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An unrefined but elegant guide to healthful eating: a low-fat, cholesterol-free classic - vegetarian style.

An Unrefined But Elegant Guide to Healthful Eating A Low-Fat, Cholesterol-Free Classic -- Vegetarian Style

Surprising links are being found between fiber and many common health problems. Heart disease, colon cancer, hiatus hernia, and even varicose veins and hemorrhoids are among the common problems related to the lack of fiber in foods.

In the modern refining methods used for grains, the fiber -- the indigestible portion of vegetable foods -- is discarded. Grains normally contain generous amounts of fiber, but this is lost as whole grains are refined to make white bread and other processed foods.

At the same time, meats and dairy products have become predominant in the Western diet, and these foods contain no fiber at all. As the high-fat, low-fiber diet spreads, Asian and African countries that have never known Western diseases see the beginnings of epidemics of diabetes, obesity, appendicitis, colon cancer, and heart disease.

After a meal, bile acids are related into the intestine to help absorb the fats we have eaten. Bacteria in the intestine can turn these bile acids into cancer-promoting substances. But fiber passes undigested through the small intestine. It acts to speed the passage of food and to dilute and remove these harmful substances.

Countries where fiber is a significant part of the diet tend to have lower risk of colon cancer ... lower incidence of breast cancer ... because a diet high in fiber tends to be low in fat, and a low fat diet is linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer.

Without fiber to hold water, digestion compacts the intestinal contents ... as a result, constipation has become routine in the Western world. The cure is to include whole grains, such as oatmeal, brown rice, and whole wheat in generous portions, beans and other legumes ...

Delicious Pastas

Although spaghetti, macaroni, lasagne, and all the other delicious Italian dishes are often thought of as being high in calories, this reputation is entirely undeserved. Pastas can be not only low in calories, but also cholesterol-free and very low in fat. The noodles themselves are quite low in calories. The calories tend to be in the toppings.

And this is where the right choices can make a big difference. High-calorie toppings are those which contain large amounts of fat. Practically speaking, this means toppings that contain meat, cheese, or oil. The fats or oils in these foods are packed with calories. Even olive oil is as high in calories as any other fat or oil.

But if you choose tomato sauce or pesto sauce, you can have a delicious topping without the high calorie content. The key is to leave out the fats and oils.

When you are dining out ask for spaghetti with tomato sauce instead of meat sauce. Restaurants which serve spaghetti can almost always give you a tomato sauce, whether or not it is on the menu.

Now, about those noodles. Because noodles are rich in carbohydrates, many people have assumed that this means they are high in calories. In fact, it is a myth that carbohydrates are fattening. Carbohydrates contain only four calories per gram compared to nine calories per gram of fat or oil.
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Title Annotation:spaghetti with tomato or pesto sauce; includes recipes
Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Sep 22, 1989
Previous Article:Cooking for cancer prevention.
Next Article:Rest the pancreas of newly diagnosed diabetics.

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