Before, people were definitely less healthy, lived less and worse. Even the privileged strata of the population suffered from infection (some of which were closely related to food, the sanitary condition of which was poorly controlled), drafts and poorly heated, hygienic dwellings. Medicine used to not cope even with non-fatal diseases today, most simply did not survive until kcinogenesis.
Food, on the one hand, did not contain trans fats and toxic additives, on the other hand, it quickly deteriorated, besides, the fruits were smaller, animals gave less milk (selection with the development of biology made a very big leap).
At the same time, it can be assumed that the evolutionary forces in the human population were earlier more pronounced and all these difficulties selected the more tenacious. Those who did not die out even before birth in the womb, immediately after birth, in infancy and childhood, had every opportunity to overcome the difficulties of the pre-NTR civilization and live a long life by the standards of their contemporaries. And no one really considered those who did not pass the selection.
This is only half the truth. Some products were really simpler, cheaper and more natural. My mother, who worked in the Union at a cannery, confirms that tomato paste was really made only from tomatoes, applesauce was made from apples; without soy, stabilizers, preservatives (cherry juice quickly sour for this reason). GOSTs were respected (at least in part, since they stole always and everywhere). Now tomato paste from some manufacturers resembles a strange boiled mass, with a light tomato flavor and a lot of starch in its composition.
Although, if "earlier" means the 19th century and earlier, then the variety of products was much less, storage and preservation technologies were not so developed. Now even a low-income person can buy fresh fruits (including exotic ones) all year round. Several centuries ago, even wealthy families did not have such an opportunity. Fruits and vegetables could be really tastier (since traditional "wild" varieties were used, but smaller, low-yielding and susceptible to diseases and pests).
Similarly, with health: some modern diseases people, may not have suffered, but there were no cures for many other diseases. Medicine is now more advanced than ever before. Now people can live with serious illnesses, taking the necessary drugs, for a very long time, whereas before such people died early. That is why, for the most part, people may have been healthier, and not because "they ate carrots and did not sit at the computer".
For me, everything was of better quality before. The chemical industry does not stand still and a lot of substitutes for everything and everyone are being developed. Today's society is a society of consumers, and if there is demand, then there will be supply. Now there are a lot of people on the planet and everyone needs food, but how can she provide for everyone? Products don't come out of nowhere, here's the chemical. The industry is looking for ways to accelerate growth, replace the product with a cheaper one. Quality is now little cared for in the pursuit of profit. Mark my words, this whole orgy will come back to haunt us.