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  • Criticism on the Inuit diet

    The Primal Diet: Where It Goes Wrong

    Originally posted by Raw Food Health
    Pre-Western-Diet Eskimos Aged Early and Died Young

    Unfortunately, claims about the great health of Eskimos prior to the addition of processed foods are overstated. They are not the paragons of health meat-centric dieters want them to be.

    In his book, "Health Conditions and Disease Incidence Among The Eskimos of Labrador," Dr. Samel Hutton reported on the Inuit before the addition of western foods.

    He studied them personally from 1902 to 1913, and had access to the detailed birth and death records kept by missionaries from the previous century.

    Hutton said: "Old age sets in at fifty and its signs are strongly marked at sixty. In the years beyond sixty the Eskimo is aged and feeble. Comparatively few live beyond sixty and only a very few reach seventy. Those who live to such an age have spent a life of great activity, feeding on Eskimo foods and engaging in characteristically Eskimo pursuits."

    The more you study Eskimo culture, the more you realize it was never free from disease, and, in fact, people of the culture suffered from a number of disorders we associate with meat-centric diets today.

    The Eskimos were very familiar with constipation due to their low-fiber diet, and they created the spirit Matshishkapeu, the most powerful spirit in their mythology, to embody it. The spirit's name literally translates into "Fart Man." In Inuit stories, he is known to inflict painful cases of constipation upon people and other gods (7).

    Read why meat causes flatulence and constipation.
    *Link that leads to an explanation on how meat rots in your stomach because it lacks fiber and an alkaline digestion.

    It's hard to make concerete statements about the health of the prewestern food Eskimos because there is not all that much data on them. Most hunter gatherer tribes have little data available on them from before the 1970s, which makes the insistence of primal diet followers that Inuit were originally healthy so hard to verify. No one has found any great evidence pointing to their good health.

    Modern day Inuit still eat tons of meat, though, and it's taking a toll.

    For instance, in 1976, before the worst of the processed food crisis hit them, they consumed 2,000 mg of calcium a day from all the soft-bone fish they ate, a huge amount. All the same, they had (and still have) the highest hip-fracture rate in the world becuase they consume so much animal protein from fish (19).

    Fruits and vegetables are extremely rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium, along with other minerals needed for strong bones, but because they are alkaline and not acid like animal protein, they do not strip the bones of calcium to neutralize the acid (20-21).

    Most green vegetables have calcium absoption rates over 50 percent vs 32 percent for milk (22), but because animal food causes the body to excrete calcium in its urine, the difference is even greater.

    The more animal protein you eat, the weaker your bones become.
    This was written on a raw vegan's website and it goes more in depth on other tribes being superior to inuits. I don't necessarily believe the Inuit diet in particular is for everyone. But this has got to be the most BS I've seen.

    I think the most confounding statement was that meat accelerated aging when a diet lack of sufficient fatty acids is supposed to aid in tissue development?
    Where do these people get their sources from??
    Last edited by porcelain; 07-20-2011, 07:27 PM.

  • #2
    Yeah, that writeup actually has a few critical failures in logic in it. What do you expect though? It's a biased writeup from someone that doesn't mind playing fast and loose with facts to forward an agenda. Nothing new there though.

    Example: High hip fracture rate, logic failure: Attributed to diet and not environment/ culture activities required.

    After I saw the spelling of concrete though I wrote the whole thing off. The cool thing about the internet is that anyone can be an expert, and instantly get an audience.
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    • #3
      First, I love the arguement that meat is capable of rotting when dipped in the acid bath of our stomachs. God! They probably also argue that it takes a week for meat to digest. (idiots)

      And this belief that gas and flatulence is a sign of something bad in terms of digestion. What the heck do they think is going on in the intestine? (of course, obviously, for many Americans, nothing is actually happening in there thanks to antibiotics.)
      My primal journal that I don't update enough:
      http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread33293.html

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      • #4
        Yes, actually, gas is a bad sign. When I got rid of unsoaked oats, all my problems in that area happily disappeared. Fiber *is* the problem.
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        • #5
          Vegans are comical. Since they are vegans, they have to start with the conclusion (meat is bad/unhealthy) and work backwards.

          I'm watching a fuss unfold on another site where people can't deal with the suggestion that grains even MAY be unhealthy. They can't accept that as a possibility, so they scream about any fact or logical step in that direction, and these are people that supposedly pride themselves on how rational they are. It's pretty funny.

