Monday 31 May 2010

Calorie and nutrient intake over time

These children, playing in a public space, var...Image via Wikipedia
This post has been moved to my new blog fit2thrive
I've always found it to be a lot of work to pass on things I find out. So much of it is because the ability to collaborate and communicate a lot of information easily and cheaply with a lot of people regardless of location and resources is relatively new. So we're still largely stuck with legacy ways of presenting information.

So I've been working on a way of bringing things into the digital connected age. Thankfully there is a lot out there to build on, so here is my first attempt to pass on some ideas and present some arguments using latest technology.

I've noticed for many years that physical activity is a great way to maintain or lose weight because by being active you get to add to your life. It's a positive thing. Many people instantly tell me they don't like being active but I quickly and consistently find things they like doing that are active that they didn't realise could count. Just popping our for a walk is important if you do no activity at all.

With out digging any further I want to explain why, when you want to get control over your weight that activity is, in my opinion, a better thing to focus on than the calories you eat.

Take a look at the graph below. What it shows is the average calorie intake in the UK between 1940 (yes, during wartime rationing) and 2000.

What you see is that we actually ate over 400 calories more during the war, when obesity was extremely rare, compared to year 2000 when obesity is a huge concern.

Given that the data is from defra I feel this is pretty compelling evidence that the idea of losing weight and preventing obesity by eating less just doesn't add up. Either that or there are some serious flaws in the way the government is collecting and presenting information.
We're also told that more of our calories should come from carbohydrate and less from fat. The chart below shows that we used to achieve this much better than we do now.

So if we're eating so much less how come we're so much bigger than we used to be? What's changed? We all know what's changed but we take it for granted. We're just so much less active than we ever used to be.

Years ago we used to walk or cycle to work or the shops. We'd walk up stairs. Many of our jobs involved physical labour. So we spent a lot of calories just getting through our days. We just don't any more. Thing is our bodies are designed for the active lifestyle not the sedentary one. I haven't been able to track down the stats on activity over time, mainly because no one thought to record them. Most people don't think to measure activity. They believe that we are what we eat instead of what we do. When I find the stats I'll post them here.

Importantly it's also logical that if we eat less food we're probably consuming fewer nutrients than we used to. The data from defra indicates this isn't the case for most nutrients which is encouraging.

I'm excited by this new charting tool. I just created this article on the Open University's labspace environment using simple copy and paste. It's proving quite versatile. I can author here and then copy and paste where ever I want to.

Learn more about preventing obesityinsulin resistanceheart disease and Diabetesdementia and alzheimers and even Cancer through exercise
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