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Fiber Intake Today vs. Hunter-Gatherer Times

  • 4 min read

Did you know that 95% of Americans don’t get enough daily fiber? It’s sad because fiber is amazing (as you know if you have read any of our blog posts). Guess how that compares to the fiber intake of our hunter-gather ancestors? It’s very low. They ate 100 to 150 grams of fiber a day. That’s a lot of fiber! Read on to why today we struggle to get even 25 grams of fiber per day.

The Importance of Fiber

NRDC / Via media.giphy.com

Fiber, our favorite f-word, is an indigestible carbohydrate. Most carbohydrates are broken down by the body into sugar molecules aka glucose, but fiber passes through the body undigested and with that comes with a lot of health benefits.

Fiber is great for the body as it helps with constipation, bloating and protects the body by strengthening our immune system and lowering cholesterol.

It comes in two kinds: soluble and insoluble. The difference between the two is soluble fiber absorbs water and the other one stays as is. Soluble fiber is the one that turns into a gel, making you feel full, and helps with weight management. Insoluble fiber acts as a magnet bulking up the waste in the body and preparing it for a smooth exit from the body to the toilet. 

Fiber Intake During Hunter-Gatherer Time

Let’s do a major throwback. Imagine back to the paleolithic age and shaggy hunter-gatherer early humans. How do you think their diet compares to ours today? Well, they were healthier than most of us in modern times because they had access to and ate a variety of foods. And all that hunting and gathering was the original CrossFit workout making them physically fit, compared to today’s more sedentary lifestyles (i.e., desk, car, couch, etc.)

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors also used to get a lot more fiber than we currently do. Research shows that our ancestors' estimated fiber intake was around 100-150 grams of fiber, which is 10x greater than the typical fiber intake of Americans today of around 15 grams. 

What these hunter-gatherers ate and their eating habits gave birth to the modern-day diet called the Paleo diet. Inspired by the paleolithic age, also called the stone age or caveman diet, this includes eatinglean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Namely the kind of foods that in the past could be obtained by hunting and gathering. 

But Where Did All The Fiber Go?

The Fast Saga / Via media.giphy.com

Fiber intake has taken different turns. With today's modernization and industrial improvements, you may be wondering why we are still lacking in the fiber department compared to our ancestors? Well, let's take a trip back in time.

Neolithic Revolution

Also called the “birth of agriculture”, this happened when hunter-gatherers switched from roaming from one place to another to establishing farming villages, where they grew their own, preferred crops and breed animals for food. This limited their access to a variety of food options. 

Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution transformed largely rural, agrarian societies, particularly in Europe and America into industrialized, urban ones, during the 18th century. 

Technology in this era improved significantly but nutritoinal diversity became secondary. Availability and affordability became more information when it camed to what to eat which paved the way for larger corporations and restaurant chains. Food became cheaper and more mass produced. 

Modern-Day Technology and Food

Modern technology improved the shelf-life of food and delivery is just a few clicks away with help from an app in urban centers. Hunter-gathers never had GrubHub or could go through the drive-thru at McDonalds.

NYU School of Global Public Health research shows that the consumption of ultra-processed foods has increased over the past two decades. These ultra-processed foods often come as ready-to-eat or microwavable, include additives and lack vital nutrients. Health studies have found that higher consumption of these ultra-processed foods is associated with obesity and heart disease.

The Reality of the Fiber Gap

Earlier we mentioned that our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate an estimated 100 to 150 grams of dietary fiber per day. Today, 95% of Americans don’t get the recommended fiber. The USDA recommends getting 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men as daily dietary fiber intake, but we’re not hitting those numbers on a daily basis. This is called the fiber gap.

We may think that we are getting enough fiber because of the frequency of fiber-rich food we eat but often that is not the case. We get it, it's hard to eat enough fiber via diet alone. Thankfully we are here to help. 

Say Hello to Fab Fiber: Bonny

Via media.giphy.com

Bonny is a custom blend fiber powder dedicated to helping close the fiber gap. In fact, Bonny was born out of our founder’s realization that she, too, was not getting enough fiber. With that in mind, her quest for the perfect fiber powder led her to create one. (You can read our founder’s story here.

Bonny contains a blend of psyllium husk and inulin which are both high in soluble fiber content. One serving of Bonny is equivalent to 17% of your daily fiber goal.

Bonny is all-natural, plant-based, tastes amazing, and makes you go poop. Available in four amazing flavors: Amplified Apple Pie, Berry Beauty, Matcha Magic, and Strawberry Serenity. 

As always, we wish you pleasant poops.

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