Food intake in older times

pboy

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From what I've been researching...it seems people since at least early written history, all the way up until world war 2, consumed 3500 calories or more a day, including soldiers and slaves. Mideval peasants ate 3500-4500 calories a day, slaves in America averaged 4500calorie a day ration, colonial soldiers at least 3200 calories, roman soldiers ate 3500 to 6000 calories a day. How is it that people in the old days with less technology ate much more high quality, all organic, fresher, more local food than we do today, and also had little to no problems with obesity...it was basically unheard of. What's the determining factor? Obviously it isn't calories, and grain made up the majority of everyone diet except for maybe british or French nobility as far as I can tell (who coincidentally were the highest likely to be overweight)
 

jb4566

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Less stress
less industrial pollution
no seed oils, so people probably had higher metabolic rates
strong/close social community
more physical activity
nutrient dense food

Obesity is a very complex problem, I don't think there is one determining factor.
 

pboy

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I agree with all the above...I gotta say its very liberating realizing that calories aren't even close to the main issue, allows more following of intuition. A good point that there was never more than small nut or seed consumption by anyone, anywhere as far as I can tell...in the east they'd eat almonds and west some sprouted sunflower or pumpkin seeds, also cacao was highly revered. I can't ever find any reference to more than minor other seed / seed oils being used ...mostly for herbal or massage purposes, or a little in cooking but that seems to be it. I think people these days are sicker and more obese because of lack of comfort, being overly stressed, and no joke...having to hold in excrement all day while at work and having to rush through low quality meals
 

emerald

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Links to evidence that people at this much? My grandparents and great grandparents definitely did not.
 

jb4566

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Interesting Observations:

High calorie: "This gives calorific expenditure ranges during the working week of between 3,000 to 4,500 calories /day (men) and 2,750 to 3,500 (women)."

No seed oils: "Prior to the introduction of margarine in the late Victorian period, dietary intakes of trans fats were very low"

Nutrient density: "they consumed levels of micro- and phytonutrients at approximately ten times the levels considered normal today."

Consumption of the whole animal: "Otherwise, meat on the bone (shin or cheek), stewed or fried, was the most economical form of meat, generally eked out with offal meats including brains, heart, sweetbreads, liver, kidneys and ‘pluck’, (the lungs and intestines of sheep). Pork was the most commonly consumed meat. All meats were from free-range animals."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2672390/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2587384/
 

Atalanta

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"I think people these days are sicker and more obese because of lack of comfort, being overly stressed, and no joke...having to hold in excrement all day while at work and having to rush through low quality meals"

pboy,
Are you American?
Do anyone really believe the slaves in America led a comfortable, unstressed life?

Even if the slaves did consume as many calories as claimed, which I seriously doubt, they were not eating the best food. They ate a lot of starches, especially corn meal, and fat back from pigs. Their diet was very low in protein and important nutrients like niacin and vitamin A. Also pellagra was common among the slaves. According to the information from this article, the slaves were not overfed and hard physical labor was a part of daily life.

----------------
"Besides being likely vitamin deficient, the slave diet was obviously crude, coarse, and boring. As Frederick Douglass commented: "Not to give a slave enough to eat, is regarded as the most aggravated development of meanness even among slaveholders. The rule is, no matter how coarse the food, only let there be enough of it." Victoria McMullen remembered her slave grandmother described the average slave's diet this way:
"But the other slaves didn't git nothing but fat meat and corn bread and molasses. And they got tired of that same old thing. They wanted something else sometimes." Mary Reynolds recalled during slavery days what she was fed: "Mostly we ate pickled pork and corn bread and peas and beans and ' taters . They never was as much as we needed." Although monotonous, this diet showed her master at least gave more than just the stereotypical "hog and hoecake" diet. As Olmsted observed: "The food is everywhere, however, coarse, crude, and wanting in variety; much more so than that of our [Northern] prison convicts . " The restricted food types they received, the crude cooking equipment they used, and the sharp time limits imposed by both sexes working a "sunup to sundown" work day all combined to produce a dreary diet. As actress turned reluctant mistress Fanny Kemble observed at her husband's rice plantation:

They got to the fields at daybreak, carrying with them their allowance of food for the day, which toward noon, and not till then, they eat, cooking it over a fire, which they kindle as best they can, where they are working. Their second meal in the day is at night, after their labor is over, having worked, at the very least, six hours without intermission of rest or refreshment since their noonday meal."

