Fossilized Feces Give Clues To Modern Diabetes Epidemic

An analysis of fossilized Native American feces shows that our ancestors ate up to sixteen times the fiber that we do today, but our stomachs didn’t evolve to fit our changing diets.

The findings come from analysis of fossilized feces dating from A.D 1123 and earlier. They reveal that the ancient Native Americans lived on a heavily fibrous diet of prickly pear, yucca, and seeds, with low impact on blood sugar.

The native people of Arizona ate foods with traditionally very low glycemic indexes, but are now more susceptible to type 2 diabetes than Caucasians, for their bodies do not produce enough insulin to break down the sugar in modern foods. The Native populations were extremely efficient in their calorie intake, but the arrival of Europeans caused their diet to change faster than their bodies could keep up with, and their digestive systems didn’t evolve to handle foods with a high glycemic index.

Modern humans of all ethnicities have suffered from this dietary change.

Modern agriculture favors plants with less fiber than what our ancestors ate, and it is nearly impossible to reach the same fiber intake levels of ancient populations. “It’s kind of like going from chewing on pumpkin seeds to chewing on oatmeal” says Karl Reinhard, professor of forensic sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The diet found in the fossils of Southwestern America is likely similar to what people ate the whole world over before humans invented agriculture and cultivation of wheat, millet, rice, and other grains.

“When I was a young researcher, I tried to replicate this diet, and it was impossible. I was essentially eating all day to try to get this fiber,” said Reinhard.

While our diets have changed to favor calorie intake, our stomachs remain built to handle an abundance of fiber. This sheds light on why some populations are more prone to diabetes in modern times than others and why there has been an epidemic in diabetes for modern populations.

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to BattleDiabetes.com who, in addition to 3rd party partners, may contact you with updates, products and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy and terms and conditions.

More Articles

More Articles

Scientists have discovered that a single gene forms a common link between type 2 diabetes and...

Natural supplements like cinnamon extract and apple cider vinegar could hold the key to lowering blood sugar levels, according to a recent...

Natural supplements like cinnamon extract and apple cider vinegar could hold the key to lowering blood sugar levels, according to a recent...

Could a person's risk for type 2 diabetes be written in their genes?

According to a study recently published in ...

Women who frequently shift around their sleeping hours could have worse metabolic health outcomes than their peers who stick with a...

The presence of the hormone leptin may hinder prenatal development, which could explain the origin of type 2 diabetes, according to...

Managing diabetes is hugely challenging for people of any age, but a new study suggests that young people may suffer all the more....

Disruptions to the gut’s ecosystem could be a future symptom facing young children who take antibiotics, which makes them more susceptible...

Breastfeeding a newborn holds many benefits for mommy and baby; it reduces the baby's risk for colds and viruses, it helps his bones (and yours)...

Fans of the Dexcom G5 Mobile have something to smile about.

At yesterday's hearing with the U.S. Food and Drug...

If you start your day with a cup of tea and end it with a glass of red wine, your blood sugar may thank you.

At least that...

As medical experts continue to debate whether or not "healthy obesity" can even exist, one new study suggests that risk for heart disease...

For years, type 1 diabetics have been anxiously waiting for that medical marvel that can stop the constant injections: the artificial...

“Low-fat” has been the battle cry of the health-conscious for over ‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌...

While it may be the last thing you want to guzzle down with meals, vinegar can help diabetics gain better control over blood sugar levels...