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Native American Diet

The native peoples of North America traditionally ate a diet centered around corn, beans, and squash and used food as medicine. A gruel of parched cornmeal was commonly used for fever and other sicknesses.  Many Indians avoided the use of salt and fresh meat during illness. Nursing mothers took a light soup or broth made of flint corn during the first three days after delivery in order to produce nourishing milk for their babies. See Agriculture, Diabetes, Incan Diet, Osteoporosis, Paleolithic Diet, Peace, Tarahumara Diet.

Source: Virgil J. Vogel, American Indian Medicine (Norman, Ok.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970).


• Use of Native Healing Increases

Traditional healing methods are being recognized and integrated into mainstream health care in the American Southwest and Midwest. In its hospitals and clinics, the Indian Health Service sets aside rooms for patients to see traditional healers along with medical doctors. In one survey, 38 percent of patients surveyed said that they had seen a healer and 86 percent said they would consider seeing one.

     “My patients come in with their own remedies, from a community healer or organized or nonorganized traditional healing,” Dr. Christopher Urbina, vice chairman of the department of family practice and community medicine at the University of New Mexico’s School of Medicine, reported. Growing up in a Mexican-American family, Dr. Urbina learned dietary remedies and external applications from his mother.

     Dr. Helmut Wiedenfeld, a chemist at the University of Bonn who works with the WHO in Mexico, said he has considerable respect for traditional Indian healers. Without training or equipment, they are able to detect blood glucose levels, identify classic symptoms of diabetes, and treat the disease with an herbal tea brewed from “cola de caballo” (equisetum myriochaetum). Because of an influx of fast food, especially sugar and sugary drinks, he reports, diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions and 8 percent of Mexicans will have the disease by 2005.

Source: Catherine C. Robbins, “In Southwest, Doctor Meets Medicine Man,” New York Times, September 15, 1998.


• Zuni Cuisine

In the late 19th century, anthropologist Frank Cushing studied the Zuni native people of the American Southwest. Adopted into the community, he lived with the tribe for many years and preserved their traditional customs, especially cuisine and recipes.

Source: Frank Cushing, Zuni Breadstuffs (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1979).



Natto, fermented soybeans that clump together with long sticky strands, is beneficial for the intestines and digestion. High in isoflavones, its antibiotic and antitumor properties are now being investigated by medical researchers. See Isoflavones, Miso, Phytoestrogens, Soy Foods.


• Natto Helps Prevent Osteoporosis

In a study on the effect of consuming natto on bone density, scientists at the Kinki University School of Medicine in Osaka measured bone mineral density at the spine, hip, and forearm in 944 healthy Japanese women, aged 20 to 79, at baseline and at a follow up conducted three years later. Dietary natto intake was assessed by a food frequency questionnaire on both occasions. The total hip bone mineral density at baseline increased with increasing habitual natto intake in the postmenopausal women, although not at other skeletal sites. There were significant positive associations between natto intake and the rates of changes in BMD at the femoral neck and at the radius in older women. In comparison, no significant association was found between the intake of tofu or other soybean products and the rate of BMD change in the postmenopausal women. “The active protective ingredient was identified as menaquinone-7. “Natto intake may help prevent postmenopausal bone loss through the effects of menaquinone 7 or bioavailable isoflavones, which are more abundant in natto than in other soybean products.”

Source: Y. Ikeda et al., “Intake of Fermented Soybeans, Natto, Is Associated with Reduced Bone Loss in Postmenopausal Women: Japanese Population-Based Osteoporosis (JPOS) Study,” J Nutri 136(5):1323-8, 2006.


• Natto Inhibits Staph Infection

In a study of the effects of natto on staph infection, researchers in Yokohama reported that adding natto to cooked rice contaminated with a toxic strain of staph bacteria was effective in neutralizing its toxicity.

Source: R. Osawa and K. Matsumoto, “Digestion of Staphylococcal Enterotoxin by Bacillus Natto,” Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek 71(4):307-11, 1997.


• Natto Effective for Hangovers

In studies of the effect of a fermented natto product on blood alcohol, Japanese researchers reported that the substance decreased alcohol concentrations by a maximum of 23 percent 1 hour after drinking whiskey in 21 healthy volunteers. The breath alcohol concentration in the natto group was 44 percent lower than in the control group. The investigators concluded that the natto product was “a reasonable, safe, and useful anti-hangover agent.”

Source: H. Sumi et al., “Effect of Bacillus Natto-Fermented Product (Biozyme) on Blood Alcohol, Aldehyde Concentration After Whisky Drinking in Human Volunteers and Acute Toxicity of Acetaldehyde in Mice,” Arukoru Kenkyuto Yakubatsu Ison 30(2):69-79, 1995.


• Natto  as a Cancer Inhibitor

In cell tissue experiments, Japanese researchers reported that natto contained antitumor promoters.

Source: C. Takahasi, “Possible Anti-Tumor-Pomoting Activity of Components in Japanese Soybean Fermented Food, Natto,” Carcinogenesis 16(3):471-76, 1995.


• Natto Prevents Osteoporosis

In a study of 238 healthy postmenopausal women in Japan, a researcher reported that those who ate natto, high in vitamin K,  had higher bone mineral density and other bone metabolic markers. “Natto may contribute to the prevention of osteoporosis,” the scientist concluded.

Source: T. Hosoi, “Recent Progress in Treatment of Osteoporosis,” Nippon Ronen Igakkai Zasshi 33(4):240-4, 1996.


• Natto Prevents E. Coli Food Poisoning

After a series of E. coli O-157 food-poisoning outbreaks in the Kansai region of Japan in 1996, scientists discovered that the bacteria in the fermentation process of natto can prevent the multiplication of this deadly toxic strain.

Source: “Can’t Stand Natto? Too Bad, It’s Good for Your Health,” Yomiuri Shimbun, spring 1998.


Natural Cosmetics

In addition to avoiding synthetic ingredients, some natural body care products include soy and wheat vegetable proteins instead of lanolin and other animal quality ingredients. However, with the introduction of genetically engineered foods, transgenic natural shampoos began to appear on the market in the late 1990s. Since they are unlabeled, consumers do not know whether the soy or other plant-quality ingredients in the products are natural. According to one manufacturer who produces soy extract for the natural foods industry, genetically altered ingredients were not used in the past, but  in 1998 they started to be used.

