What Did People Eat During the Victorian Era?


Quick Answer

During the Victorian era, the working class ate a plant-heavy diet rich in nutrients, minerals and fiber. Oily fish and seafood were common among all classes, while poorer Victorians often made cheap and tasty dishes from offal.

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Full Answer

The Victorians ate large amounts of potatoes and other root vegetables with high glycemic loads, which have been linked with diabetes and obesity. However, the Victorians were active in their daily lives, offsetting the worst of the negative health effects.

Although popular conception of the Victorian era paints it as squalid and full of disease, history points out that the Victorians were almost free of degenerative diseases common in the modern world and lived almost as long as people in the 21st century. Their health is attributed to their diet, which mimics the Mediterranean diet that in 2014 was touted as one of the healthiest in the world.

The Agricultural Revolution cheapened the price of food, but as the Industrial Revolution continued, flour was milled and refined more efficiently and the railway allowed for transportation of unhealthy canned meats and other goods that negatively impacted people's overall health. Sugar consumption rose, destroying people's teeth to such an extent that it was noted people were unable to chew fruits and vegetables.

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