Dr. Robert Lustig ("Sugar the Bitter Truth" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM ) was on the Livin'La Vida Lo-Carb show a few days ago and he stated there has been analysis on 50,000 year old human fecal matter that shows hunter gathers consumed 100 to 300 grams of fiber per day. He said it twice and I had to rewind it twice to make sure I heard it correctly. Before grains and beans is that even possible? If possible what would you have to consume to hit 200 grams per day? Dr. Lustig is a pretty smart guy but unless I'm missing something, that seems pretty wacky. Does anybody know what study he is referring to?
asked byMr__T (353)
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on July 07, 2010
at 11:50 PM
According to Eaton, paleolithic fiber consumption was likely more than 100 grams/day:
"Proximate analyses of uncultivated vegetables and fruits consumed by recent HG show that they are substantially more fibrous (133 g dietary fibre/kg) than are those now commercially available (42 g/kg), which have been modified by millennia of selective agricultural practice (Eaton, 1990). Hence, the high intake of wild plant foods by ancestral humans necessarily provided a great deal of fibre. Calculation of ancestral dietary fibre intake, based on a 50:50 animal???vegetable subsistence ratio (as opposed to the 1985 estimate of 35:65), suggests an average total fibre intake of >100 g/d."
on July 07, 2010
at 07:04 PM
I would speculate that he meant to say 10 to 30 grams of fibre a day. This is more in line with what you will consume if you eat a range of plants each day like leaves, roots, bulbs, tubers, fruit, nuts ect. Nobody can eat 300 grams of fibre a day. Everyone makes errors of speach occasionally. However I could be wrong.
Ok I see that my initial response was incorrect, he did mean it. Some estimates from Boyd Eaton have put some hunter-gatherers fiber intake at nearly 100 grams per day. http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/reprint/126/6/1732.pdf
People eating one modern version of the paleodiet were eating about 42 grams of fibre a day. http://www.thepaleodiet.com/articles/JANA%20final.pdf
I have read that Denis Burkitt reported that traditionally living African groups of people eating a cultivated diet in the middle 20th century were eating 100 grams of fiber a day.
Apparently the average wild chimpanze gets about 200 grams of fiber a day. If you go back far enough our ancestors probably ate something similar, but it would be along way back in time. Gorrilas might eat 300g a day but they are quite specialised to eat vegetable matter all day.
I don't know where he got the figure of 100-300 grams a day of fiber came from. Around 100 grams seems more like an upper limit for humans to me and more of this would have been soluble fiber than the insoluble fiber in modern diets. Eating 300 grams of fiber a day would make an interesting emperiment, I'm not sure I'd like to try it though.
on July 11, 2010
at 06:57 AM
You guys ever check out Jeff Leach's stuff? His research suggests that inulin - soluble, prebiotic fiber - was a major part of many early hunter gatherer diets. Inulin is different than insoluble fiber; it promotes butyric acid production, and it acts as food for beneficial gut flora. Stephan wrote about butyric acid and fiber a few months back.
I can definitely see soluble fiber being consumed in significant amounts. We can't treat fiber as a monolith.
on July 10, 2010
at 05:07 PM
Perhaps this challenges somewhat all the people who say that veggies should be only garnishes to a diet of mostly fat and protein from meat and fish? I love my veggies and can easily eat several pounds of fresh cucumbers and several more of celery and carrots and lettuce in one day. It's nice to think that my ancestors might have done the same. Could they have munched on various things growing alongside their path as they walked about?
on July 08, 2010
at 02:26 AM
That number doesn't make much sense to me. If I go anywhere near that minimum number, I'm spending a good portion of my day eating, crapping, and being uncomfortably full. None of that makes sense in terms of survival. I think it's more likely that the faecal remains that were analysed are missing context. Perhaps there was simply no other food around at the time? Sounds way more plausible than 100-300 grams of fibre. That's gorilla territory, and we simply don't digest fibre the same way they do.
That being said, I really enjoyed the rest of Lustig's lecture. But then, I'm a biochemistry nerd :P
on June 05, 2013
at 11:29 PM
I would've never made it as a hunter-gatherer, then. My digestive system cannot handle anything more than 10 grams of fiber without getting stopped up. Maybe my ancestors were Eskimo.
on May 11, 2013
at 02:58 AM
going to have to say that these people were more active than we were and were eating a larger number of calories. I could see them eating up to 100g of fiber if they were to say walking 30 miles to go hunting/gathering, also wrestling, playing. It takes energy to live like a gatherer.
on October 12, 2010
at 09:06 PM
"If I go anywhere near that minimum number, I'm spending a good portion of my day eating, crapping, and being uncomfortably full."
Yes, you hit the nail on the head of what it felt like exactly to be a paleolithic person. A majority of time the paleo man or woman was spent foraging for raw food, eating what they found on the spot. Do you know why apes have bloated bellies? All they eat is slow-digesting fiber, mostly rough fibers. Pounds upon pounds of plant matter and leaves. None of it is cooked, therefore the fiber is not readily available to the digestive system and must slowly be broken down in the stomach by acids.
That we can cook our fiber from a variety of sources is a blessing. Improved transport (barrels, sacks, baskets, wow!), safe storage and preservation, and cooking of food is what led to our enormous growth in numbers and thus made civilization possible.
This is just my opinion, but what I believe Lustig is getting at is that we can never get too much fiber, and that it might be possible that we evolved to consume large amounts of fiber and that by reducing it by 90% we might be messing with our bodies in some very unpleasant ways that we simply don't understand yet.
He just wants us all to eat more fiber. I've been trying to stick to what he says, and while I've only modestly changed my diet I've already felt better, have more energy, and seem to feel less "gross."
on July 07, 2010
at 05:42 PM
Which culture? Is this human matter or perhaps gorilla?
on July 07, 2010
at 03:42 PM
i'd say root tubers....sweet potato, taro, yam, manioc etc etc.
on October 26, 2014
at 06:07 AM
as a fruitarian i get minimun 100gr of fiber a day and 40 gr of protein easily and i dont eat a lot some eat more fruits than me cause i am not very active if i was more active i would put more into my body and CONSUME more proteins and fiber ! proteins not that much important i use cronometer i have even my omega 3 sometime one hundred pourcent but normaly around 80 - 70 pourcent everyday. i am heahtly high carb cruelty free i even dont eat vegetables cause of suffering fruits is the fruit that is givin to human by trees i eat cooked fruits like squash too pumpkin, when its the season, i will eat whats in the season and tropical fruits too