon adequately stimulated. Diverticulosis starts showing up in people over fifty, whose "unstimulating" diet has been the pattern of a lifetime. In this condition the colon wall is stretched into blind pockets that accumulate fecal matter and may become sealed off from the main cavity. Other related problems include constipation, obesity, and even cancer.
Whole-grain cereals are a major source of dietary fiber. Bran has 9 to 12 percent crude fiber; dry beans, lentils, and soybeans have over 4 percent (equivalent to 1.2 to 1.5 percent after cooking with added water); roasted nuts have 2.3 to 2.6 percent; and most fruits and vegetables contain 0.5 to 1 percent, although there is some loss during cooking.