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          • #6
            Let's also be clear that the Inuit diet is fairly unique in that traditionally they lived in extremely harsh conditions above the tree line. As such they consumed practically no fruits or vegetables at all aside from lichens and whatever berries they could collect in season.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by porcelain View Post
              The Primal Diet: Where It Goes Wrong



              This was written on a raw vegan's website and it goes more in depth on other tribes being superior to inuits. I don't necessarily believe the Inuit diet in particular is for everyone. But this has got to be the most BS I've seen.

              I think the most confounding statement was that meat accelerated aging when a diet lack of sufficient fatty acids is supposed to aid in tissue development?
              Where do these people get their sources from??
              I'm not sure why anyone bothers with what vegans say: they're living in Cloud Cuckoo Land. Basically, they've anthropomorphised animals, so they don't want to think of their being killed, and making up all this rubbish about how a natural human diet is bad for you is just a way to try to shore up what they're doing. It's like saying the moon's made of green cheese.

              I knew the health of vegetarians was bad and that of vegans worse, and I was aware that Southern India, where vegetarianism is common has one of the shortest lifespans in the world, but I wasn't aware of just how poor these people's health was. However, I recently heard an old podcast with Lierre Keith, who now recommends a Paleo-type diet but who used to be a vegan. She spent 20 years saying this rubbish and eating this rubbish: she's damaged her insulin receptors, so that she has to eat every couple of hours; she's damaged her brain and nervous system; she damaged her thyroid; she's damaged her digestion, so that she has to take HCL; she didn't have a period for 20 years until she started eating normally again (caused by phyto-oestrogens in the soy); and God knows what else. This is permanent and irreversible damage. She says thyroid problems and arthritis in the joints are common among vegans as young as 25.

              Would you take dietary advice from these people? Would you pay any attention to what they say? It'd be like taking advice from a hedgehog on how to cross a motorway.

              I'd have been interested to read what this bloke Hutton—the missionary that was mentioned—wrote about the Eskimo he lived with at the turn of the century. But all this drivel, all this bogus information, bogus theories, and downright dishonesty that vegans are farting out about how a diet that's sustained people for millennia would't work just because they want to have it not work. It's a disease—a will to untruth.

              For a start, no, the Eskimo did not all get 2 grammes of calcium a day by chewing bones. The diet was not identical in different places at different times and in different seasons. Here's Stefansso, a properly qualified anthropologist, a scientist not a vegan nutcase with an agenda on the matter:

              It is written by many nutritionists and physiologists that Eskimos get the necessary calcium by chewing bones. Their celetons, as studied in our museums, indicate a plentiful alcium supply, and when I first heard that their calcium 'as derived from bone chewing it struck me as reasonable, 'here had certainly been in me no sign of calcium deficiency fter ten Arctic years, about half of which were exclusively n meat and the other half on a preponderance of meat. I could remember, thinking back, that I had chewed a Teat many bones. Now I worry somewhat, fearing I may ave given written adherence to the calcium-from-chewed-bones theory, but take some comfort in the fact that I have lot yet been able to discover this in my printed writings. For I realize now a flaw in the argument, serious if not fatal to it. On the basis of the preceding discussion of the differences n flavor and anatomical structure between seal and caribou bones, it can be stated simply and flatly that the man who chews a lot of bones in a caribou-hunting year will chew no bones at all in a sealing year.
              As for bone health, modern-day Eskimo do, apparently, have trouble with fractures. But then nowadays they eat rubbish like everyone else. Old-time Eskimo had sound skeletons. They had dozens of these in the Peabody Museum at Harvard. If they'd been abnormal ... well, don't you think a physical anthropologist or two would have noticed?

              As for Stefansson himself, people with cranky theories told him that eating lots of meat would dissolve his bones. However, after a year on an all-meat diet, his bone-density was a great as before he started. (However, his arthritis disappeared during that year, which is quite interesting.)

              I don't actually believe that there's any need to eat the massive amounts of protein that some Paleo dieters do. But then even people on all-meat diets didn't necessarily eat that much protein—it was mostly fat they ate (up to 80% of calories, more at times). A moderate amount of protein, say 15% to 20% of one's calorific intake is not going to do anything other than hugely benefit one's health ... and it certainly won't dissolve your bones. That's just self-serving mumbo-jumbo.
              Last edited by Lewis; 07-20-2011, 10:44 PM.

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              • #8
                I wonder if these guys are worried about meat rotting in their stomachs...


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                • #9
                  I wonder if that guy would have been able to keep up for 8 hours if he wasn't wearing shoes.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Lily Marie View Post
                    I wonder if that guy would have been able to keep up for 8 hours if he wasn't wearing shoes.
                    He probably put them on for a reason...

