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1980s definatly, and back..Why were people more fit, toned and healthy Looking?

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  • kenyonhaffkenyonhaff Member Posts: 1,373 Member Member Posts: 1,373 Member
    TV and Movies has always generally shown whatever the standard of beauty is of the day. It is interesting to note that the women of the 50-60s had a softer, rounder look in general. (In Mad Men the actresses were asked to discontinue exercise programs in order to achieve this look.) In the 1970s the "Twiggy" look was in (thin). In the 1980s came the more athletic look -- women were more muscular (although still thin) with the advent of aerobics.

    In the past, obesity was not so widespread. Yes, there were always people with weight issues in modern times. Usually it is attributed to:

    * Lack of exercise. In the past, kids played more and more outside. Recreation was more things like jump rope, riding bikes, playing in the woods, games of hide and go seek. Kids actually organized their own neighborhood sports of baseball, stickball, ice hockey or whatever. (Peanuts was not making that up). TV was limited...afternoon and Saturday morning cartoons. After that, kids got bored and often went outside to look for fun. Kids also tended to walk to school and back more. Adults also tended to walk more--before the explosion of suburbs most people lived either in denser urban areas and walked to work (or public transit) or in the country, where farm work was farm work. People often worked more physically too. Lumberjacks used to use axes to fell trees and were incredibly physical; now machinery does most of the work and I've seen obese loggers.


    *Food. Fast food and take out were less widespread. Restaurants for most people were a once in a while indulgence. Most people ate at home. The grocery stores did not have as much prepared and ultra processed food. (Your small family market might have one brand of potato chips, soda, ice cream, and three types of breakfast cereal!) Most people had no option to swing by McDonald's for lunch break -- you made a sandwich and/or a thermos of soup brought it to work. There's also issues of sweeteners, fat content, portion sizes and more.

    The answer is complicated, but in general, we eat too much and often a lot of crappy unhealthy food. We don't move enough.
  • mariamsmb1mariamsmb1 Member Posts: 19 Member Member Posts: 19 Member
    They don’t look fitter to me, just skinny.

    Fast food was a rarity growing up for me as an 80s baby. We never had soda or treats on the house except for birthday parties. My parents fed us home cooked, healthy food although I was still a bit chubby due to the rule that I have to finish everything on my plate even if I was already full.

    We played outside a lot. Growing up we only had one car so we walked to the grocery store and many other places. People too day are a lot more sedentary.


  • richardgavelrichardgavel Member Posts: 977 Member Member Posts: 977 Member
    I remember back in about the 8th grade, McDonald's had introduced the double cheeseburger as a temporary item. Now you can get Double Quarter Pounders, Fuddruckers will sell 3/4 lb burgers, Super size was a thing until recently. And truthfully I don't blame the food producers, I more blame a lack of self control on the part of the customers. We've become more of an immediate gratification culture that ignores consequences, whether it's financially using credit too much or eating more food than we need because we like the taste (I understand convenient factor fast food vs homemade, but a large fry is no more convenient than a medium fries)
  • AchievinMyDreamAchievinMyDream Member, Premium Posts: 12 Member Member, Premium Posts: 12 Member
    I honestly feel the difference is the introduction of high fructose corn syrup in everything. It started in mid 80’s with being put in Coca Cola and Pepsi. Soon after it started being used in other foods. Now 30 years later it is in 1000s of things we eat or drink. Back in the 80s I didn’t know what diabetes was or know anywhere who had it. Now I know 100s who have it. It all goes hand in hand. So when you are seeing those leaner bodies back in the 80s. It could explain a lot. Also tv was limited in its viewing so we stayed more active with friends and being outside. Cellphones and computers. It’s a mixture of the evolution of everything.
    edited February 17
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member Posts: 25,838 Member Member Posts: 25,838 Member
    I honestly feel the difference is the introduction of high fructose corn syrup in everything. It started in mid 80’s with being put in Coca Cola and Pepsi. Soon after it started being used in other foods. Now 30 years later it is in 1000s of things we eat or drink. Back in the 80s I didn’t know what diabetes was or know anywhere who had it. Now I know 100s who have it. It all goes hand in hand. So when you are seeing those leaner bodies back in the 80s. It could explain a lot. Also tv was limited in its viewing so we stayed more active with friends and being outside. Cellphones and computers. It’s a mixture of the evolution of everything.

