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From: Steve Harris <>
Subject: Re: how the INUIT *really* eat
Date: 25 Jun 2005 13:01:14 -0700
Message-ID: <>

>>More aptly titled: "How The Canadian Diabetes Assn. is Promoting
Diabetes and CVD in the Previously Healthy Inuit."
Note the quotes about all the fat the Inuit ate when they stayed
healthy. <<


Not quite fair. There are three historical periods here, and the Inuit
experience one neatly parallels the experience of the Pima indians of
Arizona.  The periods are:

1) Natives on Native hunter gatherer diet = health. Few saturated fats
and no alcohol. Calories are hard to come by.
2) Natives lose local hunter gather diet, get put on reservations, buy
Crisco and potato chips and alcohol, and start getting obese, getting
diabetes, and dying like flies.
3) Government is horrified, tries to convert natives to pasta food
pyramid and Mediterranean diet with tropical fruit and light salads.

4) Period 4 is failure. But I'm not sure this is the government's fault
in either Canada or the US. Afterall, it hasn't worked on the
non-aboriginal populations, either. European transplants to N. America
are simply *slightly* more reistant to the bad effects of lots of
calories, saturated fats and alcohol than the Indians, having been out
of the neolithic age for a little longer.  But we're dying like flies
of obesity/diabetes and heart disease also. Just not *quite* so
dramatically in contrast to our recent past.


From: Steve Harris <>
Subject: Re: how the INUIT *really* eat
Date: 26 Jun 2005 16:15:28 -0700
Message-ID: <>

>>I don't get that.  If Inuit "did use to eat a lot of fat and never had
problems with their health.", why is "cutting fat out of the diet"
recommended today? <<


The optimistic answer:  Because the wise authorities know that the
Inuit are not likely to go back to a diet of high cold-water marine
fat, and (even if not hunting) go and subsist mostly on canned red
salmon and kippered herring bought at the local grocery, with some
frozen berries and vitamins. Therefore most fat the Inuit get at the
grocery these days is going to be the kind of stuff that will kill
them. Hydrogenated veg oil in junk food, Crisco, farmed meat, and cream

The cynical answer: Because the clueless athorities don't even know as
much as the above, and think ALL high fat diets are bad for diabetics
because that's what they've been tought in school. So they're trying to
put the Inuit on the same food pyramid that they're trying to put all
diabetics on, end of story. Never having considered that the Inuit
doesn't have much diabetes on their traditional diet.

Let us not, BTW, make the mistake that the Inuit diet was some kind of
garden of Eden delight that magically protected them from all diseases.
Eskimos eating the traditional diet famously had hemorrhagic stoke,
many infection problems, some arthritis, and even some coronary disease
(though not as much as these days).  But obesity, hypertension,
diabetes, and the general metabolic syndrome and the complications of
same, no. That's from Western junk diet.


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