Weston A. Price is a name not regularly spoken about in mainstream nutritional circles; however, much of his work has shaped the thinking of the ancestral health movement.
As a dentist and nutrition researcher, Price traveled around the world in the 1930s to study indigenous tribes and their diets. He sought to understand the reasons behind the deterioration of dental health and physical well-being that he observed in his patients. His findings were later published in his groundbreaking book "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration."
Price is revered in many corners of the world for his dedication to uncovering the adverse health outcomes of the western diet, particularly when compared with the diets of traditional cultures.
Price's research showed that the traditional diets of these cultures, which were rich in nutrient-dense foods such as organ meats, seafood, and fermented foods, were associated with excellent physical and dental health. He also found that these cultures had little to no occurrence of the chronic diseases that were becoming common in Western societies at the time, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Price collected data on the diets, health, and physical measurements of people from various cultures. He collected data on 14 isolated non-industrialized groups, including the Inuit, Swiss, Gaelic, and Polynesian peoples. He found that in all these groups, the people who ate traditional diets had excellent physical and dental health, with little to no incidence of chronic diseases.
Traditional diets of these cultures provided:
- At least 4x the water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C
- At least 10x the fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A and D, compared to the average American diet of his time
- At least 4x the minerals and at least ten times the enzymes compared to the standard American diet
Weston A. Price and the Inuits
One example Price outlined in his work was his findings on the Inuit diet. He found that the Inuit people had excellent physical and dental health despite living in a harsh environment with limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables. They relied heavily on animal-based foods such as fish, seal, and whale meat, as well as blubber, organs, and bone marrow.
He observed that the Inuit people had:
- Very low incidence of tooth decay
- They have good bone structure, even though they consume a diet high in fat and protein.
- Very low incidence of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes
- Low incidence of common Western diseases such as cancer and heart disease, despite consuming high amounts of fat and cholesterol from animal foods.
Price attributed the health of the Inuit people to the high nutrient density of their traditional diet, which was rich in nutrients such as vitamins A and D, omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals.
He also noted that conventional preparation methods such as fermentation, soaking, and drying helped increase their food's nutrient availability and digestibility.
Weston A. Price's work detailed the importance of nutrient-dense foods in maintaining good health and showed the detrimental effects of a diet high in refined and processed foods.
His research is still widely cited today, and his findings remain relevant in the modern context of nutrition and health.