    Is it in 1000s of things that you eat or drink? Due to perception, it's been eliminated from lots of foods (with no change in the obesity rate). When I was overweight, only a tiny fraction of my daily calories were from HFCS and mostly from things used in small amounts, like ketchup.

    I don't think there's anything in my home that has it right now except for ketchup and maybe a couple other infrequently used condiments and I don't even try to avoid it.
  • 33gail3333gail33 Member Posts: 888 Member Member Posts: 888 Member
    It's not just portion sizes. There's way more added sugar in things you wouldn't expect it to be in, like jars of pasta sauce.

    There was a documentary I saw a few years ago where a family wanted to eat healthier. The only change the producers had them change was that everything had to be made from scratch. They were eating the dames meals at the same portion sizes, everything was just home cooked. The whole family lost weight.

    Obviously that wouldn't work in every scenario, but it would definitely make an impact.

    A lot of the junk food available now has also been lab tested to be more-ish. Manufacturers have a better understanding of what makes people want to keep eating. More sugar, more salt, more fat. We're hardwired to want these things as an evolutionary leftover that is now doing us more harm than good. Add to that the advances in marketing and you have a bunch of misfiring synapses telling us we need or want things that we really don't.

    Add being time poor, stressed out and broke and you have a recipe for relience on cheap convenience foods.

    Yeah I seem to remember watching a documentary where they connected an increase in obesity to the "low fat" evolution of processed foods - so they took out the fat but loaded it up with sugar and sodium to make up for it taste wise. Would be kind of ironic if the shift to "low fat" foods actually contributed to obesity.
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member Posts: 25,838 Member Member Posts: 25,838 Member
    33gail33 wrote: »
    It's not just portion sizes. There's way more added sugar in things you wouldn't expect it to be in, like jars of pasta sauce.

    There was a documentary I saw a few years ago where a family wanted to eat healthier. The only change the producers had them change was that everything had to be made from scratch. They were eating the dames meals at the same portion sizes, everything was just home cooked. The whole family lost weight.

    Obviously that wouldn't work in every scenario, but it would definitely make an impact.

    A lot of the junk food available now has also been lab tested to be more-ish. Manufacturers have a better understanding of what makes people want to keep eating. More sugar, more salt, more fat. We're hardwired to want these things as an evolutionary leftover that is now doing us more harm than good. Add to that the advances in marketing and you have a bunch of misfiring synapses telling us we need or want things that we really don't.

    Add being time poor, stressed out and broke and you have a recipe for relience on cheap convenience foods.

    Yeah I seem to remember watching a documentary where they connected an increase in obesity to the "low fat" evolution of processed foods - so they took out the fat but loaded it up with sugar and sodium to make up for it taste wise. Would be kind of ironic if the shift to "low fat" foods actually contributed to obesity.

    There was an explosion in low fat products, but IIRC it didn't result in significantly lessening the amount of fat the average American was eating. I think it was only about ten grams less per day in 2000 than it was in the 1970s. So in that sense, it wouldn't really be accurate to blame low fat products for obesity. The end result is that they simply added to a situation where we are eating more calories than we need, including calories from fat.

  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 7,430 Member Member Posts: 7,430 Member
    33gail33 wrote: »
    It's not just portion sizes. There's way more added sugar in things you wouldn't expect it to be in, like jars of pasta sauce.

    There was a documentary I saw a few years ago where a family wanted to eat healthier. The only change the producers had them change was that everything had to be made from scratch. They were eating the dames meals at the same portion sizes, everything was just home cooked. The whole family lost weight.

    Obviously that wouldn't work in every scenario, but it would definitely make an impact.

    A lot of the junk food available now has also been lab tested to be more-ish. Manufacturers have a better understanding of what makes people want to keep eating. More sugar, more salt, more fat. We're hardwired to want these things as an evolutionary leftover that is now doing us more harm than good. Add to that the advances in marketing and you have a bunch of misfiring synapses telling us we need or want things that we really don't.

    Add being time poor, stressed out and broke and you have a recipe for relience on cheap convenience foods.

    Yeah I seem to remember watching a documentary where they connected an increase in obesity to the "low fat" evolution of processed foods - so they took out the fat but loaded it up with sugar and sodium to make up for it taste wise. Would be kind of ironic if the shift to "low fat" foods actually contributed to obesity.