     One high quality line of natural cosmetics that is free of genetically altered ingredients is Ki Essentials, which markets several varieties of soap made with nuka, or rice bran, which is traditionally used in the Far East to beautify  and heal the skin.

Source: Wendy Esko, "Transgenic Shampoo," One Peaceful World Journal 32:12, Autumn 1997.


Nervous System

• Diet and the Nervous System

In a review of the effects of diet and nutrition on the nervous system, J. M. Bourre, a member of the French Academy of Medicine at the University of Paris, reported that ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) can affect the structure, the biochemistry, and the physiology and thus the function of the brain. He found that DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is one of the major building structures of membrane phospholipids of brain and neuronal function. Cultured brain cells require both ALA and omega 3 and 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids to differentiate and function properly.  Amino acid composition of dietary proteins, especially tryptophan, contributes to cerebral function. Some amino acids contribute to the proper functioning of neurotransmitters and neuromodulators. The intake of foods low in glycaemic index (leading to low insulin levels) improves the quality and duration of intellectual performance, while high glycaemic index intake contributes to lower performance and memory. At all ages, but especially among the elderly, some cognitive functions appear sensitive to short-term variations in glucose availability, while dietary fiber is associated with higher alertness and less stress. “Although an increasing number of genetic factors that may affect the risk of neurodegenerative disorders are being identified, number of findings show that dietary factors play major roles in determining whether the brain age successfully of experiences neurodegenerative disorders.”

Source: J. M. Bourre, “Effects of Nutrients (in Food) on the Structure and Function of the Nervous Syhstem: Update on Dietary Requirements for Brain. Part 2: Macronutrients,” J Nutri Health Aging 10(5):386-399, 2006.



Tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, peppers, and other nightshade plants, have toxic  properties that may contribute to weakening or disease if consumed regularly, especially arthritis, rheumatism, and diabetes. Tobacco is also a nightshade plant. See Arthritis, Diabetes, Potato, Prostate Cancer.


• Tomatoes, Potatoes Linked to Arthritis and Rheumatism

Common nightshade vegetables may be associated with rheumatism and arthritis. In an experiment in which 5000 arthritis patients avoided white potatoes, peppers, tomato, eggplant, and tobacco, 70 percent reported progressive relief from aches and pains and from some disfigurement over seven years.

Source: N. F. Childers, “A Relationship of Arthritis to the Solanaceae (Nightshades),” Journal of the International Academy of Preventive Medicine, November, 1982, pp. 31-37.


• Potatoes Increase Risk of Diabetes

Dr. Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, published a study linking diet and diabetes, showing that consumption of potatoes caused a big surge in blood sugar, or glucose, leading to secretion of high levels of insulin and increased risk of diabetes. In an interview, he said that refined carbohydrates and especially potatoes should not be eaten as staple foods.

Source: J.Salmeron et al., “Glycemic Load, and Risk on Non-Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus in Women,” Journal of the American Medical Association 277(6):472-477, 1997.



Nori (known in the West as laver) is a thin, dark green sea vegetable used to wrap sushi rolls and rice balls. High in protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C, it is especially beneficial for the kidneys and urinary function, reproductive organs, and like other sea vegetables helps reduce cholesterol and improve circulation, offset tumor development, and protect against radiation. It is used especially in macrobiotic cooking and health cares. See Nuclear Radiation, Sea Vegetables, Vitamin B-12.


• Nori Highest in Iodine

In a study of the nutritional content of sea vegetables, researchers at Kochi Women’s University in Japan reported that both dried green and purple lavers (nori) contained high amounts of Vitamin B-12 and low amounts of iodine relative to other sea vegetables. “The results indicated that nori is “the most excellent source of vitamin B(12) among edible seaweeds, especially for strict vegetarians” and that “excessive intake of the dried lavers is unlikely to result in harmful intake of dietary iodine.”

Source: F. Watanabe et al., “Dried Green and Purple Lavers (Nori) Contain Substantial Amounts of Biologically Active Vitamin B(12) But Less of Dietary Iodine Relative to Other Edible Seaweeds,” J Agric Food Chem 47(6):2341-3, 1999.


• Nori Suppresses Salmonella

In a study of the antimutagenic properties of seaweeds, Japanese scientists reported that nori showed a suppressive effect on the spread of induced Salmonella. The researchers noted that the nori contained pigments that were similar to beta-carotene, chlorophyll, and lutein in land plants.  

Source: Y. Okai, "Identification of Antimutagenic Supstances in an Extract of Edible Red Alga, Porphyra Tenera," Cancer Letters 100(1-2):235-40, 1996.


Nuclear  Radiation

With the beginning of the atomic age in 1945, nuclear energy became a major personal and planetary health issue. Atmospheric atomic and hydrogen bomb testing, as well as nuclear accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl in the 1970s and 1980s released radioactive particles into the envi-ronment that have been associated with causing leukemia, lymphoma, and other cancers; birth defects; anemia; and other diseases. Several foods, especially miso and sea vegetables, have a strong neutralizing effect on radioactivity and can help the body release Strontium-90 and other particles from the body. See Fluoridation, Irradiation, Miso, Seeds.


• Macrobiotic Diet Prevents Radiation Sickness Among A-Bomb Survivors

In August, 1945, at the time of the atomic bombing of Japan, Tatsuichiro Akizuki, M.D., was director of the Department of Internal Medicine at St. Francis’s Hospital in Nagasaki. Most patients in the hospital, located one mile from the center of the blast, survived the initial effects of the bomb, but soon after came down with symptoms of radiation sickness from the fallout that had been released. Dr. Akizuki fed his staff and patients a strict macrobiotic diet of brown rice, miso soup, wakame and other sea vegetables, Hokkaido pumpkin, and sea salt and prohibited the consumption of sugar and sweets. As a result, he saved everyone in his hospital, while many other survivors in the city perished from radiation sickness.

     “I gave the cooks and staff strict orders that they should make unpolished whole-grain rice balls, adding some salt to them, prepare strong miso soup for each meal, and never use sugar. When they didn’t follow my orders, I scolded them without mercy, ‘Never take sugar. Sugar will destroy your blood!’. . .

