The average 20-33 year old male in 1944 consumed approximately 700 calories more per day than our present-day males of the same age. It was the quality of food rather than the quantity of food that made up those extra calories. Whole eggs, butter and cream were preferred over egg whites, margarine and dessert toppings. There were no mass-produced carbohydrates that were accessible all year round and extra lean meats and low fat products were not available in 1944. Indeed, North Americans of that generation generally subsisted on local, seasonal foods and had comparatively lower levels of obesity than our current generation.
By 1960, however, there was a concern for North America`s growing waistline and by 1970, the diet revolution was born. Yet, dieting in the form of lowering one’s daily calories has proven to do nothing more than reduce one`s metabolism. If a dieter reduces their caloric intake to 1200 calories per day, their metabolism slows itself down to only require 1200 calories per day. Furthermore, the dieter’s weight plateaus until caloric intake is reduced again – eventually reaching a point where the body is unable to shed more weight.
Ancel Key’s semi-starvation experiment demonstrated that the inability to maintain weight loss is not due to a person’s lack of self-control but, rather, due to the body’s attempt to recover the water and vital tissue that had been lost during the dieting process. As Key’s experiment proved, the body will always attempt to recover its lost weight plus further gain an additional 10% of the original body weight.
Until we return to eating the quality of food that our ancestors ate and let our caloric intake naturally increase to support a normal basal metabolic rate, there is little hope in mitigating North America’s current obesity epidemic. Eating quality fats and proteins with carbohydrates will allow the body to naturally balance its calories in with its calories out while improving the body’s ability to burn unwanted body fat. Focus on improving your metabolism, eating quality whole foods and minimizing your insulin spikes. This is the only way to get that old fat moving and to look and feel great while it’s happening.