Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chapter 5: Isolated and Modernized Eskimos

Continuing my review of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price...

In my last post from Chapter 4, I asked a question at the end, basically: Is there a safe level of modern, processed foods? Interestingly, Chapter 5 begins to answer that question for me. In this chapter Price talks about basically 3 kinds of diets in Alaska at the time he visited:

1) fully native (primitive) food
2) partly native food, partly modern
3) fully modern

It would seem to me, initially, that partly on 'store grub' and partly on native food might provide the benefits of both, but it seems that there aren't any benefits to 'store grub' and that the protection that native food might provide can be erased by a partial 'store grub' diet.

The fully native diet, which consists of almost nothing other than fish and seal (fish dipped in seal fat!), produced cavities in populations he studied like 0.1%, 0.3%, 0% .009%, while the partial diet showed a much higher rate of cavities: 11.6%, 21.2%, 16%, 6.3%. Those on a fully modern diet had a still higher rate above 30% cavities. So it seems that there is a significant difference in the outcome of the three diets. From his comments we can learn that it is not only cavities, but the total health outcome of the three diets is different, also.

 Here he partially describes the health produced by the primitive diet:
One does not get a conception of the magnificent dental development of the more primitive Eskimos simply by learning that they have freedom from dental caries. The size and strength of the mandible, the breadth of the face and the strength of the muscles of mastication all reach a degree of excellence that is seldom seen in other races. p.60
One is continually impressed with the magnificent health of the child life which is illustrated in Fig. 10. In our various contacts with them we never heard an Eskimo child crying except when hungry, or frightened by the presence of strangers. ... I was told that the children of the Eskimos have no difficulties with the cutting of their teeth. p.61
Price tells of one woman who had given birth to 26 children - and yet had no sign of tooth decay. Are we impressed by the excellent health of the people around us? What does that mean about our diet?

Price describes the diet of the Eskimos he visited as sea foods, stored greens and berries and plants from the sea. All the nutrients they needed to grow and maintain excellent healthful bodies was contained in those foods. Today we are told to eat "a variety of foods". Apparently that isn't required!?! (He seems to make the case for a very limited set of foods in each chapter.)

So I'm not sure I like where the answer to my question is going, but I must accept it nonetheless.

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