     “This dietary method made it possible for me to remain alive and go on working vigorously as a doctor. The radioactivity may not have been a fatal dose, but thanks to this method, Brother Iwanaga, Reverend Noguchi, Chief Nurse Miss Murai, other staff members and in-patients, as well as myself, all kept on living on the lethal ashes of the bombed ruins. It was thanks to this food that all of us could work for people day after day, overcoming fatigue or symptoms of atomic disease and survive the disaster free from severe symptoms of radioactivity.”

Sources: Tatsuichiro Akizuki, M.D., Nagasaki 1945 (London: Quartet Books, 1981); Tatsuichiro Akizuki, “How We Survived Nagasaki,” East West Journal, December 1980.


• Macrobiotic Diet Heals Atomic Bomb Survivor in Hiroshima

In 1945, Sawako Hirago was a ten-year-old school girl in Hiroshima. In the atomic bombing on August 6, she was exposed to severe radiation that burned her face, head, and legs. The burned parts swelled up nearly three times normal. In the hospital, doctors feared for her recovery because one-third of her body was burned. Her mother gave her palm healing therapy over the abdomen every night, and she ate the only food available, two rice balls and two daikon radish pickles each day. Inside the rice balls was umeboshi (pickled salted plum).

     Although the medical doctors gave up on her, Sawako survived, “My mother didn’t show me a mirror until I was cured. However, I was able to see my hands and leg which were very dirty and had a bad, rotten smell. On the rotten spots there were always flies. When the skin healed, I broke it because it was itchy; finally it became a keloidal condition. I didn’t see my face until it was finally cured. However, sores remained on my nose and pus remained on my chest. My hands and chest had masses of skin which remained until I was 20.”

      Because of her disfiguration, she was ridiculed, nicknamed “Hormone Short,” and told she could never marry or have children. After completing school, she became a high school physics teacher and met a young chemistry teacher who ate very simply. The couple married and attended lectures by George Ohsawa, the founder of modern macrobiotics in Japan, and he said that only people practicing macrobiotics would survive a future nuclear war.

      After talking with Mr. Ohsawa, Sawako gave up the modern, refined food which she had been eating since her survival and started eating brown rice and other foods. To her surprise, her problems started to clear up, including anemia, leukemia, low blood pressure, falling hair, and bleeding from the nose. Within two months, she was elated, “My face became beautiful.”

     Sawako went on to have seven healthy children and raised all of them on brown rice, miso soup, vegetables, seaweed, and other healthy food.

Source: Sawako Hiraga, “How I Survived the Atomic Bomb,” The Macrobiotic, November/December 1979.


• Seaweeds Protect Against Nuclear Fallout

Scientists at the Gastro-Intestinal Research Laboratory at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, reported that a substance derived from the sea vegetable kelp could reduce by 50 to 80 percent the amount of radioactive strontium absorbed through the intestine. Stanley Skoryna, M.D., said that in animal experiments sodium alginate obtained from brown algae permitted calcium to be normally absorbed through the intestinal wall while binding most of the strontium. The sodium alginate and strontium were subsequently excreted from the body. The experiments were designed to devise a method to counteract the effects of nuclear fallout and radiation.  

Source: S. C. Skoryna et al., “Studies on Inhibition of Intestinal Absorption of Radioactive Strontium,” Canadian Medical Association Journal 91:285-88, 1964.  


• Seaweeds Protect Against Nuclear Fallout

Canadian researchers reported that sea vegetables contained a polysaccharide substance that selectively bound radioactive strontium and helped eliminate it from the body. In laboratory experiments, sodium alginate prepared from kelp, kombu, and other brown seaweeds off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts was introduced along with strontium and calcium into rats. The reduction of radioactive particles in bone uptake, measured in the femur, reached as high as 80 percent, with little interference with calcium absorption. “The evaluation of biological activity of different marine algae is important because of their practical significance in preventing absorption of radioactive products of atomic fission as well as in their use as possible natural decontaminators.”

Source: Y. Tanaka et al., “Studies on Inhibition of Intestinal Absorption of Radio-Active Strontium,” Canadian Medical Association Journal 99:169-75, 1968.


• Miso Protects Against Radiation

People who eat miso regularly may be up to five times more resistant to radiation than people not eating miso. This is the conclusion of scientific studies conducted by Kazumitsu Watanabe, professor of cancer and radiation at Hiroshima University’s atomic bomb radiation research center.

     In laboratory experiments, he tested the cells in the small intestine of mice. These cells absorb nutrients and are particularly sensitive to radiation. They are easily destroyed by radiation. The victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffered from severe cases of diarrhea after the atomic bomb because of massive destruction of these cells.

     Forty-nine-week-old mice were given miso as 10 percent of their food for seven days prior to exposure to radiation. Mice were exposed to full body X-rays 1400 to 2400 times stronger than a regular medical X-ray (7-10 curies). Three days later their cells were examined. The loss of cells was less severe in the miso-eating mice than in regular mice. When 9 curies were administered, the gap between miso-eating and regular mice’s loss of cells became greater. Ten curies is a lethal dose for humans. When 10 curies were given to miso-eating mice, 60 percent survived, compared to only 9 percent of the mice which did not eat miso.

     “I don’t know specifically what element in miso is effective,” Professor Watanabe told the South Western Japan Conference on the Effects of Radiation. “The small intestines of mice and humans are quite similar. Therefore this study indicates that miso is a preventive measure against radiation.”

     In other tests at Hiroshima University, it has already been shown that miso has the property of eliminating radiation from the body and can help relieve liver cancer. Plans for further studies include how miso affects cancer of the large intestine and stomach as well as the effect of radiation on blood pressure.

Sources: “Miso Protects Against Radiation,” Yomiuri Shinbun, July 16, 1990; “People Who Consume Miso Regularly Are More Resistant to Radiation,” Nikan Kogyo Shinbun (Daily Business and Technology Newspaper), July 25, 1990.


• Doctors Treat Radiation Sickness in Russia with Macrobiotics

In 1985, Lidia Yamchuk and Hanif Shaimardanov, medical doctors in Cheljabinsk,  organized Longevity, the first macrobiotic association in the Soviet Union. At their hospital, they have used dietary methods and acupuncture to treat many patients, especially those suffering from leukemia, lymphoma, and other disorders associated with exposure to nuclear radiation. Since the early 1950s, wastes from Soviet weapons production were dumped into Karachay Lake in Cheljabinsk, an industrial city about 900 miles east of Moscow.

