We talk a lot about the Middle Ages in this project, so let’s take the Middle Ages as a baseline. What was the life expectancy back then? It depends on the region, but roughly speaking, it was probably somewhere between 30 and 40 years old. If the effect of high mortality rate for children is not considered, it could have been 50 or 60 years old. Indeed, the record shows one of the prominent Japanese Buddhist leaders, Shinran, lived to be 89 years old, in the 12th to 13th century.
The nutrition level improved drastically since the Middle Ages, and today our life expectancy is somewhere near 80 years old, in most developed countries. That is almost three times longer than that of Middle Ages. Then how much more nutrients are we consuming to achieve this level? Three times more? 10 times more? Or 50 times more?
If you are talking about sugar (a major source of carbohydrates that gives our body energy), it’s probably more than 450 times more, according to the project “You are What You Ate,” run by various researchers.
450 times more! It is mind boggling.
Do we need this much sugar in order for our body to function best, when our body hasn’t changed much since the Middle Ages? Is 450 times more sugar “delicious,” rather than too much? AISSY, a Japanese food consulting firm measured sugar content in our sweets.