http://usslave.blogspot.com/2012/01/sla ... auses.html
 

jb4566

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"I think people these days are sicker and more obese because of lack of comfort, being overly stressed, and no joke...having to hold in excrement all day while at work and having to rush through low quality meals"

I think he was just using the slaves as an example and making a general statement about health in recent times and past times. Slaves definitely had a hard life and health problems.
 

pboy

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I was surprised too when I read about how much people used to eat...just google it and you'll find a lot of info. As for slaves living a hard life...I just meant to say that calories are not responsible for obesity, considering how people used to eat significantly more than we do today yet had little to no obesity. To me its becoming apparent that delicious high quality food basically cannot hurt you, while old stale chemically laden low quality food can potentially hurt you even in small amounts...at least that's what I take away from this. Even though people were eating a lot of starch...pretty much always, it was generally fresher and of higher quality than today's grain. Anything more than a day old was considered old, stale, less than optimum, and of course there wasn't the slew of chemicals used today or virally infected (GMO) foods. I think the mindset of people being closely connected to the food cycle and life cycle as a whole was much to their benefit
 

Kelly

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jb4566 said:
Interesting Observations:

High calorie: "This gives calorific expenditure ranges during the working week of between 3,000 to 4,500 calories /day (men) and 2,750 to 3,500 (women)."

No seed oils: "Prior to the introduction of margarine in the late Victorian period, dietary intakes of trans fats were very low"

Nutrient density: "they consumed levels of micro- and phytonutrients at approximately ten times the levels considered normal today."

Consumption of the whole animal: "Otherwise, meat on the bone (shin or cheek), stewed or fried, was the most economical form of meat, generally eked out with offal meats including brains, heart, sweetbreads, liver, kidneys and ‘pluck’, (the lungs and intestines of sheep). Pork was the most commonly consumed meat. All meats were from free-range animals."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2672390/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2587384/

Wow! I wasn't able to read much of it, but the calorie part is so surprising to me.
 

charlie

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I wouldn't doubt it. Our metabolisms are dialed down so much its incredible. I feel that when metabolism is working right and hormones are regulated correctly that the body will regulate the weight as it should. I bet those people back in the day didn't have to worry about limiting food, they just ate till satisfied. And if they somehow managed to take too much in the body burned it off like it should.
 
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This is a really interesting topic. When I try to discuss this most people suggest that "the data must be wrong" because "everyone knows" the obesity epidemic is caused by lazy people eating too much when they should be drinking water and jogging.

I think a key factor here is micronutrient intake. Some nutrient needs do not scale with metabolic rate, and therefore when metabolism is suppressed to the point that food intake is low, it becomes almost impossible to avoid micronutrient malnutrition.
 

SQu

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Fascinating. This over-eating myth is very persistent and probably skews our ability to see what else could be going on. Watching an 80s newsclip the other day I noticed that not only were most people not fat, but most people had much more hair - big hair fashion of the times not withstanding. My daughter's school mates today could not put together enough hair to tease up into those manes. Many have thin hair already. Men seemed to have more hair, and to hold onto it longer. My list of possible culprits (things you see more of today than before) includes more people of all ages and both sexes dieting; poorer food quality; stupid ideas about healthy eating causing avoidance of the best foods we still have; brainwashing by media so we override our own experience and instincts; over exercising; food processing; avoidance of the sun; less activity in one's normal day not counting running or cycling zillions of kilometres. I think RP said of food additives that obesity was the least of the damage they cause. But elsewhere, where is the mention of their effects other than the ubiquitous 'allergy' label? After dieting for decades I would put on weight on 1000 calories a day yet now that I'm eating approx. 2400 I'm weight stable, and after adding thyroid, I'm starting to lose. I don't think the calories in calories out theory can explain that one.
 

SQu

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Also, so many young people battling with their health.
 
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sueq said:
After dieting for decades I would put on weight on 1000 calories a day yet now that I'm eating approx. 2400 I'm weight stable, and after adding thyroid, I'm starting to lose. I don't think the calories in calories out theory can explain that one.

Perhaps it's just that your 'calories out' have more than doubled by raising your basal metabolic rate?

'Calories in calories out' is true based on conservation of energy, however I think it's complex and non-linear: calories out varies heavily depending on calorie intake and other variables. 'Calories in' also depends on constantly changing variables such as gut flora, and nutrient absorption.
 
