“My Grandfather ate bread and potatoes for every meal and he lived to be 98!”
If you are in the Midwest, this is a common argument when discussing the benefits of a low carb diet with someone who is against it. The truth is, you could hear this argument anywhere in the world, and it’s completely valid. However, this can be a very misleading statement regarding carbs, diet, and longevity.
When discussing our parents and grandparents, we have to understand that each generation is different in countless ways. The digital age brought with it numerous desk jobs, small office work cubicles, and employment opportunities that meant sitting in front of a computer for most of the day.
According to the US Census Bureau’s 1920 Census, among the top most common jobs were farmers, machinists, manufacturing laborers, carpenters, textile workers, and day laborers. Now according to the 2018 US Census Bureau’s findings, the most popular jobs are retail workers, teachers, truck drivers, administrative assistants, secretaries, and customer service representatives.
The difference in physical exertion between common work in the early to mid 20th century compared to our current 21st century employment trends is massive. This is not to say today’s jobs aren’t difficult or challenging, each job provides their own unique challenges! However, it’s no surprise that if your Grandfather was getting up at 6:00 AM every day for morning chores, and then working from sunrise to sunset across acres of land - he most likely needed bread and potatoes for every meal.
Another facet worth comparing from our generation to our grandparents is the access to processed foods. Additives and chemicals that extend the shelf life of certain foods can have the adverse effect on our own internal shelf life. Knowing exactly what you’re putting into your body is another key part of the keto diet, as well as the whole foods diet.
In conclusion, of course they are right, their Grandpa did eat bread and/or potatoes for every meal and lived to 98. But do they live the same lifestyle? Are they as active, or work in a similar labor intensive setting?
When it comes to food and health, we have to look at our own, personal lives, and we must be honest with ourselves. How active are we day to day, and what foods support this level of activity to help us feel our best, and be our best!
Food for thought.