     In Leningrad, Yuri Stavitsky, a young pathologist and medical instructor, volunteered as a radiologist in Chernobyl after the nuclear accident on April 26, 1986. Since then, like many disaster workers, he suffered symptoms associated with radiation disease, including tumors of the thyroid. “Since beginning macrobiotics,” he reported, “my condition has greatly improved.”

Source: Alex Jack, “Soviets Embrace Macrobiotics,” One Peaceful World Journal 6:1 Autumn/Winter, 1990.


• Diet Helps After Chernobyl Accident

Russian scientists reported that beta carotene-rich foods and dietary therapy helped people suffering from the Chernobyl nuclear accident in Ukraine.

Source: L. M. Iakushina et al., “The Effect of Vitamin- and Beta-Carotene-Enriched Products on the Vitamin A Allowance and the Concentration of Different Carotenoids of the Blood Serum in Victims of the Accident at the Chernobyl Atomic Electric Power Station,” Vopr Pitn (1):12-15, 1996.


• Nuclear Radiation and Thyroid Cancer

Nuclear tests in the 1950s and early 1960s exposed millions of American children to large amounts of radioactive iodine, especially through milk, resulting in up to 50,000 cases of thyroid cancer around the country of which 2500 would be expected to be fatal. According to a National Cancer Institute study, the releases of fallout were larger than earlier estimates and at least 10 times larger than those caused by the Soviet nuclear accident in Chernobyl in 1986. Vast regions of the country were affected by the nuclear radiation, especially the West, Midwest, and New England.

Source: Matthew Wald, "U.S. Atomic Tests in 50's Exposed Millions to Risk," New York Times, July 29, 1997.


• Radioactive Food Tested on Retarded Children

More than 120 mentally retarded children, as young as ten years old, were given breakfast cereals injected with radioactive substances in federally sponsored nutrition studies in Massachusetts in the 1940s and 1950s. Supervised by MIT scientists, the children at the Fernald School in Waltham were enrolled in a special "Science Club" and given the contaminated food without their knowledge or consent or that of their parents. The program was part of a Cold War experiment on the effects of radioactive iron and calcium. The results were published in the Journal of Nutrition in 1950, 1954, and 1956.

Source: “Radiation,” MIT Archives, 1994; Boston Globe, December 26, 1994.


• Miso Protects Small Intestine Against Radiation

Scientists at the Research Institute for Radiation Biology and Medicine at Hiroshima University tested mice with miso at three different fermentation stages (early, middle, and long-term). The miso was mixed into their diet at 10 percent and administered from 1 week before irradiation.  Compared with the other groups, survival among those fed the long-term miso was significantly prolonged, as was the state of the small intestine. “Prolonged fermentation appears to be very important for protection against radiation effects,” the researchers concluded.

Source: M. Ohara et al., “Radioprotective Effects of Miso (Fermented Soy Bean Paste) Against Radiation in B6C3F1 Mice: Increased Small Intestinal Crypt Survival, Crypt Lengths, and Prolongation of Average Time to Death,” Hiroshima J Med Sci 50(4)83-6, 2001.


Nutrient Loss

Over the last 25 years, the nutrients in food appears to have steadily declined, primarily as a result of the environmental crisis, the use of new, high-yielding hybrid seeds, and marketing methods that emphasize shelf life over freshness. See Cropland Loss, Organic Farming, Organic Food.


• Vitamins and Minerals Decline 25-50% in Many Foods

In an analysis of new U.S. Department of Agriculture food composition tables, a nutritional researcher reported a sharp decline in minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients in many common foods between 1997 and 1975 when the last comprehensive survey was published.

     A random sampling of 12 garden vegetables found that calcium levels declined on average 26.5 percent, vitamin A dropped 21.4 percent, and vitamin C fell 29.9 percent. Whole grains and beans also showed sharp fluctuations. The amount of calcium and iron in millet fell 60 percent and 55.7 percent, and thiamin and riboflavin declined 42.3 percent and 23.7 percent, but niacin rose 105.2 percent. Brown rice also showed mixed results, with slight decreases in calcium and riboflavin and mild increases in iron, thiamine, and niacin. Overall, green leafy vegetables appeared to have lost the most nutrients, while root vegetables, beans, and grains lost the least.

      The food composition tables are widely used in determining dietary guidelines, menus, recipes, and food labels. The new tables, known as the USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 11-1, are posted on the Internet and replace Handbook #8, originally published in 1963 and revised in 1975, along with 21 subsequent sections and four supplements.

      “Decline of the natural environment appears to be the major reason for the widespread loss of nutrients. . . . This suggests a steady deterioration in soil, air, and water quality, as well as reduced seed vitality, that is depleting minerals and other inorganic components of food,” the study concluded.

     Asked to comment on this trend, David Haytowitz, the USDA nutritionist in charge of investigating the nutrient composition of vegetables, said he was unaware of any loss of nutrients and noted that the USDA does not track nutrient trends.

     Asked whether the changes could be due to new methods of measurement, he said that testing methods had improved over the last 20 years, but the basic formula for calculating mineral and vitamin content had not changed.

      “The sharp decline in food quality, as pointed to by the newly posted food composition tables and a growing number of environmental studies, poses a national and international threat. Reversing this trend and ensuring the availability of wholesome, nutritious food are of vital importance to human health and the future of our planet,” the study concluded.

Source: Alex Jack, “Nutrition Under Siege,” One Peaceful World Journal 34:1, 7-9, 1998.


Limits of Modern Nutrition

A holistic approach to diet takes into account the energy of the food as well as its nutritional composition. For example, fortified white rice may contain the same amount of carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals as brown rice. Yet the energy of the two types of rice is entirely different. White rice—especially if eaten on a regular basis—may contribute to low energy and vitality, increase moodiness, and lead to cloudy and unfocused thinking, while brown rice may give strong energy and vitality, stabilize the emotions, and bring clarity and depth. Food energy is not considered in modern nutritional science or medicine, but is an essential part of traditional, macrobiotic, and holistic ways of eating.  See Protein, Vitamins.       