    There was an explosion in low fat products, but IIRC it didn't result in significantly lessening the amount of fat the average American was eating. I think it was only about ten grams less per day in 2000 than it was in the 1970s. So in that sense, it wouldn't really be accurate to blame low fat products for obesity. The end result is that they simply added to a situation where we are eating more calories than we need, including calories from fat.

    This. At most, the low fat stuff lead to people telling themselves it was okay to eat crazy amounts of whatever low fat cookie or what not they were eating, but I suspect they would have lied to themselves in some other way if not for the low fat product. It's also unsurprising that there are now lots of dessert or snack food type items that have started to appear that advertise themselves as being low sugar or keto or paleo or the like, since sugar is now everyone's favorite villain.
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 7,430 Member Member Posts: 7,430 Member
    It's not just portion sizes. There's way more added sugar in things you wouldn't expect it to be in, like jars of pasta sauce.

    A lot of such claims are straight up exaggeration like comparing the amount of sugar in a whole big jar of pasta sauce with many servings to a candy bar and not explaining AT ALL that much of the sugar in the pasta sauce of course comes naturally from the tomatoes.

    I encourage making one's own pasta sauce (I think it's much tastier), but the idea that people are getting tons of sugar from unexpected sources does not hold up. (For what it's worth, many traditional ways of making pasta sauce do add a little sugar, also.)

    If one looks at the primary sources of added sugar in the diet, both in the US and UK, it is all from totally expected things -- dessert type items, soda, and sugary cereal.
    There was a documentary I saw a few years ago where a family wanted to eat healthier. The only change the producers had them change was that everything had to be made from scratch. They were eating the dames meals at the same portion sizes, everything was just home cooked. The whole family lost weight.

    Obviously that wouldn't work in every scenario, but it would definitely make an impact.

    I have been into cooking mostly from scratch for many, many years, and did so when I was getting fat, as well as when I lost weight, so I disagree that it would definitely make an impact.

    What WAS helpful about it, when I decided to figure out how to lose, is that I was able to adjust pretty easily to cooking lower cal and sating meals. But I also expect that someone used to eating a lot of fast food or pre-made convenience stuff (like something packaged that you just heat up or whatever) and snacks and desserts from the supermarket would initially find that cooking from scratch made it harder to overeat, that they would be less able to impulse eat, so on. But I would warn that it's pretty easy to adjust to being able to do that, if you are someone inclined to, while eating homemade food.
  • 33gail3333gail33 Member Posts: 888 Member Member Posts: 888 Member
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    Here's something you should try to compare though. Look at inmates in the 80's (physique and weight) and now. Guess what? They haven't changed much. There are still very few obese inmates in the penitentiary. Why? Because their food is limited. They eat 3 portioned meals a day. And this ain't even quality food (one of my best arguments against "clean eaters" and "bad food will make you fat" proponents). Yeah some have commissary, but it's just junk food they get from there.
    Still comes down to CONSUMPTION.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png

    In Canada the inmate population actually has a higher obesity rate than the general population- and 3/4 of inmates gain significant weight during their sentences. Maybe it’s different in the US?
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member Posts: 25,838 Member Member Posts: 25,838 Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    33gail33 wrote: »
    It's not just portion sizes. There's way more added sugar in things you wouldn't expect it to be in, like jars of pasta sauce.

    There was a documentary I saw a few years ago where a family wanted to eat healthier. The only change the producers had them change was that everything had to be made from scratch. They were eating the dames meals at the same portion sizes, everything was just home cooked. The whole family lost weight.

    Obviously that wouldn't work in every scenario, but it would definitely make an impact.

    A lot of the junk food available now has also been lab tested to be more-ish. Manufacturers have a better understanding of what makes people want to keep eating. More sugar, more salt, more fat. We're hardwired to want these things as an evolutionary leftover that is now doing us more harm than good. Add to that the advances in marketing and you have a bunch of misfiring synapses telling us we need or want things that we really don't.

    Add being time poor, stressed out and broke and you have a recipe for relience on cheap convenience foods.

