Nutrition and Physical Degeneration

Title: Nutrition and Physical Degeneration
Author: Weston Price, DDS
Publisher: Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation
Publication date: 2009
Pages: 528
Special features: Many photos
Price: $26.55
ISBN: 978-0916764203
Rating:  ♂ ♂ ♂ ♂ ♂

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration is one of the most important books on human nutrition ever published. It is to my knowledge the only book of its kind. Everyone who wants to understand why modern people have so many diseases, disorders and deformities needs to read this book.

In the early 20th century, the high number of Americans suffering from tooth decay (known as caries), crooked and crowded teeth, and deformities of the palate and face disturbed an American dentist, Dr. Weston Price. He noticed that many people with dental and facial deformities also suffered from other medical conditions, reduced or retarded intelligence, or moral delinquency.
   
He decided to discover the cause for the prevalence and severity of dental, general, and social disease in America. He knew that he needed to study healthy people unaffected by the same disorders, to determine causal factors.

Unable to find any Americans unaffected by dental disease, Dr. Price resolved to study native groups that explorers, anthropologists, and frontier physicians had reported to live free of dental decay. Price set and his wife set off on an epic journey to visit these few remaining traditional tribes before they succumbed to modernization. He financed this field research himself. He happened to live at a time when many of these native peoples were still living in isolation from modern influences, and travel to these tribes was relatively inexpensive although time-consuming.

Unable to find any Americans unaffected by dental disease, Dr. Price resolved to study native groups that explorers, anthropologists, and frontier physicians had reported to live free of dental decay. Price set and his wife set off on an epic journey to visit these few remaining traditional tribes before they succumbed to modernization. He financed this field research himself. He happened to live at a time when many of these native peoples were still living in isolation from modern influences, and travel to these tribes was relatively inexpensive although time-consuming.

He and his wife visited Swiss in isolated mountain villages, Gaelics in the Outer Hebrides, Eskimos, Indians of North and South America, Melanesians and Polynesians, many African tribes, Australian Aborigines, and New Zealand Maori. Dr. Price took thousands of photographs of people eating primitive diets, and of people of the same genetic stock who had switched to modern diets. He also recorded what they ate and analyzed many of their foods.

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration Is A Landmark Work

In 1936, Dr. Price published his findings in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.  He included hundreds of photographs of both healthy natives who remained on their traditional diets and unhealthy co-ethnics who had adopted modernized deficient diets consisting largely of commercial carbohydrates (various products composed of white flour and/or sugar).
   
Price examined many mouths looking for dental disorders and spoke with frontier physicians familiar with the natives’ general health. He found numerous people isolated from modern influences that had handsome faces, straight, decay-free teeth, and robust physiques. They also had a high resistance to both infections and degenerative disease, and fine moral characters.

In Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Price reported finding the lowest rates of caries among the most carnivorous tribes. Some of these tribes had no tooth decay, and none had a rate greater than 1 percent. Herding tribes such as the Masai living largely on milk and meat from pastured animals had caries rates similar to hunter-fisher-gatherers. Rates were higher among people involved in primitive grain farming, especially in places in Africa where animal foods were scarce and the diet was primarily composed of cereals, beans, sweet potatoes, and bananas.

Although these horticultural people had low rates of caries compared to modernized peoples of the same races, who had epidemic rates of dental disease, the vast differences in dental health between the plant-based and animal-based tribes are remarkable:

  • In tribes living entirely or largely by fishing, hunting, and gathering wild game, with little or no plant foods, less than one-half percent of teeth were attacked by decay. That means 1 tooth in 200, or about 1 person in 60, had tooth decay.
  • Among pastoral people living more or less entirely on the milk and meat of domesticated animals – primarily cattle –  with no grains and little or no plant foods, the rate of caries was again about one-half percent.
  • Gaelics eating oats with fish had a dental decay rate 120 times that of the Maori fisher-hunter-gatherers who ate no grains. Modernized people had rates up to 58 times higher than the primitive Gaelics.
  • The Loetschental Valley Swiss living on milk products, whole rye bread, vegetables, and fruits had a rate 460 times that of the Maori. Modernized people had rates 15 times that of the isolated Swiss.
  • The dental decay rate of the largely vegetarian Kikuyu was 550 times that of the Maori, but even the Kikuyu had teeth immensely better than modernized people, who have decay rates up to 13 times higher than the Kikuyu. 

