Harvard anthropologist Richard Wrangham theorized that our ancient hunter-gatherer ancestors may have been eating about 12 pounds of food each and every day!
What would likely happen to us, in today’s times, if we each ate 12 pounds of food every day? Weight gain, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer. So what gives? Why can’t we get away with it anymore?
Irish doctor Denis Burkitt attempted to find out for himself by examining the lives of modern-day hunter-gatherers, the indigenous African Bushmen. Unlike their fellow Westerners, the members of the African Bushmen tribes were leaner, fitter, and almost completely free of the rising rates of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer that plagued the city dwellers nearby. Dr. Burkitt also found that the Bushmen produced about 2 pounds of stool every day, compared with the average 4 ounces of poop produced daily by Western people.
Why such stark differences between hunter-gatherers and ourselves? As it turns out, it could have everything to do with fiber intake. While the average hunter-gatherer ate 100 to 150 grams of fiber a day, the average American eats only about 8 to 15 grams.
And the steadily rising pile of research on fiber is revealing that the health and weight loss advantages that come with eating more fiber are most definitely worth their weight in poo.
How Fiber Turbo-Charges Weight Loss
Fiber triggers some incredible effects in the body that simultaneously fuels the body’s fat-burning activities while putting the brakes on its fat-storing activities.
Firstly, fiber slows the rate at which food enters your blood stream. By slowing the rate of food absorption from the gut to the bloodstream, it reduces the amount of insulin – a hormone that stimulates hunger and fat-storage – that’s produced after a meal.
Fiber also lowers the calorie density of the food you eat. As fiber has almost no absorbable calories in it, it bulks up the weight of the food in your gut without adding calories to it. And as studies show that it is the weight of the foods you eat – NOT the number of calories in the food – that controls your body’s hunger signals, fiber is able to turn off your hunger and make you feel full and satisfied WITHOUT increasing calories.
And while fiber intake signals the brain that there is a lot of food in your gut and to stop eating, it also causes that food to move more slowly through your stomach and small intestine while increasing the levels of certain hormones in your gut that control appetite. So not only does fiber intake cause you to fill up on less calories, but it also fills you up for longer periods of time and helps to shut off cravings.
Fiber also increases the speed at which food exits your body through the digestive tract, and causes more calories to be eliminated (rather than absorbed) through the stool. This keeps your blood sugar and cholesterol in an ideal balance, while helping to quickly eliminates toxins from your gut and to reduce your appetite.
Eat to fill up your belly without filling it out, try this fabulously delicious Kale & Ancient Grains Buddha Bowl with Goddess Goddess Dressing
Fiber and Digestion, Diabetes, Heart Disease & Cancer
Most people already know that fiber is a great natural cure for constipation and irregularity. However, its health advantages go far beyond just that.
Several studies have shown that fiber’s ability to lower blood sugar rivals even the ability of some diabetic medications. The evidence suggests that diabetics can greatly benefit from significantly bumping up their fiber intake, and that eating more fiber could positively impact their need for insulin.
Fiber has also proven to be a hero when it comes to battling cancer. One study showed how butyrate, a substance produced by gut bacteria when people eat certain types of fiber, can activate anti-cancer genes and turn off colon cancer. Fiber has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer by as much as a third, and breast cancer by almost 40%.
Moreover, the gut bacteria in people eating a high-fiber diet of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and most whole grains have been shown to be instrumental in lowering cholesterol, blood sugar and insulin while also linked to reduction of heart disease, cancer prevention, healthy hormonal balance, healthier colon cells, the production of vital vitamins and minerals, and so much more. Find out how your gut bacteria could make all the difference when it comes to successful weight loss, here.
While, in today’s day and age, eating 12 pounds of food a day is no longer an option, eating more whole natural plant foods that include no less than 30 to 50 grams of fiber a day could be the magic formula that today’s dieters have neglected.
Learning from our leaner ancient ancestors and bulking up on high-fiber veggies, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, certain whole grains and lots of clean pure water could make all the difference in our success when it comes to losing weight, improving health, decreasing disease and living longer.