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Grandmother’s diets?

ianf0ster

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Well, my history seemed to be the same as yours.
I certainly didn't see any "low carb".
We didn't snack as much, and we exercised more running around outside.
I was thin then, I got fat later when I had more disposable income to spend, and sat around eating the snacks I spent it on.
I'm not blaming the world for it, I did it to myself. No one made me eat all that food.
In fact, the only thing I remember about that, and the NHS, was every time I saw my doctor, she told me I was putting on weight, and to eat less, and lose some.
Certainly not forced onto a diet that made me gain more!
I didn't suggest that people ate low carb back then, though in my experience (born in 1951) we ate fewer carbs than the average younger person does now.
What I did say was that (in general) we were 'fat adapted'. This means being able to switch without difficulty from using carbs for energy to using our personal energy store that is our body fat. Thus we were slim and didn't need (nor have) snacks versus the currently overweight population who at least feel they need to eat 6 or more times per day (encouraged by the food manufacturers).

In my particular experience in the late 1980's my GP started telling me I must eat low fat high Crab in order to ward off the heart disease that killed my dad at age 45. I was still then (BMI around 22). I had my doubts about this because 1. My dad was a chain smoker for most of his life and 2. When he gave up smoking he became overweight 3. Physically I take after my mum rather than my dad.
However under the pressure of doctors, NHS, government, media, friends etc. I slowly caved in and ultimately went onto a very low fat way of eating indeed with large amounts of wholegrains, fruit and carrots (on which I was told to snack).
Inevitably this made my weight increase because 1. Due to all the fruit and grains I was consuming more calories 2. My calories were mostly in the form of carbs.

Because of my (low) weight and low blood pressure, I was never advised to lose weight until my Type 2 diabetes diagnosis two and a half years ago at which time (by using the BMI range) I was a whopping 2 pounds overweight!
 

travellor

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Back when?

Grew up in 60s & 70s, carbs where big part of diet, porridge weetabix toast were breakfast staples, dinner would be beans on toast sandwich bread & soup, bread would come uncut then sliced like doorsteps. Tea would be mince n tatties, shepherds cottage pie stews with root veg such like, always with potatoes, followed by pudding, examples sponge & custard homemade rice pudding or slice of homemade cake, similar meals at school except chips were mainly on offer or mashed tatties.

Every friday when father got paid it was chippy tea, we ate same way as parents did when little as mother learnt how to cook & bake from own mother.

All families our way ate similar meals, so diet was carb heavy as it was on red meat.
And the sweets.

My grandma always had extra strong peppermints on the go, my dad had a packet of polos.
All pure sugar.
Every other sweet was a boiled sugar lump, and pocket money was usually spent on something 100% sugar.
Looking back I can see why I have fillings.
 

nonethewiser

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
And the sweets.

My grandma always had extra strong peppermints on the go, my dad had a packet of polos.
All pure sugar.
Every other sweet was a boiled sugar lump, and pocket money was usually spent on something 100% sugar.
Looking back I can see why I have fillings.

Nana fav was mint imperials & pan drops, always had packet in house, anyone going round was offered one.

Mother kept up tradition, she did have sweet tooth but always denied it, often packet could be found stuffed down side of armchair, happy memories.

Thing is to suggest that folk back then were more focused on protein & fat is nonsense, those two were eaten in high quantities as were carbs, sometimes these myths get out of hand & when repeated enough becomes truth, see this often on social media.
 

travellor

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Nana fav was mint imperials & pan drops, always had packet in house, anyone going round was offered one.

Mother kept up tradition, she did have sweet tooth but always denied it, often packet could be found stuffed down side of armchair, happy memories.

Thing is to suggest that folk back then were more focused on protein & fat is nonsense, those two were eaten in high quantities as were carbs, sometimes these myths get out of hand & when repeated enough becomes truth, see this often on social media.

"confirmatory memory"
Its part of confirmation bias, or motivated reasoning, it's always been with us, it's just got a lot worse with social media, when you can target specific groups, and circulate it around to re affirm it, and in turn re affirm your own beliefs.
We all do it to some degree though.

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janw

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
One other thing you need to remember is that back in the day very few had cars, we walked everywhere - school, shops, out with friends, hospital visits - you name it we walked unless it really was long distance. We had no fridge so daily shopping was a must. There was no "jumping in the car" to go anywhere, so we all exercised a lot more as part of our daily routine. Portions were smaller too, but always fresh bread and jam to finish filling you up if you needed more, with proper butter of course. Spoonfuls of malt extract with cod liver oil to "build us up". We had three chickens so always had eggs. Dad always made porridge with butter and salt - from his Royal Navy days I guess - and I did, too. We always had a "supper" before bedtime too, around 9.00pm, a sandwich or cheese and crackers, that kind of thing. I was a skinny thing, as was my mum, dad and nan - but we were never hungry. I guess we worked off what we ate. Years went by, food got cheaper and so became more plentiful and servings got larger, cakes and biscuits entered our diets - and here we are today....
 