• Modern Nutrition

Modern nutrition developed in the mid-19th century in Prussia and is based on standards for people eating a modern diet high in meat, sugar, and refined, highly processed foods. There are no universally agreed upon standards for proper human nutrition. The U.S. RDAs (Recommended Daily Allowances) for protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals have changed considerably in recent years. The Food Guide Pyramid has replaced the Basic Four Food Groups. The nutritional standards of the World Health Organization, the United Nations’ highest medical organization, are significantly different than those of the U.S. scientific and medical community. They tend to be based more on plant-eating populations and so their recommendations are considerably lower and healthier than the U.S. RDAs. See Food Guide Pyramid, World Health Organization.

Source: Alex Jack, Evolution at the Dinner Table, (Becket, MA: One Peaceful World Press, 1999).


• Macrobiotic Nutrition

Educator Michio Kushi discusses the problems of modern nutrition including meat and dairy products, calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and trace elements, and acid and alkaline.

Sources: Michio Kushi with Alex Jack, The Book of Macrobiotics (Tokyo and New York: Japan Publications, 1986) and Michio Kushi and Aveline Kushi and Alex Jack, Editor, Macrobiotic Diet, (Tokyo and New York: Japan Publications, 1993).


• Holistic Nutrition

A health researcher offers a comprehensive guide to the healing properties of food and a critique of modern nutritional standards. The author takes an approach influenced by Oriental medicine and vegan principles.

Source: Paul Pitchford, Healing with Whole Foods: Oriental Traditions and Modern Nutrition (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 1996).



Nuts are a traditional human staple. The flour from acorns has been used for baking by native peoples in North America and Asia. In Turkey, archaeologists excavated a 10,000-year-old village and found evidence of an economy centered around the harvest of pistachios and almonds. High in protein, fat (mostly unsaturated), dietary fiber, and several vitamins and minerals, nuts are enjoyable, relaxing, and give variety to the diet. See Fruit, Paleolithic Diet, Peace.


• Nuts Protect Against Heart Disease

In a dietary intake study of 65 foods consumed in California, nuts had one of the strongest protective relationships against having a heart attack or dying from heart disease. People who ate nuts from one to four times a week had a 25 percent less risk of dying from coronary heart disease, while those who ate nuts five or more times weekly had 50 percent less risk. In a case-control study, men who ate walnuts as the principal source of fat in their diet lowered their total cholesterol by 12 percent and LDL cholesterol by 16 percent compared to controls. Nuts also contain vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium, and copper, all of which help protect against heart disease.

Source: M. L. Dreher et al., “The Traditional and Emerging Role of Nuts in Healthful Diets,” Nutrition Reviews 54(8):241-45, 1996.



Oats, hailing from Northern Europe, especially Scotland and Ireland, are now grown around the world and enjoyed as a popular morning porridge. Containing more fat than other whole grains, oats give a warm energy and provide stamina and endurance. They are particularly strengthening for the liver and gallbladder. See Ulcer, Whole Grains.


• Oat Bran Reduces Cholesterol

In a study of the cholesterol-lowering effects of whole grain products, researchers at David Medical Center and Sutter Heart Institute in Sacramento, Calif., reported that oat bran added to the low-fat, high-fiber diet of adults with elevated lipid levels reduced cholesterol and improved fat metabolism in 78 percent of subjects.

Source: A. L. Gerhardt and N. B. Ballo, “Full-Fat Rice Bran and Oat Bran Similarly Reduce Hypercholesterolemia in Humans,” Journal of Nutrition 128(5):865-69, 1998.



Obesity, defined as being more than 20 percent heavier than the average for one’s height/weight group, affects 31 percent of men and 35 percent of women in the United States. It is associated with overeating, high-caloric intake, and higher consumption of sugar, fatty foods, and liquid, as well as a sedentary lifestyle. Obesity is a major risk factor in diabetes, heart disease, and other serious disorders. See Tarahumara Diet, Weight Problems.


• Obesity and Diabetes Linked to Low-Fiber Diet

“Obesity and diabetes mellitus . . . usually emerge together about the same time in any community that is becoming affluent, wherein the wealthy are able to consume more fat, oil, sugar, meat, wine and beer, also refined cereals, such as white bread and white rice,” report British medical researchers. Little is known concerning the ancient date when, in India and China, rice began to be [processed]  to produce low fiber  white  rice. . . . Perhaps this explains why diabetes mellitus emerges as a common disease at an early date in India and China.”

Source: H. Trowell and D. Burkitt, editors, Western Diseases: Their Emergence and Prevention, (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1981), p. 24.


• Sailors Lose Weight on a High-Fiber Diet

The crew of a U.S. Navy ship ate a special cancer-prevention diet high in fiber and low in fat for 6 months as part of an American Cancer Society experiment. Sailors on the USS Scott, stationed in the Mediterranean, lost an average 12 pounds during the trial, mean waist size decreased by 2 inches, and 44 percent said they would continue the new way of eating. In contrast, the crew of a sister ship put on an average of 7 pounds and waist size increased 1.5 inches.

Source: “Cancer-Prevention Diet Wins Praise on Navy Destroyer,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 84:297–98, 1992.


• Diet Relieves Gross Obesity in Hawaii

Hawaiians, who have one of the highest rates of obesity in the world, are relieving this condition by returning to their native diet. Dr. Terry Shintani, a macrobiotic physician, established the Wai’anae Coast Comprehensive Health Center which offers participants a diet based on taro, seaweed, sweet potatoes, greens, fruit, and small amounts of fish. “Hawaiians were never fat, apart from the royalty,” Dr. Shintani explains. “I have 300-pound patients by the dozen, I have patients in the 500-pound range.”

Source: “Do Our Genes Determine Which Foods We Should Eat?” Newsweek, August 9, 1993.


• Obesity a World Issue

With the spread of the modern high-fat diet and lifestyle, obesity has become a global problem. Dr. Philip James, head of a task force for the International Association for the Study of Obesity, stated that obesity is “one of the top five public health problems in the world.” Unless eating behavior in children and adults is modified, he declared, “in 10 to 20 years “it really looks like we are going to have a catastrophe on our hands.”

Source: “Obesity Found to Become a Developing World Issue,” Boston Globe, September 1, 1998.


Ohsawa, George

In 1913, Yukikazu Sakurazawa, later known as George Ohsawa, healed himself of terminal pulmonary tuberculosis after reading a book on health and diet by Sagen Ishizuka. Over the next fifty years, Ohsawa devoted his life to spreading macrobiotics and guiding thousands of people to health and happiness.

