Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Inuit Diet - Atkins Revisited

This is taken from the archives of the Healthfraud Discussion List for Sept. 2004

[18] Re: Inuit Diet - Atkins Revisited

The discussion starts here.

My entry

Inuit Diet - Atkins Revisited

Having lived in Greenland for 2½ years, I had a chance to observe the dietary habits of many Eskimos there. Most live pretty unhealthily, eating loads of sugar, extremely strong coffee, smoking excessively, and absolutely no "stop" button when it comes to alcohol. Few in the cities eat in a traditional way, although some of their diet does include traditional food items like fish, seal and reindeer, as well as grouse and various waterfowl.

Some of the older Eskimos (my wife worked as a PT in one of the retirement homes) ate more traditionally quite often: whale blubber, seal meat, raw reindeer stomach with contents, raw grouse innards (including intestines and their content......), half rotten fish, etc. Occasionally some would get very sick from eating spoiled meat.

The amount of fat and meat protein in the diet is generally quite high, and this includes non-Eskimos. We ate huge amounts of meat while living there. Much more than would be possible in more southerly climates.

When on 4-5 day long reindeer hunts, we ate large quantities of high calorie foods, including plenty of candy bars. In fact I had a little tradition. Every time I had shot a reindeer and had gotten it ready to carry and had washed my hands, I sat down and ate a Snickers while enjoying the fantastic scenery. Watching sparrows and ravens dive bombing and chasing huge white-tailed sea eagles away from the area was a common sight. Falcons were also a frequent sight.

We simply burned up all those calories while hiking around in the hills and mountains.

I believe that the lower average temperature is an important factor to keep in mind when evaluating the ancient Eskimo diet. Failing to take that into account should nullify the results of such research. One cannot properly judge a lifestyle and diet without taking into account the natural setting.

We simply metabolized all that meat and fat without gaining weight. Eating that way here in Denmark would be a sure ticket to a quick heart attack.