How ’bout Those Recommendations?
Last weekend I was in Grants Pass, Oregon with Sarah for a seminar and I stumbled on some interesting information. My wife, Sheryl, and I got into town a little early and decided to check the place out. After eating a lot of meat for lunch as usual, she dragged me kicking and screaming into an antique shop. After a while, I fought back my usual testosterone driven desire to make a break for it and I started rifling through the books scattered throughout the various nooks and crannies of the store. When I had all but given up on finding anything of interest, I stumbled upon this little gem from 1941:
To my elation, it contained a nutrition section complete with dietary recommendations and the discrepancies between then and now are what I find intriguing. Before we go on I need to make myself perfectly clear. Everything that I am inferring here today is anecdotal and/or specualtive. I am simply pointing out some interesting correlations, but I am offering scientific proof of nothing, so don’t use any of this stuff to try to win an argument with anybody. I only want to get you thinking and questioning some of the things you may have accepted as truth.
Moving on, check out the section below that I found in my little treasure.
Now let’s make some comparisons. Here is the current US Recommended Daily Intake (based on 2000 calories per day) for all three macronutrients:
Total Fat – 65 g.
Protein – 50 g.
Carbohydrate – 300 g.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 (page 14), the highest daily calorie recommendation for anyone is 3200 calories per day for active males between 14 and 18 years of age, and the active female between 31 and 50 should consume 2200 calories. When compared to our 1941 recommendations above, today’s total energy intake recommendations are clearly lower for everyone. So, if we assume that my book accurately reflects the standard recommendations in 1941, carb recommendations are roughly the same, but protein, fat, and total calorie recommendations were higher in 1941 than they are today. According to mainstream dietary nutrition advice, fat and excess calories are the culprits in our obesity epidemic. Therefore, we should see some benefit to our modern recommendations, right?
Obesity data from 1941 is a little elusive, but I found the nice graph below on the website of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. If we assume similar obesity numbers in 1941 as in 1960 (although they were probably lower), it would seem that the recommendations from my new book weren’t really causing much trouble. In fact it would appear that all the trouble started in the late 1970s when dietary fat was vilified.
Again, this is all just an observation and not to be confused with scientific evidence. Paleo has already shown many of us that a lot of the things we have been taught were wrong, but if you are on the fence and still clinging to old unsubstantiated advice, you might consider taking a long hard look at the big picture. Correlative stuff like this is pretty easy to find and it inevitably shows us that the dietary advice of the last 5 decades, give or take, has been seriously detrimental to our health.
As for my own recommendations for you, there are two options I hope you will try. You can question everything, like I do, and end up at paleo anyway, or you can trust us and get your diet dialed in and see how you look/feel/perform. Choosing either of these options will reward you in remarkable ways.
Go forth and be awesome.