     Among the many medical and scientific experiments he conducted, in 1941 he oversaw the treatment of 23 sick and wounded soldiers at a military recuperation center in Tokyo. All medications were stopped, and the soldiers were fed brown rice and vegetables. Wounds and infections were treated with salt water only. After one month, all the men had made progress physically and their morale was higher. 

     In another experiment, while visiting Dr. Schweitzer in Africa, George Ohsawa deliberately contracted tropical ulcers—an invariably fatal disease —in order to show that it could be reversed by dietary methods. Taking plenty of salt and umeboshi (salted plums), he completely recovered from this affliction which he said was spreading among the African people who were eating sugar, refined foods, and excessive fruits and fungi.

      In The Book of Judgment, Ohsawa observed: “To eat is to live. To live is to give, as shown in our logarithmic spiral. All beings live to give their products and the whole of their life, to become a bit higher being. Many men do not know that vivere parvo [voluntary poverty] is the only way to enter into the country of eternal happiness.”  Among the case histories he presented are men and women who used a balanced diet to overcome polio, asthma, leprosy, epilepsy, and schizophrenia. In a typical case (classified as “Foolhardiness”), he noted:  “Mr. X, a clerk in a big industrial company in Calcutta, had lost his job because he became insane. His oldest brother had brought him to me from afar, hoping that my dietetic method would cure him.

     “The patient did not speak. He sat night and day in a corner of his brother’s house. He would neither eat nor drink. But occasionally he would run away and he would then wander through the big strange city for days. His brother always had great difficulty in finding him.

     “‘This is an intoxication, probably from white sugar,’ I said. Indeed, he was the supervisor in a great sugar warehouse. All his colleagues were stealing and selling sugar, but being more honest, he was satisfied with taking only as much sugar as he could eat.

      “Once the ultimate cause was known, healing was easy. He was cured in five weeks. Had he had the usual psychiatric treatment, he would very likely have been confined in a hospital, perhaps for the remainder of his life.” See Macrobiotics.

Sources: George Ohsawa, Hitotsu no Hokuku: Aru Byoin ni okeru Jikken no Kokoku (A Report of a Hospital Experiment) 1941 (Tokyo: Nippon C.I., 1976);  The Book of Judgment (Oroville, Ca.: George Ohsawa Macrobiotic Foundation, 1966); Macrobiotics—The Way of Healing (Ovoville, CA: G.O.M.F., 1985).



Olestra, an artificial fat substitute introduced in 1998 in potato chips, might cause thousands of new cases of cancer and heart disease, and products made with olestra should carry a warning, according to Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the nutrition department at Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Willett said the FDA approval of olestra was compelling people to "participate in a massive and uncontrolled experiment without their informed consent." He said that studies showed olestra interfered with the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients, including vitamins and carotenoids. Olestra, manufactured by Procter & Gamble, is marketed to reduce caloric and fat intake. On the basis of the company's projected sales, Dr. Willett and colleagues at Harvard estimated that carotenoid levels in the population would fall by 10 percent and result in up to 9800 additional cases of prostate cancer, 32,000 cases of coronary heart disease, 7400 cases of lung cancer and 390 cases of macular degeneration.

Source: Marian Burros, "Fat Substitute May Cause Disease, a Top Researcher Says," New York Times, June 11, 1998.


Omega Fatty Acids     

• In a review of the role of fatty acids in women’s health, a researcher at the University of Paris reported that omega-3 fatty acids ensures that a women’s adipose tissue contains a reserve of essential fatty acids for the developing fetus and the breast-fed newborn infant. The presence of large volumes of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in the diet lengthens and improves pregnancy. Human breast milk contains both ALA and DHA unlike that of other mammals. Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent cardiovascular disease in women of all ages, the development of certain cancers, especially those of the colon and breast, and possibly the uterus and skin, and are likely to reduce postpartum depression, manic-depressive psychosis, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, hypertension, toxemia, diabetes, and to some extent age-related macular degeneration.

     The best sources of EPA and DHA are fish and seafood, including a macrobiotic diet including these foods.

Source: J. M. Bourre, “Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Women,” Biomed Pharmacother January 2, 2007.



Onions have a mild, sweet taste that combine well with many other foods and dishes. They give a calm, peaceful energy and are especially soothing for nervous conditions, muscle aches and pains, and providing a sweet taste for diabetic or hypoglycemic conditions. Externally, onion is used in Far Eastern medicine to neutralize insect bites and other skin conditions. Modern medicine is now investigating the vegetable’s antidiabetic, antibiotic, fiber protecting, and cholesterol lowing effects.


• Onions Protect Against Stomach Cancer

In a cohort study on diet and cancer involving 120,000 men and women, researchers in the Netherlands reported that people with the highest onion consumption, averaging one half onion per day, had half as much stomach cancer as those who didn’t eat onions.

Source: E. Dorant, “Consumption of Onions and a Reduced Risk of Stomach Carcinoma,” Gastroenterology 110(1):12-20, 1996.


• Antibacterial Effects of Onion

In a study in Egypt, researchers reported that onion contained oils that inhibited several potential disease-causing bacteria, nine species of fungi associated with skin disease, and four toxic species of fungi.

Source: A. N. Zohri et al., “Antibacterial, Antidermatophytic, and Antitoxigenic Activities of Onion,” Microbiology Research 150(2):167-72, 1995.         


Organic Agriculture

Throughout history, human beings have practiced primarily organic farming. With the rise of modern nutrition in the 19th century, nitrogen, phosphate, and other chemicals were added to enrich soils and produce greater yields. In the 20th century, a wide variety of pesticides and herbicides were developed, along with fertilizers. Their effects on human health and the the environment have been the subject of intensive research. See Chemicals, Environment, Infertility, Pesticides.


• Organic Farming More Efficient

In a 21-year study of agronomic and ecological performance of biodynamic, bioorganic, and conventional farming systems in Central Europe, Swiss researchers at the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture and the Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture found crop yields to be 20 percent lower in the organic systems, although input of fertilizer and energy was reduced by 34 to 53 percent and pesticide input lowered by 97 percent.  In the long run, organic methods are more efficient and easier on the environment, the scientists concluded.

Source: Paul Mader et al., “Soil Fertility and Biodiversity in Organic Farming,” Science 296:1694, 2002.


