Monday, September 21, 2015

How Much Do You Know About Weston Price?

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr. Weston Price
There is much talk on the internet and in society about Weston Price and his teachings. A while back, a friend told me about Dr. Price and I checked out a book from the library that cited his work repeatedly. From that book, and from what I read on blogs, I got a certain mental image of what Dr. Weston Price taught. But, I wanted to see for myself. I did an internet search for his book (it is old enough to be public domain and therefore free online Nutrition and Physical Degeneration) and read extensively the actual writings of this man. Here are some questions to see how well you know this important figure:

Please answer the following True or False:

1. Dr. Price did studies on traditional people groups to determine the overall health effects of their diets on their health.

2. Dr. Price found that the groups he studied had in common that they consumed bone broth.

3. Dr. Price discovered that the groups he studied had in common that they ate fermented food.

4. Dr. Price discovered that the groups he studied had in common that they soaked their grains.

5. Dr. Price advocated the consumption of animal foods such as organ meats.

6. Dr. Price researched and discovered that the women in the cultures he studied had few fertility problems.

7. Dr. Price discovered that people with traditional diets enjoyed greater longevity.

8. Dr. Price compared vegetarian diets with animal food based diets.

Ready to check your answers?











ALL of the above answers are False. Surprised?

1. False. Dr. Price was a dentist. The only health issue he studied in detail was dental health. He also took a long look at tuberculosis transmission rates between those living in crowded urban settings and those living in open air with lots of sunshine. He did not do a comprehensive study of health in general, although he occasionally would make a tourist-type observation about general health, for instance, that he noted that he saw a woman in her sixties that seemed very strong.

Dr. Price's Research Focused on Dental Health

2. False. Many of the groups in his book did not consume bone broth. In fact, some of them did not consume the food of animals that had bones, but lived only on vegetables and shellfish.

3. False. Many of the groups in his book did not eat fermented food.

4. False. Many of the groups in his book did not soak their grains, in fact, some of them did not even have regular access to grains - others consumed lots of grains.

5. False. Dr. Price actually advocated an Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian diet in a letter to his own nieces & nephews. He observed many traditional groups and recorded their diets, but did not advocate eating exactly as they ate. For instance, the Masai of Africa consumed a substantial amount of fresh blood from living cattle. Dr. Price recorded this, and recorded the good dental health of the Masai who consumed this diet, but did not advocate or denounce it. (unfortunately, the actual letter in which Dr. Price advocated vegetarianism  is at this site, The Price Pottenger Foundation, but requires a "membership" for access. There are many summaries and excerpts of the letter available at other sites, such as this one written from a vegetarian perspective, Or this one, written from another perspective . Unfortunately, I cannot find a copy of the letter alone without editorial comment for free)

6. False. Dr. Price did not study fertility rates. He did occasionally make an anecdotal observation. For instance, he spoke with one doctor who treated one tribe. That doctor offered the undocumented and unresearched offhand opinion that fertility issues seemed to have been better before his arrival. But, Dr. Price only offered these third party observations anecdotally, he did not do studies on fertility.

7. False. Dr. Price did not do his research on longevity rates.

8. False. Dr. Price's work involved examining the teeth of those on traditional tribal diets with those on a "modern" diet high in refined grains and sugars. Some of the traditional tribal diets has lots of animal food, and some contained a very high percentage of vegetarian foods. The traditional diets were all whole foods diets, and the modern diets were all high in refined foods.

Dr. Price Focused on Dental Health - Comparing Whole Foods & Refined Food Diets
I would encourage everyone to read the actual work of Dr. Price - it IS fascinating! But, whenever a third party cites the work of anyone - especially without the endorsement of the person being referenced - I would encourage readers to check the original author's work.

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  1. I was recently able to borrow Weston Price's book to read from a friend during the summer. I found the section on the people of the Scottish Hebrides islands particularly enjoyable, as that is where I live. Interesting to hear your perspective :-)

    1. I found that part interesting, too! My Grandmother's family were from Scotland, so we've got a bit of a personal connection there, too.

      I loved your post today on how you became a Christian. I must have been reading your post about when you were reading mine! : )

  2. My familiarity with Dr Price's work is via the book Nourishing Traditions and through the Price foundation website. I think there is a lot to take away from those works just as there is much to take away from the work of Drs Campbell and Esselstyn... mainly, eat whole foods. Thanks for taking the time to research and share with the rest of us.

  3. Thank you for this thoughtful perspective on Weston A. Price, as it's always really important to understand the scope of his research. I definitely agree that his book is fascinating :D

  4. Hi Anna, I did not know a thing about Weston Price. This is insightful! Learnt a lot dropping by here.
    Thank you for the wealth of information you have shared.
    Blessings to you Anna

  5. Interesting post... I knew he was a dentist who was surprised by what he found or didn't find in his investigations... but I sure answered wrong on a lot of your questions. Thank you for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays. It is always best to go back to the original source...


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