Fanciful Folklore Is No Match For Modern Science

The Weston A. Price web site states that “people with high cholesterol live the longest,” and that it is a myth that “for good health, serum cholesterol should be less 180 mg/dl,” adding, “There is no greater risk for heart disease, even at levels as high as 1,000 mg/dl.” This doesn’t jive with every respected scientific authority in the world and is utterly ridiculous in light of thousands of respectable studies.

WAPF correctly points out that processed foods, sugar, corn syrup, and white flour are harmful, but nutritional deficiencies caused by “junk foods” are not remedied by a diet high in meat and butter, animal products that are devoid of plant-derived phytonutrients, which promote health and slow the “aging” process. By contrast, the saturated fat in meat and butter raises cholesterol and is one of the significant causes of heart disease.

Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, is a smorgasbord of woefully outdated and potentially dangerous advice. For example, “If you cannot get your family to eat organ meats when served as such, there are plenty of ways to add them to their food without their knowledge…Poached brains can be chopped up and added to any ground meat dish, as can grated raw liver.” Even if it were not so clearly known that animal products in general need to be strictly limited in the diet, common sense should tell us not to eat the brains of animals in light of what is know about Mad Cow disease and its human equivalent, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Nourishing Traditions
is full of bad science and illogical reasoning and its appeal is dependent on people’s ignorance about nutrition. Fallon and Enig perpetuate long-held nutritional myths by referencing the same people who started the myths in the first place.

Nutrition is a complicated subject, and it takes familiarity with a comprehensive body of scientific studies and articles to devise recommendations to prevent disease and promote longevity. Science is not perfect, but evidence builds on prior studies, and ongoing research attempts to test each hypothesis and check validity in an unbiased manner. Today, we have a comprehensive body of knowledge with over 15,000 articles written since the 1950s documenting the link between a diet high in saturated fat and low in fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and beans and the increased risk of cancer and heart disease.

While Nourishing Traditions has over 200 references, many are antiquated, with poor observations. For the most part, the authors reference their own articles and those of other Weston A. Price Foundation authors. Only fourteen of the references are from peer-reviewed journals published in the last ten years, and for most of those fourteen, the authors misrepresented what was stated in the articles. By contrast, my book Eat to Live contains over 1,000 medical references to peer-reviewed medical journals.

Do Primitive Peoples Really Live Longer?

No. For example, Inuit Greenlanders, who historically have had limited access to fruits and vegetables, have the worst longevity statistics in North America. Research from the past and present shows that they die on the average about 10 years younger and have a higher rate of cancer than the overall Canadian population.1

Similar statistics are available for the high meat-consuming Maasai in Kenya. They eat a diet high in wild hunted meats and have the worst life expectancy in the modern world. Life expectancy is 45 years for women and 42 years for men. African researchers report that, historically, Maasai rarely lived beyond age 60. Adult mortality figures on the Kenyan Maasai show that they have a 50% chance of dying before the age of 59.2

We now know that greatly increasing the consumption of vegetables, legumes, fruits, and raw nuts and seeds (and greatly decreasing the consumption of animal products) offers profound increased longevity potential, due in large part to broad symphony of life-extending phytochemical nutrients that a vegetable-based diet contains. By taking advantage of the year-round availability of high-quality plant foods, we have a unique opportunity to live both healthier and longer than ever before in human history.

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