Hunter-gatherers were active, expending 4,000-5,000 calories per day. They were lean and fit. Survival required a large amount of daily energy expenditure in activities such as food and water procurement (the average hunter-gatherer walked about six miles a day, to hunt or collect food), social interaction, escape from predators and maintenance of shelter and clothing. This lifestyle represents the exercise patterns for which we remain genetically adapted.
Today we are sedentary, most of us need no more than 2,000 calories per day and even that is too much for many people – BUT we still need the micronutrients in 4,000 calories of food - just not the calories.
Immediately you can see there is at least a 50% reduction in the micronutrients we are consuming but the levels needed for health remain the same. In general, research has shown that the awareness of micronutrient needs is low amongst households, families, and parents which is born out statistically with low intakes of a broad range of vitamins and minerals across all age groups.
Most of us are familiar with the 5-A-Day campaign, but Public Health England’s (PHE) recommended intake, as indicated in the Eatwell Guide, is actually closer to 7-a-day. This failure to eat the recommended 5-a-day is reflected also in the Health Survey for England. In 2018, only 18% of children aged 5 to 15 ate five standard portions of fruit and veg per day, and only 28% of adults were eating the recommendations per day. These were lower than the previous year.