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.
1. Iburg KM, Bronnum-Hansen H, Bjerregaard P. Health expectancy in Greenland. Scand J Public Health 2001;29(1):5-12. Choinere R. Mortality among the Baffin Inuit in the mid-80s. Arctive Med Res 1992;51 (2):87-93.


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Comments (4) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
KRITER - November 13, 2007 8:52 AM

Is thair any primitive people who eat vegan diet and how long do thay liv?

Gerry Pugliese - November 13, 2007 1:39 PM

Hey Kriter-

Honestly, I don't know, but the Okinawans are known centenarians and they eat a very vegetable-based diet.

But according to Dr. Fuhrman there is very little difference health-wise between a vegan and someone who eats very little animal products. The idea is vegetable-based, not necessarily vegan.


osagie irowa - April 16, 2008 5:01 AM

I agree with this info. Africans and west indians who tend to eat a diet high in animal fat rarely live past the age of 65. However, a diet high in fruit sugar is also not beneficial. It's about balance as always.

Matt R. - May 2, 2008 11:24 PM

For the Masai, there are other factors in their early deaths, namely development encroaching on their semi-arid grazing lands, poor supplies of clean water, lack of sanitation, non-existent medical care and high levels of waterborne disease. I don't know that more veggies would help in this case.

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