• Organic Farming Saves Energy Compared with Chemical Farming

In the early 1980s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture concluded that organic farming can result in substantial energy savings over chemical farming. In a productivity study of organic and inorganic wheat growers in New York and Pennsylvania, the organic farmers used about 30 percent less energy per acre than conventional farmers. However, their yield was 22 percent less, so that the net energy consumption per bushel of organic wheat was about 15 percent less than the wheat grown with chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

 Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Report and Recommendations on Organic Farming (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1980).


• USDA Study on How a Healthy Diet Would Impact Agriculture

In a study of how a healthier diet would impact American agriculture, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a report detailing the large-scale changes that would take place to conform to the Food Guide Pyramid and traditional guidelines such as the Mediterranean Diet. These include:

     •  Doubling the production of vegetables and fruits, a change that could “entail a troubling increase in use of agrochemicals that could increase concerns about food safety” and raise questions about competition for water in areas with limited supplies and concerns about water quality

     • Reducing the need for feedstuffs by one third or more, as agriculture shifted from red-meat production to poultry and fish

     • Large-scale restructuring of the livestock-feed complex would further be necessary as society shifted from saturated to unsaturated fats and cooking oils, necessitating the reduction or discontinuance of many livestock by-products

     • Converting sugar cane acreage to fruit and vegetable production

      “A move toward healthier diets would involve balancing nutrition and health gains against potentially higher food prices, increasing pressures on the natural resource base, increasing concerns about food quality and safety, and perhaps, creating large-scale dislocations in the agricultural sector, particularly in the feed-livestock complex,” the report concluded.

      The study warned about the potential for food industry advertising, currently amounting to $36 billion annually, to exceed federal efforts to dis-seminate nutrition information.

      In respect to increased pesticide and other chemical use, the report noted that organic produce may become more popular and result in state and federal efforts to regulate chemical use and generate interest among farmers in developing alternative production methods.

Source: Patrick O’Brien, “Dietary Shifts and Implications for U.S. Agriculture,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 61(suppl):1390S-96S, 1995.


• Organic Produce Higher in Mineral Content

Researchers at Rutgers University reported that non-organic produce had as little as 25 percent as much mineral content as organic produce. The scientists compared beans, cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, and spinach purchased at a supermarket and an organic natural foods store and found substantially higher levels of phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, boron, manganese, iron, copper, and cobalt and other minerals and trace elements in the organically grown vegetables.

Source: Firman E. Baer Report (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University, 1984).


• Organic Farming Preserves Topsoil

Comparing two neighboring farms in the Palouse region of Washington state, researchers found that the organic farm’s topsoil was six inches thicker than the farm using chemical methods. The organic soil also had a softer crust and held more moisture. The scientists concluded that intensive tillage practices associated with continuous monoculture or short rotations of crops may make soils more susceptible to erosion. “This study indicates that, in the long term, the organic farming system was more effective than the conventional farming system in reducing soil erosion and, therefore, in maintaining soil productivity,” the investigators concluded.

Source: J. P. Reganold, L. F. Elliott, and Y. L. Unger, “Long-Term Effects of Organic and Conventional Farming on Soil Erosion,” Nature 330:370-72, 1987.


• Pesticide Use Could Be Reduced 90%

David Pimentel, an entomologist and ecologist at the New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell, and colleagues analyzed 300 scientific studies and reported that pesticides could be reduced by up to 90 percent without affecting crop yields or the costs of foods.  Since the 1940s, pesticide use has multiplied thirty-three times and potency has increased ten times, yet more crops are lost to insects today than fifty years ago. For  example, 3.5 percent of the national corn crop was lost to pests then. Today despite a thousand-fold increase in insecticide use, losses have increased to 12 percent. The report also cited other drawbacks to chemicals including the poisoning of 45,000 farm workers and an estimated 6,000 cases of pesticide-induced cancers each year.

Source: David Pimental, Handbook of Pest Management in Agriculture (Boca Raton, Fl.: CRC Press, 1991) and Jane Brody, “Using Fewer Pesticides Is Seen as Beneficial,” New York Times, April 2, 1991.


• National Report “Alternative Agriculture” Supports Sustainable Farming 

In a landmark report Alternative Agriculture, the National Academy of Sciences found that “alternative farming methods are practical and economical ways to maintain yields, conserve soil, maintain water quality, and lower operating costs through improved farm management and reduced use of fertilizers and pesticides.”

     In the 1989 report, the 17-member expert panel found that adoption of organic, renewable, sustainable, low-input, and other alternative practices including rotations with legumes and nonleguminous crops, the continued use of improved cultivars, integrated pest management and biological pest control, reduced use of antibiotics in livestock, and lower-cost management strategies that use fewer synthetic chemicals could have substantial “economic benefits to farmers and environmental gains for the nation.”

     The adverse effects of conventional farming cited include:

     • Environmental and occupational health problems resulting from extensive use of synthetic chemical fertilizer and pesticides; agricultural chemicals have been associated with causing cancer, behavioral effects, altered immune system function, and allergic reactions.

     • Insecticides accounting for 30 percent, herbicides accounting for 50 percent, and fungicides accounting for 90 percent of all agricultural use have been found to cause tumors in laboratory animals.

     • Insects, weeds, and pathogens continue to develop resistance to some commonly used insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides.

     • Insects and pathogens also continue to overcome inbred genetic resistance of plants; in 1986 more than 440 insect and mite species and more than 70 fungus species were resistant to some pesticides.

     • Widespread pesticide use has severely stressed fish, fowl, domestic animals, and wildlife including honeybee and wild bee populations that are vital to the production of vegetables and other crops.

     • Chemical agriculture is the leading cause of pollution in surface water and ground water in many states, affecting an estimated 46 percent of all counties in the U.S.

     • The decreasing genetic diversity of many major U.S. crops and livestock species increases potential for sudden widespread losses from disease.

     The report was particularly critical of federal grading standards which “discourage alternative pest control practices for fruits and vegetables by imposing cosmetic and insect-part criteria that have little if any relation to nutritional quality. Meat and dairy grading standards continue to provide economic incentives for high-fat content, even though considerable evidence supports the relationship between high consumption of fats and chronic diseases, particularly heart disease.”

     The report cited the benefits of alternative farming including:

     • Increased “environmental and health effects without necessarily decreasing—and in some cases increasing—per acre crop yields.”

     • Rotating crops often results in yields 10 to 20 percent greater than growing just a single crop regardless of the amount of fertilizer used.

