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Thread: Why weren't the Victorians fat? page

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    Lewis's Avatar
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    Why weren't the Victorians fat?

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    Likely, it seems, because of the sheer quality of the food they ate.

    This is a short article from the Institute for Brain and Behaviour

    It certainly wasn't, no surprise, something to do with "calories".

    ... women typically consumed between 3,000 and 3,500 calories per day while men consumed 4,000 - 5,000 calories, with the navvies, who built the roads, canals and bridges that created the topology of modern Britain, hitting 6 or 7 thousand calories per day.
    So what was it about their diet?

    All in all, the mid-Victorian diet contained higher levels of vitamins, minerals and above all phyto-nutrients, than occur in today's over-refined, processed and nutrient-poor foods.

    The Mid-Victorians did not eat a ‘super-Mediterranean’ diet because they were virtuous, or health-conscious. It’s obvious that the health benefits they enjoyed derived from the food choices they made, but food choices depend on food availability and on pricing, both of which were very different from today. Prior to 1900, fruit and vegetables were cheap, as they were mainly grown in allotments or gardens. With the rapid growth of the rail networks and the huge gains in agricultural productivity (the ‘agricultural revolution’), large amounts of fresh produce were funnelled into the cities, where the masses now lived. In London 4lb of freshly picked cherries or a large armful of watercress cost no more than a penny. A poor man's breakfast would have been two chunks of stoneground bread smeared with dripping, accompanied by a large bunch of watercress and often a paper of shrimp or oysters – a meal rich in fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals, omega 3 fatty acids and phytonutrients.
    How has what we eat changed? · Food & nutrition · Institute for Food, Brain and Behaviour

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    Grumpycakes's Avatar
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    But they ate bread. BREAD! BREAD! DO YOU HEAR ME?! How could they possibly have been healthy?! Tee hee.
    You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!

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    Interesting. Looks like lots of veggies and meat but predominantly veggies. The yeast paragraph caught my eye. If I thought about it I always assumed yeast was in even processed bread. I guess I was wrong. I did see a recipe on the wheat belly blog for biscuits that used yeast. Will have to investigate more. Thanks for sharing!
    You know all those things you have always wanted to do? You should go do them.

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    Lewis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpycakes View Post
    But they ate bread. BREAD! BREAD! DO YOU HEAR ME?! How could they possibly have been healthy?! Tee hee.
    LOL

    I guess while it wasn't optimal it wasn't too much harm for most people because it wasn't modern wheat and besides that they would have had pretty intact gut-flora.

    The article assumes it's all down to the food, though. But the link between obesity and electric light seems like something that should be given much more than the cursory attention it often gets.

    I was surprised to find that garden produce was quite so cheap and abundant. Up to ten servings of vegetables and fruit a day, the IFBB is saying.

    I don't know where the IFBB is getting its data from. I think some people probably were getting barely enough food to scrape by on -- there was real starvation in those days -- but evidently many people were doing all right. I guess those navvies couldn't have done the work unless they did get those 6 to 7,000 calories.

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    The article assumes it's all down to the food, though. But the link between obesity and electric light seems like something that should be given much more than the cursory attention it often gets.
    So not to get too philosophical how do we fix that? I like electricity. At the moment my washing machine and dryer are just humming along w/ very little help from me. I guess if I didn't haven them I wouldn't be thinking of what kind of workout I would do today huh My crock pot has an amazing bone broth simmering and my fridge has some wonderful veggies I bought last week. So....are we smart enough to learn how to take the good and get rid of the bad?
    You know all those things you have always wanted to do? You should go do them.

    Nah.. I was always aware "they" were out to get me.. even before I became Primal..... Now I can just run faster if they find me-Dino Hunter

    Age 46
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    Lewis's Avatar
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    I think you state it very well: "are we smart enough to learn how to take the good and get rid of the bad?" I think we're going to have to be if we're to turn people's health around.

    I guess I could also have added that the Victorians got cold in the winter, too.

    If “cold exposure” is indeed a proxy for “brown adipose tissue activity,” as I suspect, it clears triglycerides from the blood once the fat in the BAT has been depleted.

    It is inversely correlated with obesity. The more body fat you have, the less BAT you have and the less activity you show in the BAT you do have.

    It is correlated with bone mineral density. Low, or nonexistent levels of brown fat are strongly linked to low bone mineral density.

    It is inversely correlated with fatty liver.
    Is Brown Fat Good For You? | Mark's Daily Apple

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    why have i seen a lot of fat victorian men and women in old pics?
    beautiful
    yeah you are

    I mean there's so many ants in my eyes! And there are so many TVs, microwaves, radios... I think, I can't, I'm not 100% sure what we have here in stock.. I don't know because I can't see anything! Our prices, I hope, aren't too low!

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    And when they got fat they 'Banted' (William Banting - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). There's nothing new under the sun.
    My journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread60211.html Into RPG table top games? Check out FateStorm!

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    Huh...never really thought about how cold one could get before the advent of central heating. I tend to be very hot blooded and will not turn the heater on until I can't stand it anymore. Can't say it has ever helped but then I wasn't eating/moving/living the right way either.

    And when they got fat they 'Banted' (William Banting - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). There's nothing new under the sun.
    Lol..so very true.

    I think you state it very well: "are we smart enough to learn how to take the good and get rid of the bad?" I think we're going to have to be if we're to turn people's health around.
    So if it is to be then it is up to us...
    You know all those things you have always wanted to do? You should go do them.

    Nah.. I was always aware "they" were out to get me.. even before I became Primal..... Now I can just run faster if they find me-Dino Hunter

    Age 46
    height 5'3
    SW 215 lbs
    CW 180 lbs (whole foods/primal eating)
    LW 172 lbs
    GW 125ish lbs

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    Funny how the article never mentions that bone marrow was hugely popular at that time, especially among the upper class. And among the lower class sweetbreads and brains were commonly eaten. Maybe, you know, that has something to do with it.

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