    Yeah I seem to remember watching a documentary where they connected an increase in obesity to the "low fat" evolution of processed foods - so they took out the fat but loaded it up with sugar and sodium to make up for it taste wise. Would be kind of ironic if the shift to "low fat" foods actually contributed to obesity.

    There was an explosion in low fat products, but IIRC it didn't result in significantly lessening the amount of fat the average American was eating. I think it was only about ten grams less per day in 2000 than it was in the 1970s. So in that sense, it wouldn't really be accurate to blame low fat products for obesity. The end result is that they simply added to a situation where we are eating more calories than we need, including calories from fat.

    This. At most, the low fat stuff lead to people telling themselves it was okay to eat crazy amounts of whatever low fat cookie or what not they were eating, but I suspect they would have lied to themselves in some other way if not for the low fat product. It's also unsurprising that there are now lots of dessert or snack food type items that have started to appear that advertise themselves as being low sugar or keto or paleo or the like, since sugar is now everyone's favorite villain.

    There's an interesting debate to be had about the extent to which products of this type use packaging and branding to try to encourage consumers to eat more than a typical serving size. There's a podcast called "Maintenance Phase" that has done episodes on both Snackwells and Halo Top and they explore that aspect of their marketing. I don't remember Snackwells very well, but Halo Top absolutely seems to encourage consumption of the whole pint at once, which is obviously more than a standard serving of ice cream. They're printed phrases like "No bowl, no regrets" and "Don't stop till you hit the bottom" on their pints.

    The point isn't that there is something sacred about serving sizes, but just as Americans didn't have the "room" for a whole package of Snackwells, many today don't have the "room" for a whole pint of Halo Top. We're just on a merry-go-round of what is currently considered okay to overeat. Does the promotion of lower sugar foods mean we're eating significantly less sugar overall? Probably not.

  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 20,861 Member Member, Premium Posts: 20,861 Member
    It's not just portion sizes. There's way more added sugar in things you wouldn't expect it to be in, like jars of pasta sauce.

    The recipe I used to make pasta sauce from scratch in the early 1970s (when we called it spaghetti sauce) had sugar in it. I don't know why people find it so unexpected that things like pasta sauce or catsup have sugar in them. It's a traditional ingredient. I wonder if this shock at sugar in pasta sauce is a side effect of people not cooking from scratch as much as they used to. (It's not much sugar, normally, either then or now. It's to mellow the perceived acidity, better balance the flavor, more or less.)

    In many jarred sauces, the added oil (also optional) adds more calories per serving than the sugar. Example: Bertolli Organic Traditional (supposedly one of the bad guys) has both soybean and olive oil, one of those two above sugar in the ingredient list so higher amount. Per serving, label lists 4g fat (36 calories), 2g added sugar (so 8 calories added sugar; 7g total sugar, including that from the veggies, so 28 calories from total sugar, most of which will've been in the tomatoes). There is negligible fat in any of the other ingredients, so the fat on the label is virtually all added oil.
    There was a documentary I saw a few years ago where a family wanted to eat healthier. The only change the producers had them change was that everything had to be made from scratch. They were eating the dames meals at the same portion sizes, everything was just home cooked. The whole family lost weight.

    Keep in mind that this "experiment" acts on body weight in two ways: The recipes/ingredients, and the movement involved in shopping/preparation/clean-up. Big amount? No. Maybe 50 calories, say? Seems plausible, modest, even. If one is trying to explain an obesity crisis that only requires a low-hundreds above maintenance intake, 50 calories X 21 weekly meals might be meaningful. It doesn't take many calories to go through the drive-through.

  • JustaNoobJustaNoob Member Posts: 114 Member Member Posts: 114 Member
    I believe a lot of technological advances have helped us and hurt us in regards to weight. In the past, women worked hard at home with very few conveniences and that burned a ton of calories. Men also had fewer conveniences in the work place.

    Technology has grown a ton and so has the demand for convenience items as more women have entered the work force. Now both men and women are working, but the need for home upkeep hasn't changed.

    Technology that helps us burn fewer calories:
    Cell phones-- You don't have to walk to a wall phone or pay phone if you are stranded.
    Dishwashers-- Throw it in and let it wash.
    Digital books, movies, music-- you never have to walk into a store, you can just order from your couch
    Grocery services-- You don't have to shop for groceries
    Precooked/precut food-- You don't have to do all that, you can buy it premade.
    Robot Vacuums- Never sweep or mop again.
    Riding lawn mowers--Just sit and go.
    Fast Food-- Just grab and go.