J

j.

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CellularIconoclast said:
'Calories in calories out' is true based on conservation of energy.

It's true given a fixed, unchanging diet. If you have a group of foods, that you every week eat in the same amounts and frequency as in any other week, then there is a number of calories that you cannot surpass without gaining weight.

However, the notion is completely unpractical and unrealistic, because if you increase or decrease your caloric intake, your number of calories to get fat will change depending on which nutrient you added or increased and in what amount. It might stay the same if when you increase your caloric intake, you increase all the foods you eat by the same proportion. That never happens.
 
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j. said:
It's true given a fixed, unchanging diet. If you have a group of foods, that you every week eat in the same amounts and frequency as in any other week, then there is a number of calories that you cannot surpass without gaining weight.

However, the notion is completely unpractical and unrealistic

This is what I meant by "it's thermodynamically true, but non-linear." Calories out changes constantly as you change any other variables.

However, I think the idea can still be used meaningfully to lose fat, if you adopt a more complex and physiologically realistic version of it. For example, a very small calorie deficit in the context of a high metabolic rate will cause fat loss without decreasing metabolic rate, whereas a large deficit will cause the high metabolic rate to fall. I haven't actually read Anthony Colpo's "fat loss bible" but I believe this is the theoretical basis for it.
 

pboy

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a lot of the metabolic increasing hormones like thyroid have a half life of a few weeks I believe, and most physiological processes that utilize atp and produce heat don't involve creating and storing fat in adipose tissue. Theres a huge window of what your body can do with extra energy that doesn't involve storing triglycerides. Even thoughts, which in the presence of an increased metabolism, will be more stable, more often, and more clear. Work and movement will be easier. Sleep and GI tract will be more easy and regular. The immune system and regenerative faculties will be much more efficient and properly done. The body probably produces more thyroid hormones over time as the regular energy intake is consistent and abundant enough, and tends to break down or create more based on resources and pattern of energy intake. If someone is still gaining weight on a low calorie diet, its a signal of basically a sick body, sick metabolism, probably slow mind. Theres no reason the body would do that if it didn't have to. I don't know what the cause is, but I doubt its a calorie issue alone, or even as the predominant aspect

I was thinking about it...and if the body somehow had 'too much fat' or whatever, why could it not just turn it into cholesterol and release it into the bile? It would be clean, require a lot of energy, and quickly get rid of the extra 'fat'. You could also burn more in any brown adipose tissue and let it simply escape as heat, granted you weren't already in a hot environment. You could glucuronate the fatty acids and urinate them, granted you had some sugar and water coming in. It doesn't make sense that the body would create and store extra tryglicerides to its own detriment and simply let them stay. Im thinking it has to do with a damaged metabolism and health overall, so the body is actually sluggish and malfunctioning to an extent, so its actually just backed up. People would be wiser in my opinion to try to fix their health as you would fix a machine, and let it take care of its own optimization, rather than lower calorie intake or perform stressful or other excersize. Its kind of probably hurting the already weakened body more than its helping. The theory of obesity is really clouding most peoples attempt at a real recovery because their attempts at resolving the situation are going in the wrong direction often times because of the false theory proposed....raw kale juice being a prime example (I had to throw that in)
 

SQu

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I think that's true. from my own experience, even nearly 3 years after stopping dieting and doing all I can to fix metabolism I keep finding that health must come first, then weight loss. Also I can feel when I'm gaining or losing. When I feel sluggish, bloated, puffy, tired, flat I'm in a gaining pattern. When feeling good, I'm losing. Everything to do with hormones and nothing to do with calories.
The dominant mainstream opinion works for some because they only ever go up or down a few pounds. Constantly bolstering their self satisfaction and prejudices, the 'it's so straightforward, what's wrong with you? You must be greedy, lazy or stupid' attitude. They don't even know they're just lucky!
But the complexity of promising routes like peat's rules it out for most people. Even if it could be neatly put into a diet book , ( :shock: or should!)it takes years to read biofeedback, all the harder when it's wacky, in the beginning phases. An illustration: my doc had never prescribed T3 before I badgered him for it. But plenty of T4 only. All those T4 patients on his 100mcg dose, they're all doing well on it? Really ? I know a few. They're not doing well on it. They don't know why. They've never heard of T3 or they would have asked for it. my point: you have to have come a long way to even reach the starting point.
 
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