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Paleo Diet and economic evolution: from Weston Price to our days

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created July 24, 2011 at 10:54 PM

In my humble opinion Weston Price was the first researcher to gather a systematic set of Paleo-ish evidence on how societies'development, through diet, affected human health. His brilliant "Nutrition and Physical degeneration" first published in the 1930s provided enormous evidence on how the consumption of "modern foods" such as refined flour and sugar were systematically destroying the health standards of native tribes in the Americas, Asia, Africa plus isolated parts of Europe. Though W. Price was not strictly "paleo" in our modern sense (he did not have any problem with grains that were unrefined) he was, as far as I know the first one for a very long time providing support for many of the same observations on diet, evolution and health that our Paleo community has. I would like to know whether you are aware of other prominent scientists that in the first part of the twentieth century were connecting the diet of populations to their degrees of economic development and health standards. Also I think it is very important to recognise that even the name Paleo comes from comparing different degrees of human evolution, which makes talking about different cultures a necessity in order to analyse diet improvements.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 05, 2013
at 04:34 PM

From what I've seen around here, the native population has recovered quite nicely. First encounters with non-natives (mostly European, some Asiatic) resulted in horrific epidemics which decimated the population. No longer. Adaptation has taken 6-8 generations. For me that's proof that Darwin was right. Selection is rapid, whether humans, animals or plants. Species either adapt in short time frames or they go extinct.

6869a1f2294b3a717a53645589a91d18

(1689)

on July 25, 2011
at 12:16 AM

Has anybody blogged about this/summarized his findings?

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3 Answers

3
6869a1f2294b3a717a53645589a91d18

(1689)

on July 25, 2011
at 12:06 AM

[1939] Tristan da Cunha??? no bread or other cereal to eat; all the infants were breast-fed for long periods, and the main articles of diet were milk, mutton, fish, eggs and potatoes??? http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC537258/pdf/canmedaj00205-0063.pdf

[~1930s]Pre-European Bantu had slight incidence of cavities. Those adopting European living showed ???an alarming increase of caries which approaches or equals the tremendous incidence among Europeans of the present day???. The authors concluded dental decay (in these instances) was caused by either bread, corn, or sugar. http://jdr.sagepub.com/content/16/6/545.full.pdf+html

Stefansson, an arctic explorer of the 1900's, and other early explorers described the perils of too much lean meat consumption, an important consideration in the carbohydrate-scarce environment of the arctic http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/25268

[1841] ???The expedition considered the people living there to be healthy and handsome??? They all appeared to be thriving on their 'meager diet' of fish and coconut, for no evidence of cultivation was seen??? People of both sexes were tattooed with geometric designs and figures of turtles and fish. The numerous reports and journals of the Expedition leave the impression of a generally admirable people - amiable (though cautious), peaceful, orderly, and resourceful." http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/01/tokelau-island-migrant-study-background.html

I think http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com also talks more about some older nutrition researchers, generally.

2
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on July 24, 2011
at 11:58 PM

Dr. William Albrecht. Fascinating research, totally ignored. A real unsung hero.

6869a1f2294b3a717a53645589a91d18

(1689)

on July 25, 2011
at 12:16 AM

Has anybody blogged about this/summarized his findings?

0
F48ee481fc1cde7d4e3bd3808f57ffca

on August 05, 2013
at 02:01 PM

William Banting lived in the 1800's and started the "Banting Diet". It was basically eating like a carnivore with very little in carbs. A word was even used back then, "banting" meant going on such a diet and was in fairly common usage. It is important to note, though, that now we know that their meats/animal foods were not massively grain fed as yet back then. So, the resulting Omega 6/Omega 3 fatty acid ratio was fine. Nowadays, older people will likely develop heart disease and other maladies unless their "banting" is only wild caught animals or purely grass/pastured meats. See more at Evolution Diet.

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