Cellulose - My Magic Bullet?
Sunday, May 20, 2018
Toward the end of 2017, I had been eating for breakfast a frittata made of one whole egg, one whole egg white, 2 ounces of chopped leafy greens, 200 grams of fruit, and half of a small avocado on an Arnold Whole Wheat Sandwich Thin. The Arnold's Sandwich Thin is a high-fiber bread with 100 calories and 5 grams of fiber. The extra fiber comes from cellulose, which from my research probably means wood pulp.
My weight was holding steady, and I thought it would be healthier to remove the processed bread from my diet, so after Christmas I decided to ditch the sandwich thin, and replace the egg white with another whole egg. The result was slightly fewer calories for the total breakfast. I still got plenty of fiber throughout the day, do didn't worry about removing the 5 grams from the bread from my diet. I kept everything else about my diet the same.
Strangely, it seemed to take an inordinately long time for me to lose my Christmas indulgence weight, and then I kept on gaining. Before Christmas, I had to work to keep my weight up to 115, and after Christmas it was all I could do to keep from getting into the 120s. In addition, I was more constipated and bloated, my digestion was increasingly sluggish, and I could feel the "fullness" in my abdomen from the lack of transit. I realized that the only change I had made was to remove the bread, and began to wonder if the cellulose was the key to the mystery.
A couple of months ago, I kept the 2 egg frittata, and resumed eating a Sandwich Thin at breakfast 6 days a week. It took a couple of weeks, but the weight started coming off again, I could feel my digestive system working better, and the bloated/full feeling was gone. Interested, I researched if cellulose occurs naturally in any foods, and learned that most vegetables contain cellulose fiber, especially broccoli, asparagus, celery, and the like. However, just eating veggies didn't seem to put enough into my system to keep my plumbing running smoothly.
Then, Arnold in their wisdom decided to reformulate the sandwich thins. They've replaced the cellulose with oat fiber, reduced the fiber from 5 grams to 3, and have doubled both the sodium and sugar in the bread. Fortunately, their Pocket Thins still contain cellulose, so I switched over to them. I started reading labels on every high-fiber bread I could find, and discovered that most of them contain oat fiber. I discovered quite by accident that eating oats regularly makes me gain weight, so I wasn't going to try those. Then, I learned that oat fiber is made from oat hulls (it's different from oat bran), and is made up of mostly cellulose. So, I decided to try eating Damascus Whole Wheat Rollups every other day (alternating with the Pocket Thins) to check it out. Well, it took me 3 weeks to finish the package of oat fiber bread, and I don't think it's a good product for me. My weight has been creeping upward, and I can feel the sluggishness, and abdominal fullness returning. Tomorrow I'll go back to the Pocket Thins only, and see what happens. I suspect that in 2 weeks or so I'll be back to hovering in the low 115s.
I must say that the same 3 weeks included a lot of stress at work, and a somewhat reduced activity level. However, I don't think that would have been enough for the way I've been feeling. Our bodies sure are fascinating - I'll report back in a couple of weeks with the verdict on cellulose. I'd like to replace the processed bread with a more "natural" form of cellulose, but I suspect I'd have to eat buckets of broccoli and celery to have the same effect. We'll see!