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                    • #11
                      I wouldn't care if they could prove Inuits aren't the healthiest people in the world. They are people making a life in a very inhospitable region and possibly they were eating a less than optimal diet despite making the best of what is available. So what? Doesn't mean grains are good for you or that we can live on fruit and veg! lol
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by js290 View Post
                        He probably put them on for a reason...
                        Yeah.. Can you imagine the thorns that could be on that ground? I tried going barefoot on my weekly walk, and soon discovered the one part is COVERED in thistles... Even in minimalist shoes, they get the sides of your feet.

                        As far as Eskimos go... they live in heavy snow all year round, there's barely any vegetation, and it's basically caribu or nothing. They can't exactly be picky. As for fractures... Hello.. Snow? Ice? Slippy? I'd like to see these vegans chase after a caribou and not fall over.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Horsewoman View Post
                          I wouldn't care if they could prove Inuits aren't the healthiest people in the world. They are people making a life in a very inhospitable region and possibly they were eating a less than optimal diet despite making the best of what is available. So what? Doesn't mean grains are good for you or that we can live on fruit and veg! lol
                          That's what I was gonna say - I'm not sure anyone of us is eating an eskimo-like diet, why claims about eskimo diets are useful beyond proving that you can live without carbs. They also burned seal oil lamps in their igloos all winter and the smoke apparently was pretty bad for their lungs. I have no idea why any of it is relevant to the Primal versus Vegan tribal showdown everyone seems to want, though.
                          If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/ and this (personal fave): http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

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                          • #14
                            This reply is getting OT - I'm going to try to keep it to just this one.

                            Originally posted by MamaGrok View Post
                            Yes, actually, gas is a bad sign. When I got rid of unsoaked oats, all my problems in that area happily disappeared. Fiber *is* the problem.
                            I would agree that painful bloating and intense levels of gas can be a sign of something wrong. The building up of gases in your intestine is painful as I'm guessing everyone here as experienced at some time or other. There are foods that I have found to not digest comfortably for me and I avoid and I think that's a reasonable approach in the modern world we live in.

                            But I can't figure out that if 'fiber is the problem' and Inuits are eating a fat and protein diet with little to no fiber - why they are suffering from bloating and flatulence? By your argument they shouldn't have gas problems.

                            Why do I think the Inuits had bloating problems? I'm guessing (and really it's a guess from this chair) that they suffered from constipation, which is not uncommon in high protein diets. (heck, Mark has written about it here so I don't think I'm shattering any myths). Of course, constipation prevents the gases from getting out which leads to ... painful bloating. Of course, I'm not volunteering to go off and live on an Inuit diet anytime soon to test this completely unscientific theory of mine - I'm rather fond of my modern primal lifestyle in the city.

                            Gas is essentially normal - perhaps a bit uncomfortable and occasionally embarrassing - but essentially it is a by-product of our digestive system. In contrast, a complete lack of gas is a sign of something wrong - a lack of gut flora which is, I think, generally considered to be due to antibiotics. As I understand it (and I'm not an expert so I could be missing something) fiber, dairy products and proteins all go through a fermentation process in your intestines that produces gas. Sometimes it's smelly - for example beans, broccoli and beef can contribute to strong smells. The smells are due to the gases created in the fermentation process and are not a sign of something bad. But most of the time gas is innocuous and most of us past gas several times a day without really thinking about it or smelling it. (again, I agree that digestive distress is a condition that needs review and is generally not normal)

                            What irritated me about the article was that it presented intestinal gas as evidence that there is something wrong with the Inuit diet particularly as I have a hard time believing that vegetarians don't has intestinal gas. Yup, meat ferments in your gut - so does broccoli and cabbage. It irritates me to see the same myths about eating meat again and again. I should probably learn to just let it slide.

                            I am curious, how do you eat vegetables if you consider fiber the problem? I'm sincerely interested and am not intending to be snarky. Do you avoid broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts and cauliflower? (and every other high fiber vegetable). Do they not cause problems for you?
                            My primal journal that I don't update enough:
                            http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread33293.html

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                            • #15
                              Vegans tend to live on fake food made from soy, so their brains have ceased to work properly. That's the only answer that can account for the insane lengths they go to to prove their diet is the one everyone--even those who can't get tofurkey and miso--is supposed to eat. As someone else has said on this site, drop 'em on a remote mountain top or desert island and watch how fast they go primal.
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