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration Confirmed

Recent research has confirmed the thesis of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Ancient humans who lived by hunting had excellent dental health but when they adopted plant-based diets they suffered severe dental decay. Pleistocene hunter-gatherers in North Africa who relied on starchy wild plants had dental caries rates similar to civilized people (about 50% of teeth suffering from decay).1 Mesolithic hunters living on a meat-based, grain-free diet had virtually no cavities nor gum disease-associated bacteria, but caries and periodontal disease increased dramatically when people adopted starchy agricultural diets and even more upon the adoption of diets rich in refined carbohydrates following the industrial revolution.2 People who eat a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet have a high risk of periodontal disease, while people who eat a high fat diet have a low risk of the disease.3

Apparently Nature designed our teeth for an animal-based diet. We simply do not have the dental tolerance for plant foods had by other primates. As Price noted in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, dental decay provides an early alarm warning from Nature that we have adopted a diet forbidden to us by Nature.

A diet that harms the teeth can not benefit the body. Without good dentition, in the absence of modern corrective dentistry one becomes unattractive and can’t chew well, which in turn leads to malnutrition and poor reproduction. Corrective dentistry illustrates the stupidity of our ‘intelligence’ because it silences Nature’s alarm, enabling people to continue to eat harmful foods and cause themselves further, deeper suffering. Extensive evidence has accumulated proving that high carbohydrate – that is, plant-based – diets harm the teeth and the body.4

This is not commonly known because compromised authorities who work for carbohydrate industries put a lot of effort into trying to convince the public that humans need dietary carbohydrate (that's a lie) and a plant-based diet.  For example, the highly profitable sugar industry and its allies succeeded in getting 'authorities' to cover up evidence that eating sugar promotes heart disease.5

Through his research, Weston Price ascertained that fat-soluble vitamins present in animal fats play very important roles in dental, skeletal, and general health. He found that groups immune to dental decay, crooked teeth, and other oral disorders ate diets high in animal-source vitamins A, D and another substance he identified as ‘activator X’ which we now know as vitamin K2, whereas groups having poor dental and skeletal health ate diets lacking these vitamins. Collectively these vitamins fortify innate immunity and regulate the utilization or minerals and development of bones and teeth.

I highly recommend that everyone interested in optimal nutrition read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration with an discerning mind.

Notes

1. Humphrey LT, De Groote I, Morales J, et al. Earliest evidence for caries and exploitation of starchy plant foods in Pleistocene hunter-gatherers from Morocco. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2014;111(3):954-959. doi:10.1073/pnas.1318176111.

2. Adler CJ, Dobney K, Weyrich LS, et al.. Sequencing ancient calcified dental plaque shows changes in oral microbiota with dietary shifts of the Neolithic and Industrial revolutions. Nature Genetics 2013 April;45(4):450-55.

3. Hamasaki T, Kitamura M, Kawashita Y, Ando Y, Saito T. Periodontal disease and percentage of calories from fat using national data. J Periodontal Res. 2017 Feb;52(1):114-121. doi: 10.1111/jre.12375. Epub 2016 Mar 29. PubMed PMID:27028150.

4. University of Washington. "Diets Bad For The Teeth Are Also Bad For The Body." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090709170807.htm>.

5. Kearns CE, Schmidt LA, Glantz SA. Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease ResearchA Historical Analysis of Internal Industry Documents. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(11):1680–1685. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.5394 <https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2548255?redirect=true>

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