It was easier to be skinny in the 1980’s

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This is the surprising finding of the Journal of Obesity Research and Clinical Practice. They compared the diet of participants from 1971 until 2008 and the physical exercise of people from 1988 to 2006.

They discovered that someone in 1988 would be around 10% lighter than the equivalent individual in 2008.

They grouped people who ate the same diet, including macronutrient groups like proteins and fats, and undertook the same amount of exercise. They found that the equivalent people in 2008 were likely to have a higher BMI on average by 2.3 points than those in 1988.

This means that a person living now would have to eat less and exercise more than their equivalent in the 1980’s just to maintain the same weight.

One of the researchers, Jennifer Kuk, offered three reasons why this change might have occurred. read more here.

  1. Exposure to chemicals. It is thought that the prevalence of food packaging, together with the pesticides used in intensive farming, are interfering with the body’s hormonal ability to effectively process foods.
  2. Prescription drugs. Particularly the extensive use of anti-depressants, which are amongst the most heavily prescribed medications, and can factor in weight gains amongst those prescribed SSRI’s. The most famous SSRI is Prozac which was first marketed in the late 1980’s.
  3.  Finally, microbiomes. We rely upon microbiomes for a variety of functions, to defend against infection, to break down the foods we ingest and produce vitamins. It is suggested that the human microbiome in the gut has changed over the last few decades and researchers indicate that this may be linked to the widespread use of artificial sweeteners.

What does all this tell us? Basically, the artificial and factory produced foods which proliferate on our supermarket shelves are detrimental to our health and our waistlines in a variety of ways. That packaged ‘diet’ meal with artificial sweeteners to compensate for lack of fat may actually be making you fatter. And not how you think.

Eat fresh and natural as often as you can. Make sure you have some raw food every day, drink lots of water and avoid anything beige in colour if you can.

**I use the word ‘skinny’ to reflect the fact that the images of 80’s women are often substantially thinner than images presently. Skinny is not used in a pejorative nor judgemental manner in this context. I have also used the phrase ‘fatter’ and this also carries no judgement nor shame.

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