'Ye Olde Days of Dirt'.

Food production was extremely decentralized and everyone had unlimited access to cheap calories.  The reason we had less obesity in the modern era was because food production was urbanized and this led to a corresponding skyrocket increase of the price of food on the CPI index.  This is why rural people tend to have less obesity.  In addition to being active, I've been on many farms and not a single one had a wheat mill or any way to process food.  Likewise, If there wasn't such insane stigma towards obesity, chances are everyone in society would be massively obese (e.g. Fat Bastard http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat_Bastard_%28character%29).

There really isn't much stigma towards obesity in Mexico and Pakistan and adult males in those countries have a higher rate of obesity than many countries in Europe.  Religiosity can be a component towards obesity ("God / Allah loves me no matter what I am") but I don't wish to open that can of worms.

The information is all available on Wikipedia and Google.  Just some examples:


each monk was given an allowance of one gallon of beer per day. Monks consumed 6,000 calories/day on "normal" days, and 4,500 calories/day when fasting. As a consequence of these excesses, obesity was common among upper classes.[23] Monks especially frequently suffered from obesity-related conditions such as arthritis.

For example, sailors in 16th century England and Denmark received a ration of 1 imperial gallon (4.5 L) of beer per day. Polish peasants consumed up to 3 liters of beer per day.

Consuming 3 liters of beer.  :D Even if the average calorie requirement was 2,500-2,900, it seemed like peasants often drank that much just in beer alone.