Scientists have discovered that, contrary to their self-portrayal as lithe, effeminate demigods, the Ancient Egyptians were, indeed, a nation of fat people.
From studying the walls of temples and the mummified innards of Ancient Egyptians themselves, researchers have been able to piece together the typical diet of the Egyptian ruling class. Containing levels of saturated fat, salt and alcohol that would cause even a Scotsman to recoil in disgust, scientists have described such consumption as an early equivalent of “junk food”.
According to Professor Rosalie David, from the University of Manchester’s Faculty of Life Sciences, “It shows that blocked arteries caused by rich diets are not just a modern malaise – the problem goes back to ancient civilizations.”
The effects were so serious that a scan conducted at the University of Manchester of 16 mummies of high social rank revealed that nine had evidence of calcification of the heart or arteries.
Typical super-sized meals for priest containing wild fowl, beef, cake, wine, beer and a high calorie bread fortified with fat, milk and eggs, would be consumed three times a day, and should there be any leftovers from ceremonial offerings these would be brought back for the rest of the family to devour.
Egyptians also had a particular predilection for goose, which contains 63 percent of energy from fat, 20 percent saturated. Considering the recommended daily intake of fat by contemporary doctors stands at no more the 30 percent – seven percent of it saturated – it is no wonder that the life expectancy of your average priest would be little over forty years.
Salt, regularly used as a preservative, was also digested in high levels, while alcohol intake would have exceeded the recommended limits of today; proving that the Egyptians liked nothing better than a few swift pints after a hard days’ pyramid building.