Fiber − it is absolutely critical for a healthy digestive tract. It expedites food's journey through our systems and stimulates healthy and regular elimination. Cellulose is the insoluble fiber found in fruits and veggies (and grasses and legumes). As our bodies absorb all the rich nutrients from these foods, the fiber passes through; and we stay regular, satisfied, and healthy. Go, balance!
But what happens in a culture obsessed with low-fat- high-fiber-instant gratification food? Manufacturers create their own version of cellulose. It replaces the plant-based fiber and is inexpensive... looking and tasting just like fat! However, it contains a very low-fat content, fewer calories, and it's delicious! Sound like a win? Sure, if you want to eat wood. CHEMICALLY PROCESSED WOOD.
When you look at a label and find "cellulose" as an additive, chances are you will soon be dining on wood pulp. It adds a smoothing texture to many ice creams, and it extends the shelf life of food in general. It is used in shakes, bbq sauce, mustard, syrup, and even breads, crackers, baking mixes, and frozen foods. And it makes an appearance in many organic products −after all, what's more organic than a tree?
It's upsetting that the FDA does not regulate the use of cellulose in our food; and that without rules, manufacturers have carte blanche to sell less and less 'real' food and more and more wood filler. Undoubtedly, the use of wood pulp as fiber is a lucrative business, but what does it mean for us?
For starters, it means more cravings and less nutrition. Dietary fats burn slowly and give us energy. They satisfy hunger. Wood pulp, providing filler but zero nutrition, leaves us wanting more. As our brains conclude that we have not ingested real nutrients, it sends out signals of dissatisfaction. This, in turn, has us looking for more. As Dr. John Douillard, DC explains, " It seems that, very soon, we will be hungry again for something to satisfy a palate that was undernourished from the previous, highly processed meal. This is commonly called a craving, causing us to reach for our favorite comfort foods." (lifespa.com)
Ugh. So what do we do??? Read labels! Try to eat a minimum of processed foods. And avoid cellulose. There is nothing more satisfying than absorbing nature's nutrients through unprocessed, fresh, wholesome food. It's satisfying, nutritious, and energy producing. Jack Lalaine wouldn't eat anything if it came out of a wrapper. And although that practice isn't always practical... or possible!... for us as we navigate crazy-busy days, it is inspirational and truly... food for thought.