travellor

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
One other thing you need to remember is that back in the day very few had cars, we walked everywhere - school, shops, out with friends, hospital visits - you name it we walked unless it really was long distance. We had no fridge so daily shopping was a must. There was no "jumping in the car" to go anywhere, so we all exercised a lot more as part of our daily routine. Portions were smaller too, but always fresh bread and jam to finish filling you up if you needed more, with proper butter of course. Spoonfuls of malt extract with cod liver oil to "build us up". We had three chickens so always had eggs. Dad always made porridge with butter and salt - from his Royal Navy days I guess - and I did, too. We always had a "supper" before bedtime too, around 9.00pm, a sandwich or cheese and crackers, that kind of thing. I was a skinny thing, as was my mum, dad and nan - but we were never hungry. I guess we worked off what we ate. Years went by, food got cheaper and so became more plentiful and servings got larger, cakes and biscuits entered our diets - and here we are today....
That's what I remember.
More disposal income, more food, bigger portions, less exercise.
The car and company entertainment account was probably my nail in the coffin thinking about it.
 

Vonny

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Growing up we would have eg a pork chop, a couple of chunks of potato drizzled with the fat from the grill, and peas and/or other veg. No pudding. And we weren't poor (neither were we rich!). At Christmas we used to get a moderate tin of Quality Street, about 1/3 of the size on sale today which would last the extended family over the festive season. And, as @janw says, we walked everywhere unless we were going on holiday or visiting relatives in a different town. I used to wonder how on earth we managed on such meagre portions, now I wish I'd kept them up over the last few decades and would probably have avoided getting diabetes.

I now refuse to take the car to our local Sainsburys as it's only a 2 mile round trip. Unless I'm buying wine as it's too heavy to carry!
 

nonethewiser

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
One other thing you need to remember is that back in the day very few had cars, we walked everywhere - school, shops, out with friends, hospital visits - you name it we walked unless it really was long distance. We had no fridge so daily shopping was a must. There was no "jumping in the car" to go anywhere, so we all exercised a lot more as part of our daily routine. Portions were smaller too, but always fresh bread and jam to finish filling you up if you needed more, with proper butter of course. Spoonfuls of malt extract with cod liver oil to "build us up". We had three chickens so always had eggs. Dad always made porridge with butter and salt - from his Royal Navy days I guess - and I did, too. We always had a "supper" before bedtime too, around 9.00pm, a sandwich or cheese and crackers, that kind of thing. I was a skinny thing, as was my mum, dad and nan - but we were never hungry. I guess we worked off what we ate. Years went by, food got cheaper and so became more plentiful and servings got larger, cakes and biscuits entered our diets - and here we are today....

Never got idea of salt in porridge, parents did same, scooped into middle of bowl with milk poured around it. Still eat porridge now minus salt.

Great point about exercise, so much more active then which burned those calories off.

One exception about serving size, chocolate bars were huge compared to now, marathon mars bars were twice as big as they are now, very filling as small child.
 

everydayupsanddowns

Administrator
Staff member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
There has been a big change in all sorts of aspect of our ‘food culture’ in my view. Portion sizes as @janw mentions were very different, and while people joke about Wagon Wheels being bigger back then I saw a very arresting poster in hospital once which compared the standard size of things like muffins from decades ago vs their current equivalents.

Plus the change in takeaway culture / frequency, the rise in expectation and opportunities for of between-meal eating, and the proportion of ultraprocessed foods in the average shopping basket.

I can remember the explosion of availability of these things in my 70s childhood, and into early adulthood.

I can also remember when you had to look to find the handful of low fat yoghurt options. These days I am hard pressed to spot a single yoghurt which isn’t ‘virtually fat free’.

I can also remember when it was sweet and sugary things which were the primary thing that was understood to be fattening. But fat and fattening have become so inextricably linked in policy and public consciousness that ‘full fat coke’ has become the colloquial term for the sugary version which has not and has never had any fat in it.

So now things are promoted either as ‘low fat’ (and therefore better for you) or ‘all butter’ (and therefore more luxurious)

So I don’t feel that it can be that people have simply all simultaneously become more weak willed and gluttonous. IMO we are just living in, and surrounded by a very different food environment, with very different food choices and shopping basket options available and being promoted to us.
 

Robin

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
I’m just rereading Anna Karenina, and I was amused to get to a bit where Vronsky has had to keep the weight off for a horse race. Even Russia in the 1870s was keen on the low carb diet!
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Drummer

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
I suppose my childhood was very different from the average, as we hatched and raised poultry and always had loads of eggs which were sorted and the large ones stacked up in boxes and picked up by the mobile shop when it came around twice a week. The other eggs were used by the family, the really large ones, and the small ones. I had three bantam hens and a cockerel. There was an orchard with 120 Crispin apples, two Conference pears, two plum trees, loads of gooseberry bushes and white currants, which were picked for sale. There were geese in the yard which vanished just before Christmas each year.
I have my mother's baking trays and those with cups for making buns and Yorkshire puddings - the cups are tiny by comparison with modern cup cake trays. They would not be put on the table heaped up either, we each got one at tea time.
 
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trophywench

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Anna Karenina - 'Farinaceous items' indeed! Ask a 15 year old if they know what that means and which food items the adjective applies to.
 
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