Nutrition and Physical Degeneration: A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects
"Dr Price might well be called 'The Charles Darwin of Nutrition'." - The Laryngoscope, 1950.
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, a compendium of ancestral wisdom, is a ground-breaking work in nutrition. Price liberally included illustrations and wrote in non-technical language to make the book as accessible as possible.
Weston Price, a dentist with an interest in nutrition and health, travelled the globe, and observed the dietary habits of several diverse cultures, including the isolated Lötscher in Switzerland, Native Americans, Polynesians, Pygmies, and Australian Aboriginals. He observed that various diseases endemic to Western industrial societies of the 1920s and 1930s were rarely present in the indigenous populations he visited, but that as these groups abandoned their ancestral diet and adopted Western diets, they showed increases in typical Western diseases. He concluded that the modern Western diet, and, in particular, sugar, flour, and processed vegetable oils are responsible for these diseases and that Western methods of commercially preparing and storing foods stripped away vitamins and minerals necessary to prevent disease.
Initially, the medical and scientific communities vigorously rejected this controversial work as lacking scientific precision; nevertheless, research has confirmed his conclusions and modern medical orthodoxy is slowly accepting that lifestyle and diet are a major factor, perhaps the major factor, in the degenerative diseases that have beset the developed world. A plethora of health-promoting diets have sprung from his observations including Paleo, keto, primal blueprint and the ancestral diet movement. Many have credited this book with greatly improving their health.
Weston A. Price (1870 -1948) was a Canadian-born dentist. While practicing in the United States, he conducted research, developed new dental techniques and equipment and published research papers and a textbook. He soon came to believe that nutritional deficiencies are largely responsible for dental caries. To investigate this, he visited the isolated people of Lötschental in Switzerland in 1931. He saw that they had excellent teeth but, more than that, they enjoyed outstanding general health and vigour, and soon he was travelling the globe cataloguing indigenous people's diets and comparing the health of those who had maintained their ancestral diet and those who had starting consuming modern Western foods. He published this now famous work in 1939. Travelling the world, observing and recording, like Darwin, he made a revolutionary discovery that is slowly percolating into medical science.