The thing that’s nice about facts is that they can be presented in a way that allows for interpretation. There are other facts that are disputed, as an example, some scientists suggest that your grandmother ate less and did more, that’s why she would have been less obese than we are today. But did she eat less? Now I am not going to say dieting didn’t exist before the 1960’s but it’s hard to ignore the impact of Weight Watchers on women (don’t worry guys, I am about to tell you why Viagra is such a big deal now also). Dr. Stephen Davis stated as a matter of fact that your grandmother benefitted from household chores in a way that you don’t by pointing out the impact of washing dishes, cooking food, running errands and cleaning the house (so once again, technology has it’s costs and the fact that more women are in the workforce has some unintended consequences). Whether or not women or men SHOULD be doing these roles was separate of his research, women were doing it and they were healthier because they moved more.
They also ate more. How much more is difficult to determine but the intake of men and women aren’t drastically different over time. It’s lower but if breakfast for the family was eggs, bacon and hash browns a woman would have eaten that as a general rule. She would just eat a bit less. In the Minnesota Starvation Experiment in 1945 the baseline calories that the men started with was a whopping 4,000 calories and none of them were obese as part of the experiment, so even if the women ate less than the men in those days 2,500 would have been closer to the norm than let’s say 1,500.
Which brings me to the men and those little blue pills
Your grandfather had more sex drive than you do and the reason is simple, he was less obese, he ate more and he did more day to day. As we have moved from an agrarian/industrial economy the benefit of that level of physical work can not be understated. I recently had my roof replaced and just out of curiosity I started talking with some of the workers. The level of flexibility they eat with would be astonishing to most people, whether it was fast food or alcohol, after a hard days work they relax by eating and drinking. Elon Musk made a plea in recent years for well to do families to start having more children, not because they were more intelligent but because they had access to resources that families that make less money don’t have AND THEY ARE OUTPACING WELL TO DO FAMILIES BY A LOT. Not all people that lack the resources that the wealthy have are doing manual labor jobs and active, so I am not saying that. What I am saying is that money and access has made us weaker, we have less testosterone and we lack the sex drive that our grandparents had.
That last line isn’t just aimed at men. Women that eat less and do less have less testosterone as well. Actually, sex drive is more tied to estrogen levels for both men and women but there is sort of a hand and glove relationship, as one goes up the other must also go up to counter balance.
But isn’t everyone more active now?
In terms of exercise it’s hard to argue that we aren’t more active in terms of Crossfit, Yoga, Circuit Training or walking. As an example, many of us have wearables like a FitBit or Apple Watch yet the obesity rate is still quite high. It surprises people when I say this but we actually eat less calories now than we did even a few years ago and obesity rates are un-phased. There is a lot of conjecture on why this is but no one applies a whole lot of science to this discussion.
If they did here is what they would find. Yes, access to food is at an unprecedented level in history and yes, physically we move more but there is a missing piece of the equation. We aren’t eating more which belies logic, how do you keep weight down when you eat more and history shows us how.
Food is energy, as food increases energy increases, mood increases and sex drive increases. The fact that we are moving more and eating less doesn’t understand the equation. We need to move more and eat more most of the time and only occasionally should we eat less (like very rarely) and until we do it that way we will continue to carry more fat because moving more and eating less doesn’t even make sense from a math perspective (not mention from a homeostatic perspective where your body is constantly looking for balance). How do you become more eating less? The simple answer is you don’t and the evidence is in, everyone is dieting all of the time and we have more fat than we ever had before so at some point we have to look in the mirror and say “maybe it’s all this dieting that is the problem”.