    I think all of these little things add up. And of course, I wouldn't expect people to work 8 hours AND do all this from scratch. It just means we have to be more intentional than what previous generations did, simply because their daily duties helped them to burn more calories.
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 7,430 Member Member Posts: 7,430 Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    33gail33 wrote: »
    It's not just portion sizes. There's way more added sugar in things you wouldn't expect it to be in, like jars of pasta sauce.

    There was a documentary I saw a few years ago where a family wanted to eat healthier. The only change the producers had them change was that everything had to be made from scratch. They were eating the dames meals at the same portion sizes, everything was just home cooked. The whole family lost weight.

    Obviously that wouldn't work in every scenario, but it would definitely make an impact.

    A lot of the junk food available now has also been lab tested to be more-ish. Manufacturers have a better understanding of what makes people want to keep eating. More sugar, more salt, more fat. We're hardwired to want these things as an evolutionary leftover that is now doing us more harm than good. Add to that the advances in marketing and you have a bunch of misfiring synapses telling us we need or want things that we really don't.

    Add being time poor, stressed out and broke and you have a recipe for relience on cheap convenience foods.

    Yeah I seem to remember watching a documentary where they connected an increase in obesity to the "low fat" evolution of processed foods - so they took out the fat but loaded it up with sugar and sodium to make up for it taste wise. Would be kind of ironic if the shift to "low fat" foods actually contributed to obesity.

    There was an explosion in low fat products, but IIRC it didn't result in significantly lessening the amount of fat the average American was eating. I think it was only about ten grams less per day in 2000 than it was in the 1970s. So in that sense, it wouldn't really be accurate to blame low fat products for obesity. The end result is that they simply added to a situation where we are eating more calories than we need, including calories from fat.

    This. At most, the low fat stuff lead to people telling themselves it was okay to eat crazy amounts of whatever low fat cookie or what not they were eating, but I suspect they would have lied to themselves in some other way if not for the low fat product. It's also unsurprising that there are now lots of dessert or snack food type items that have started to appear that advertise themselves as being low sugar or keto or paleo or the like, since sugar is now everyone's favorite villain.

    There's an interesting debate to be had about the extent to which products of this type use packaging and branding to try to encourage consumers to eat more than a typical serving size. There's a podcast called "Maintenance Phase" that has done episodes on both Snackwells and Halo Top and they explore that aspect of their marketing. I don't remember Snackwells very well, but Halo Top absolutely seems to encourage consumption of the whole pint at once, which is obviously more than a standard serving of ice cream. They're printed phrases like "No bowl, no regrets" and "Don't stop till you hit the bottom" on their pints.

    The point isn't that there is something sacred about serving sizes, but just as Americans didn't have the "room" for a whole package of Snackwells, many today don't have the "room" for a whole pint of Halo Top. We're just on a merry-go-round of what is currently considered okay to overeat. Does the promotion of lower sugar foods mean we're eating significantly less sugar overall? Probably not.

    I agree with this. It's basically a vicious circle. People start sometimes eating a pint of ice cream in a sitting (while knowing that's a bad idea). Ice cream manufacturers come up with a pint that one CAN (calorie-wise) justify eating in one sitting, so one normalizes that behavior (and it becomes more normal socially and to say "of course everyone does it" or even "it's impossible to be satisfied with one serving of ice cream, can't you see how tiny those servings are") and then when you decide the diet is over or to be indulgent or whatever, you go back to normal (better tasting) ice cream and it's natural to just eat the whole pint.

    The thing with low fat and low sugar added to this is that sometimes people don't really get that calories are the issue, and assume if one "eats healthy" one won't gain, and perceive low fat (back in the day!) or low sugar as achieving that. But I would say even this doesn't support the idea that pushing low fat made the population, in that they were diligently trying to follow the nutrition guidelines, gain weight, as some of the anti sugar conspiracy folks would have it, as (1) we didn't decrease the amt of fat anyway, as you said; (2) no one legitimately believes eating whole packages of cookies regularly is healthy, low fat or not; and (3) no one advised doing to, and of the health advice that was actually given (especially that about fruit and veg), it was largely ignored if you compare to what people were actually eating.
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