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Meat And Digestibility

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

Is Digestibility a Measure of Food Value?

Yes, if something we eat cannot be digested it is of no use to us as food. Most of the food we eat should he easily and rather completely digested.

Are All Foods Completely Digestible?

No, all foods are not completely digestible. Meat and milk are almost completely digestible, cereals and breads about 90 per cent digestible and vegetables and fruits are only slightly less well digested. The skins of fruits and fibrous and leafy vegetables contain some material that is not digested. For practical purposes we do not need to consider differences in digestibility, except, perhaps, in the case of certain vegetable proteins, peas and beans, which are only 78 to 83 per cent digestible.

Are Some Foods "Hard to Digest?"

Foods remain in the stomach different lengths of time and so differ in the ability to ward off hunger. Eating too much of these satisfying foods at certain times, such as late at night or when one is very tired, may lead to distress, and we say the food is hard to digest. As a matter of fact, these foods move on the intestines later and the digestion is then completed. Sugars and starchy foods leave the stomach sooner than protein and fatty foods. Protein foods, such as meat, are very satisfying foods since they remain in the stomach about three to four hours. It should be clearly understood, however, that meat digests thoroughly and easily.

Are Foods Which Appease the Appetite Satisfying Foods?

Sugar and sweet foods easily end the clamors of one's appetite. This effect soon wears off, however, and hunger returns. On the other hand, meat and similar foods do not stop the appetite so rapidly but give a feeling of satisfaction for a longer length of time.

Does Undigested Food Cause Trouble?

Sometimes undigested particles of food pass on through the stomach and small intestine and then remain in the larger intestine for a time and cause trouble. It must be remembered that these food particles could and should have been digested in the stomach or small intestines. Their pressure in the lower bowel, especially during constipation, may cause distress and some slight illness.

Is Indigestible Food Matter Desirable?

Yes, a certain amount of food matter that is not digestible is a good thing. This is the cellulose and fibrous matter of certain fruits, leafy vegetables, roots, stalks and bran. This gives bulk to the material in the large intestine, arouses action on the part of the intestinal muscles, and aids in sweeping out food residues and other undesirable matter.

Do Meat and Animal Foods Give Bulk?

No, meat and other animal foods are completely digested and contain no bulk forming material.

What Foods Should Be Eaten for Bulk?

Along with our other foods we should all use leafy vegetables, stalks, roots, fruits, or bran in order to get enough of this desirable bulky material. We should use some of these twice a day.

Why Do We Eat Meat?

Some of us may eat meat because we know it is nutritious and wholesome. Some may eat it because of its fine protein, and others for its iron. But most of us eat meat because we like it. We like its flavor. It tastes good and it appeals to our appetites.

Is Appetite a Safe Guide in Selecting Food?

A natural appetite is a fairly safe guide in the selection of food. We are sometimes told that our appetites are not safe guides; that we are using so many refined and artificial foods that our appetite, and sense of taste are not to be trusted. There is truth in both statements. However, man's natural liking for certain foods must indicate that they are good. Natural foods are meat, milk, fruits, vegetables and whole cereals. They all make a different appeal to our appetites. Add good judgment, based on knowledge, to the dictates of your unspoiled appetite and then you can make a wise selection.

What About the Foods That Don't Make This Strong Appeal?

Some foods do not make such a strong appeal to our appetites. As a rule we must chew these well, and so we mix them with the saliva needed for their digestion. These foods are then readily digested and are nourishing:

Is the Flavor of Meat an Aid to Digestion?

Yes, the fine flavor of meat aids in digestion. But meat probably would digest about as well if placed directly in our stomachs without being seen. The juicy part of the meat contains a substance that causes a good flow of digestive juices in the stomach as soon as this juicy part enters the stomach. Between the twoŚthis substance in the juice of the meat and its flavor and aromaŚmeat gets a fine reception in the stomach and is almost completely digested by the normal person.

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