Pass me some whale please, darling.
The traditional Inuit diet consists of marine mammal plus or minus fish. No bread, no potatoes not even some Brussels Sprouts. Liver, of course, has some glycogen but all the same it’s a very low carb high fat diet. For just a couple of months a year they could add some berries, grasses, tubers, roots, stems and seaweed. It was for a lifetime and it kept them very well. Heart disease and diabetes were uncommon.
Arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson was impressed with the diet and subsequently wrote …
In 1906 I went to the Arctic with the food tastes and beliefs of the average American. By 1918, after eleven years living as an Eskimo among Eskimos, I had learned things which caused me to shed most of those beliefs …
… At the beginning of our northern work in 1906 it was the accepted view among doctors and dietitians that man cannot live on meat alone. They believed specifically that a group of serious diseases were either caused directly by meat or preventable only by vegetables. Stefansson.
His views on the diet were largely dismissed, even the notion that he had actually survived on it. The prevailing view was “… you are likelier to meet a thousand liars than one miracle.”
He proved his point when he and a colleague took up supervised residence at New York’s Bellevue hospital and resumed the diet. Subsequent medical examination pronounced him healthy.
There is another experiment going on. The standard American diet has found its way into the modern Inuit communities. There are now few eating a traditional Inuit diet but Sheehy and others have compared some that remain more traditional with others that are getting more carbs. They conclude that
Consumption of traditional foods is associated with greater diet quality and dietary adequacy.
Heart disease, diabetes and dental caries are on the rise for the Inuit.
We have so thoroughly learned that fat is bad that othodoxy still can’t believe “the miracle”.
And yet despite the fact that the high-fat Arctic diet may sound like a heart attack waiting to happen, the Inuit tend to have low rates of heart disease and diabetes.
That’s from The Salt discussing the role genetics may play in this amazing feat. It would be surprising if genetics had no role in adapting the Inuit to their environment but more importantly that little quote reveals the bias of the orthodox mindset. Instead of seeing this as yet more evidence of the benefits of a low carb high fat diet they are looking for the catch. They are warning us off the keto diet rather than warning the Inuit off the SAD diet.
Who are you gonna believe the dietary guidelines or your lying eyes?