You might not have heard of him, but in my opinion, the discoveries of Weston A. Price, DDS (1870-1948) are some of the most valuable and ridiculously simple health and nutrition discoveries ever.
I believe that if his work would have received more recognition, become main stream enough to influence policies, education and food manufacturing decisions, we wouldn’t have as many cases of the chronic degenerative diseases we do today. If it were up to me, every doctor and dentist would be required to learn about the work of Dr. Price.
During his career, Dr. Price noticed an increase in cavities and in mouths that were too small to fit all the teeth. He wanted to find a cause of this degeneration. Although he tried, he wasn’t able to find a cause by studying the people who suffered from these things. He came to believe that these problems weren’t caused by something present in these people, it was something they were lacking.
He decided he needed to find people who were healthy and lacking these problems to use as a control group. He wanted to find out what these healthy people had that the affected people didn’t.
When he retired, he and his wife spent 10 years traveling around the world studying the health of isolated people who were still eating their traditional diets. The people he studied included Swiss, Gaels, North American Indians, Polynesians, Aborigines, Africans, Maori, Peruvian Indians and Melanesians. He took samples of their food and analyzed the chemical and nutritional content.
He studied the the health of the same groups of people that had abandoned their traditional ways of eating for a modernized diet full of white sugar, refined flours and canned vegetables, among other things.
What he discovered was that the people who ate their traditional diets were generally strong with robust health, had straight, mostly cavity free teeth and mouths big enough to fit all their teeth. They lacked physical deformities and mental problems. It had been this way generation after generation.
He discovered that the people who had switched to modernized foods had poorer health, and more cavities. They were more susceptible to sickness and disease. Their children had narrower mouths that didn’t fit all of their teeth, which were more crooked. They had more physical deformities and degeneration. Often physical degeneration was worse in the younger siblings than the older and it was getting worse with each generation.
The traditional diets varied greatly based on what was available locally. Some people ate mostly hunted meat, some fish and oats, and others rye and dairy. What was similar, is that all diets were made up of nutrient dense whole foods. By analyzing the nutritional content of the diets, he discovered that traditional diets were many times higher in nutrients than the modern diets. Traditional diets were also higher in nutrients than our diets today!
Dr. Price wrote about his travels and discoveries in his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, published in 1939. Here’s a few things from the book I thought were especially interesting....
In an isolated community of 2000, in the Loetschental Valley in Switzerland, there wasn’t one dentist, doctor, policeman or jail because they didn’t need them. At that time tuberculosis was the most serious disease in Switzerland, but not one person in the community had it when inspected.
The isolated North American Indian people he studied didn’t suffer from arthritis, but the modernized North American Indians had many cases, even bed ridden cripples.
Isolated Africans in Kenya didn’t suffer from appendicitis, gallbladder trouble, cystitis or duodenal ulcers. In six tribes, they didn’t find one person with tooth decay. In thirteen tribes, they didn’t find one person with irregular teeth. The modernized Africans suffered from all of these.
By reading his book and seeing the pictures of the people he studied, it becomes abundantly clear that health suffers when you eat refined foods instead of whole nutrient dense foods.
Health begins with whole foods. The good news is, it’s not too late to change! Every bite you take is a new opportunity to support you health. If you’d like help eating more whole foods and less processed foods I’d love to work with you.