Why is Diabetes Such a Problem Today?

Our lives are really different now than they were in ancient times. Man used to live in small communities called tribes. They moved around all the time to take advantage of the local food supply. All his food came from what he could gather around him or hunt.

  • There was no electricity, grocery stores, refrigerators, or stoves.
  • There were no farms.
  • There was no way to preserve food for longer than a few days!

So, sometimes humans didn’t have enough to eat and our bodies got really good at doing without food all the time. Humans can actually go weeks without eating (though it isn’t any fun!)

What we did eat was very different from what we eat today. Early man ate:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Grasses and greens
  • Meat and fish when they could catch it.

There were no grains or cereals so that meant no bread, cookies, cake or breakfast cereal. There were no domesticated animals so there was no milk, butter, cheese or yogurt.

Ancient man was active for most of the day just finding, preparing and eating. Life was tough!

Then we “invented” agriculture. That means we figured out how to domesticate or tame wild animals like buffalo, ducks, geese and how to save useful seeds from plants we ate and grow them.

Life was still hard but food supplies were more stable. Domesticated animals provided milk for cheese and butter, which added fat to our diet. Crops provided grains and legumes and provided good energy from carbohydrates.

We also became settled into communities that got bigger, and bigger and bigger!

Today most people have never actually seen a farm where our food is grown and much of our food is manufactured in big factories and mixed with chemicals that make it last longer on the shelf, or taste better after it’s been processed. Now, we have grocery stores with prepared foods and restaurants with fast food. It isn’t as good for your body as whole foods that come straight out of the garden.

Back then lots of people still worked in jobs like farming, crafts and factories where they were physically active all day long. Today people work in offices where they sit at desks.

Kids used to walk to school; sometimes long distances (just ask your grandparents!).  They played outside and were active from sun-up to sun down. There were no computers, or smart phones, no video games, barely even any TV and definitely no remote controls for anything!

Today kids almost never walk or bike to school, recess and physical education at schools is limited. Lots of kids live in places where it isn’t always safe to play outside! So we’re a lot less active than we used to be and so many of us are overweight.

So the kind of food we eat and how active we are play a big role in whether or not we get Type 2 diabetes.