     • Organic methods hold water better, improve soil tilth, have a high exchange capacity for binding and releasing some mineral nutrients; serve as a food source for soil microbes that recycle soil nutrients, and contribute to remineralization.

      Among the case histories presented in the report are the Lundberg Brothers farm in Richvale, California, which grows organic brown rice; the Spray Brothers Farm near Mount Vernon, Ohio, whose crops include organic soybeans and azuki beans; and the Ferrari Farm near Linden, California, which grows organic vegetables, nuts, and fruits using a natural insect control method based on the sea vegetable kelp.

Source: National Academy of Sciences, Alternative Agriculture (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1989).


• Denmark May Go Organic

Members of parliament in Denmark have recommended that the country be made totally organic by 2010. In response, the Danish government is evaluating the impact of a total pesticide ban. In 1996, pesticide sales fell by 32 percent.

Sources: Pesticide Action Network North America, November 4, 1997.


Organic Food

Organic refers to foods that are processed, packaged, transported, and stored to retain maximum nutritional value and energy, without the use of artificial preservatives, coloring, or other additives; irradiation; genetic engineering; or synthetic pesticides or fertilizers and which are grown in accordance with ecological farm management practice, relying on building soil humus through crop rotations, recycling organic wastes, and applying balanced mineral amendments  and, as necessary, mechanical, botanical, and/or biological controls with minimal impact on health or the environment.

     According to organic industry surveys, nearly two-thirds of all Americans have tried organic produce and 30 percent do so regularly. Large food companies are moving into the organic field.

      There are also national and international organizations of growers, distributors, and sellers that certify organic food. In 1990, the U.S. Department of Agriculture established the National Organic Program (NOP) to regulate the production, manufacturing, and handling of organic agriculture in the U.S. National standards are expected in 1999.  See Infertility, Organic Agriculture, Pesticides.


• Superiority of Organic Over Conventional Crops

In a review of 86 scientific studies over the last 50 years comparing the nutritional quality of organic with conventional crops, a clinical nutritionist in Washington, D.C. found a clear trend indicating higher nutrient content in organically grown crops.

     “For individual nutrients, existing studies show that organic fertilization practices produce crops with higher levels of ascorbic acid, lower levels of nitrate, and improved protein quality compared with conventionally grown crops,” Virginia Worthington, ScD., concluded.

     She theorized this may be partially due to a higher water content in convention crops which causes nutrient dilation. The role of herbicides on nutrient content could also be a factor, though there are few studies in this field. Finally, evidence from farm animals and controlled animal studies “strongly suggests that organically grown crops are superior to conventionally grown crops for promoting health.”

Source: Virginia Worthington, “Effect of Agricultural Methods on Nutritional Quality: A Comparison of Organic with Conventional Crops,” Alternative Therapies 4(1):58-69, 1998.


• Organic Foods Higher in Nutrients

Organic foods contain about twice as much trace elements than foods grown with pesticides. The organic food tested had nearly two to four times more boron, calcium, chromium, copper, iodine, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, selenium, silicon, strontium, and zinc than conventional foods. Organic food also had lesser amounts of aluminum, lead, mercury, and other toxic trace elements. Specific findings included:

     • Organic wheat had twice the calcium, four times the magnesium, five times the manganese, and 13 times the selenium.

     • Organic pears had two to three times more chromium, iodine, manganese, molybdenum, silicon, and zinc.

     • Organic corn had almost 20 times more calcium and manganese, and two to five times more copper, magnesium, molybdenum, selenium, and zinc.

     • Organic foods had significantly more beneficial trace elements in 20 of 22 elements measured in the study.

Source: B. Smith, “Organic Foods vs. Supermarket Foods: Element Levels,” Journal of Applied Nutrition 45:35-39, 1993.



Osteoporosis, the thinning of the bones and susceptibility to fracture, commonly occurs in middle aged and elderly people as a result of eating too much meat, dairy food, and other animal protein that leech calcium and other minerals from the bones, as well as excessive salt, caffeine, alcohol, and smoking. See Calcium, Dental Problems, Kale, Menopause, Natto, Vegetables, Vegetarians, Women’s Health.


• Excess Protein Causes Calcium and Bone Loss

Excess protein from the standard American diet can adversely affect the bones. In a study of protein metabolism, researchers at Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, N.Y., reported that a meat- and dairy-centered diet generates a large amount of acid, mainly as sulfates and phosphates, which are offset by buffer reactions involving resorption of calcium from the bones. Alkali buffers, in the form of dietary vegetables and fruits, can help reduce acidity and the burden on the kidneys, resulting in less calcium and bone loss.

Source: U. S. Barzel and L. K. Massey, “Excess Dietary Protein Can Adversely Affect Bone,” Journal of Nutrition 128(6):1051-53, 1998.


• High Meat Diet Causes Osteoporosis

The Inuit (Eskimo) have the highest osteoporosis rates in the world. In a study of 217 children, 89 adults, and 107 elderly Inuit in Alaska, researchers found that they had lower bone mineral content, onset of bone loss at an earlier age, and development of bone thinning with a greater intensity than white Americans. The scientists attributed the greater degeneration to the acidic effects of the Inuits’ high meat diet.

Sources: R. Mazess and W. Mather, “Bone Mineral Content of North Alaskan Eskimos,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 27:916-25, 1974.


• Healthy Teeth and Bones

Macrobiotic cooking teacher Gale Jack describes how she used to diet to control teeth decay and osteoporosis.

Source: Gale Jack, “Healthy Teeth and Bones,” in Gale Jack and Wendy Esko, editors, The Women’s Health Guide, One Peaceful World Press, 1997.


• Dairy Products Fail to Protect Against Bone Fracture

In a review of many case-control and prospective studies on the effects of plant foods and dairy products, University of Minnesota researchers concluded that epidemiologic studies have not provided evidence that high dairy product consumption by adults prevents fractures and, in fact, some studies suggest dairy increases susceptibility to osteoporosis. In contrast, a diet high in whole grains, vegetables, and fruit is likely to prevent degenerative bone disease, as well as coronary heart disease, several cancers, neural tube defects, and cataracts.

Source: L. H. Kushi et al., “Health Implications of Mediterranean Diets in Light of Contemporary Knowledge: Plant Foods and Dairy Products,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 6(6 Suppl): 1407S-1415S, 1995.

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