@BRUTE: I believe that what the study to which you are referring actually revealed was although members of modern hunter-gatherer group did exert themselves much more than average modern human, rough equivalent of walking 8 miles/day, their resting metabolism rates were so low that their overall metabolic burn was the same as an average modern human. Therefore, this actually shows an even more profound difference in the way they functioned. Also, they did consume a good proportion of their calories in the form of carbohydrate calories from tubers, honey and fruit.
@Ego: The chart you posted showing history of sugar consumption/person in the US would be quite stunning if it was likely that it was based on anything resembling relevant or accurate data. Do you really think the Department of Commerce kept accurate records of all the foraged, home produced and locally traded sugar foods in the 19th century? What the graph more likely reveals is something closer to the amount of commercially produced sugar products each person in the US purchased for consumption (on average) during that era when approximately 90% of all foodstuffs were home produced and never to be found for sale on a large, tax or tariff-subject, market. Here are some excerpts from the memoir (not damn lying statistic
) of pioneer boy in wilderness of 1836 located less than 15 miles from where I currently attempt perma-culture project.
We made troughs, tapped hard maples on each side of the creek; took our oxen, sled and
two barrels (as the trees were scattered) to draw the sap to the place we had prepared for
Now I had an employment entirely new to me: boiling down sap and making sugar, in
the woods of Michigan. This was quite a help to us in getting along. We made our own
“sweet” and vinegar, also some sugar and molasses to sell. Some springs, we made three
or four hundred pounds of sugar...
We also secured some more very nice honey. Father said, judging from the amount we got, he should think the
tree contained at least a hundred pounds of good honey, and I should think so too. And
he said “This truly is a goodly land; it flows with milk and honey.” He also said, “I will make
a barrel of metheglin, which will be a very delicious drink for my family and a kind of a
substitute for the luxuries they left behind. It will slake the thirst of the friendly pioneers,
who may favor us with a call in our new forest home; or those friends who come to talk
over the adventures of days now past, and the prospects of better days to come.”
-"The Bark-Covered House"- William Nowlin
Since I taught myself to cook when I was quite young from a random collection of cookbooks, some of which were fairly archaic, including an older edition of this one https://www.amazon.com/UNITED-STATES-REGIONAL-COOK-Books/dp/B000BRPEOO
I have continuously been confused whenever somebody suggests that sugar, meat or grain foods in the diet is the cause of the much more recent epidemic of obesity. The oldest cookbooks in my collection of Americana,dating well back into the 19th century, all have entire chapters devoted to making candy, cakes and pies, as well as processing rhubarb, rendering carp edible, and pickling cabbage. When I was an 11 year old at Girl Scout Camp celebrating the Bicentennial we churned full fat butter and pulled taffy.
What I see as having really changed in the course of my lifetime during which the obesity epidemic started and has flourished, is that people eat more food at all times of the day, a very different combination of more and less variety typified by something like a Spicy Chik'n Sandwich, they do not sit down and eat at the table like civilized people, children do not run around outdoors as much, fewer people are employed in manual labor, adults drink and smoke less and eat more treats more often, the feminist/acceptance movements combined with invention of stretchy plastics in clothing resulting in adults now dressing for the symphony like toddlers used to dress for bedtime have led to overall decrease in vanity. What else?
Anyways, I would say the tenets of my own "food religion/science" would be that human beings are naturally omnivorous scavengers, and can thrive on a variety of diets, and the individuals most likely to suffer from nutritional based illness or syndrome are those who avoid variety of whole foods, and are sedentary in proportion to rate of consumption. Since I believe that people should eat fresh food in season when possible, I also believe that people should eat as much locally produced food as possible, because there is great unnecessary expense involved in transporting, storing and marketing food produced to be sold as fresh at a distance. Therefore, it makes sense for somebody who lives in Southern California to eat a diet not unlike that of somebody who lives in region of Asia found at similar latitude, just like it makes sense for somebody who lives in Michigan to eat a diet more like somebody who lives in the Ukraine or North Korea. Since the cold winters of my latitude result in a hunger gap, (the oxen of the pioneer family in my region at something they called "French bog" that grew in low-spots and stayed green all winter, I wonder what is was?) food must be preserved in some manner, and it is my belief that it would be "better" to eat raspberries I grew or gathered and made into preserves with local honey in January than grapefruits shipped from Florida.
Since people benefit from an active lifestyle and there is some amount of manual labor involved in foraging, gathering, hunting, scavenging, planting, tending, raising, harvesting, processing food-stuffs, I think the first rational step towards the eradication of the obesity epidemic would be for all people to exert themselves for approximately 2 to 4 hours per day in local-as-possible personal food production. I defy anybody to achieve a level of morbid obesity eating cookies they baked from scratch in a wood oven for which they chopped the fuel, fashioned from ingredients such as maple sugar they walked into the woods to tap themselves, carried in buckets to boil down on more wood they chopped themselves, flour from grain they grew, threshed, ground themselves, and butter they churned from a cow they had to track down in the evening across field and woods by sound of her bell.
Of course, I must admit that I do not even come close to approximating this ideal solution I suggested in my own current behavior. -lol (typed from 12th floor suite of hotel where I very recently consumed free unnaturally varied breakfast from buffet.)