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Humans Do Not Produce Cellulase to Break Down Cellulose

Human beings do not produce or secrete the enzyme, cellulase, to break down cellulose-containing foods. 

Thus, eating foods that are high in cellulose is a poor food choice and compromises digestion. 

Foods that are high in cellulose includes grasses, weeds, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, collard greens, kale, and cauliflower.

Though these foods have a reputation for being very nutrient rich, containing a plethora of minerals, vitamins, fatty acids, and some simple sugars, the high cellulose content that they contain makes them not physiologyically suited for us. We can get these same nutrients from our natural foods such as fruits and tender greens and leaves. 

We do not produce cellulase that can break down the cellulose. 

Many sources of health information may tell you that although we cannot break it down, it is healthy for us, because it provides roughage to clear out our digestive tract. No.

Our bodies prefer the soft, soluble fibers found in the tender fruits and vegetables, not the rough, harsh insoluble type found in vegetable matter, such as cruciferous vegetables. Insoluble fiber can be harsh on the GI tract of the human body, irritating it and scratching it. Also, their indigestible nature makes them taxing on our bodies. 

Just as proof to this argument, let's examine how true herbivores, who consume mostly cellulose-containing foods, handle the digestion of cellulose-containing plant foods. 

If the theory that cellulose provides indigestible roughage that cleans out our digestive tract is true, the same would happen for them during their processing of it. This is not the case, though. 

True herbivores are ruminants. Ruminants are mammals that are able to acquire nutrients from plant-based food by fermenting it in a specialized stomach prior to digestion, principally through microbial actions. Herbivores, such as cows, have four-chambered stomachs specifically to break down plant matter. With ruminants, such as cows, plant material is initially taken into the rumen, where it is processed mechanically and exposed to bacteria and then can break down cellulose (foregut fementation). So herbivores have a specialized compartment in their stomach, specifically to break down cellulose. Only once the cellulose is broken down does it proceed for further digestion. Humans do not have this specialized compartment in their body, as herbivores do. The cellulose in herbivores do not just go "undigested and cleans out their system". In contrary, the cellulose is the first thing digested in herbivores before it proceeds through the GI tract.

Thus, our lack of the production cellulase to break down cellulose in foods is an indication that we are not at all like herbivores. We do have cellulase to break down cellulose or the specialized GI tract that allows for the unique processing of cellulose. 

Our ability to handle cellulose is poor and, thus, foods rich in cellulose compromise our digestion and health. 

Tags of Post: cellulase, cellulose, humans, do not produce, do not secrete, enzyme, cruciferous vegetables

Author: Natural Living

Published on June 20, 2018


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