Richard Nikoley at "Free the Animal" published a letter from a reader the other day, in a blog article titled "The Culture of Obesity."
I've had the good fortune to spend the last 2 weeks traveling across Italy with my wife and 2 teenagers. Nothing opens your eyes and gives one perspective like traveling and experiencing anothers' cultures, customs and FOODS. First some observations. ...By the way these observations are so unscientific, I don't know where to begin; but I think you'll get the message. Nearly all Italians I met and interacted with were thin. That's not to say there are no fat Italians. But by and large, I did not see any Walmart fat Italians. Now granted, I was exposed to a small sampling of the population. Only a few thousand. Second, the food. 100 out 100 restaurants I either walked by or ate at while in the country of Italy served the same basic foods. Pasta, pizza, salad, meat, melon, cheese and oh yes bread, olive oil and wine. Now, I know in our part of the world how many of these foods are being demonized with regularity. My wife even let me know how thin everyone was while eating pastas, breads pizza etc. And, that I should go back to eating like the Italians. What's up with all the pasta and grains? I know this stuff isn't paleo. While they do serve meat, it does not appear to be the staple of the diet. Tempting as it was, I able to resist temptation and have pizza on only one occasion. And sweets. Italians love chocolates and pastries. It's everywhere. Wine with lunch and/or dinner every day. Third. People in Italy walk everywhere. That's just how they get around. Yes there are cars, mopeds and bicycles, but for the most part, point A to point B is on foot. I'm sure I logged about 20 miles over the time I was there. I'll wrap this up by asking how can a culture eat and drink like the Italians and not get fat while we Americans load up on many of the same foods and look like the Stay Puft marshmallow man? Is it walking? Could just moving a little more be the difference? Again, not scientific, but most I interacted with seemed in good health.
My question is, if Italians love their pizza, pasta, and bread what's in their way of life that keeps them slimmer than their American counterparts who also indulge in wheat in its various forms? If you need some hints there are plenty of comments at the end of the "Free the Animal" blog article.
My answer to the question is here.