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Fiber: Complex and Simple - Dr. Hans Diehl

What exactly is dietary fiber? Why is it so fundamental for the human body? The only source of fiber comes from plants, thus explaining the absolute importance of plant-based diets. In this interview, Dr. Hans Diehl from Loma Linda University, describes the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber, and the essential function it plays in human digestion.
Dr. Hans Diehl: "In 1880 the milling industry began to change. It began to take whole kernels of wheat and grains and turn them into white flour products because they wanted to extend the shelf life of these products. And as they did this, they lost many of the nutrients, but not only the nutrients like minerals and vitamins, but they also lost 90% of the fiber in the food.
And here is the magic story of fiber. To start with, dietary fiber only comes from plant foods. Only plant foods contain fiber. You don't find fiber in meats or eggs or dairy products. They only come in plant foods. Actually dietary fiber is a very complex issue. Until recently we just thought of dietary fiber as something very simple. We thought of it as roughage, as bark. It adds more material to the food. 
Now we begin to understand that dietary fiber comes from many different sources. And because it comes from different sources, the idea of just taking a dietary supplement is not going to solve the problem. We need to eat more fiber from the different sources. Fiber comes from beans, fiber comes from oatmeal, fiber comes from fruits, fiber comes from grains. It's more than just the roughage, more than just the outside of the kernel that we used to think of. Fiber is a very complex issue. 
There are at least two major kinds of fiber. You have soluble fiber and you have insoluble fiber. The insoluble fiber comes from grains. It's a water holding kind of a fiber. For instance, it can soak up the water in the intestinal tract, just like a sponge, and that makes it very, very special because it has an effect on the food that goes through the intestinal tract, the stool, and this hugely then leads to larger stools, moist stools, stools that pass much much easier through the intestinal tract. And it's of course the antidote to constipation. Then you have a soluble fiber which has its benefit by reducing cholesterol levels, reducing your blood sugar levels and also stabilizing blood sugar. Fiber is a much more complex issue. It's more than just a simple thing. It's actually indigestible, but totally essential for good health".
This is a video of the web-tv Veggie Channel.
Director: Massimo Leopardi

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Hans Diehl

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