The Nutritional Therapy Practitioner training program is based on the work of two founding fathers in nutritional research: Dr. Weston A. Price and Dr. Frances Pottenger, Jr. Learning about the findings of Dr. Weston Price and his research was life-changing for me and I’d like to share the basics of his research and findings.
Dr. Price was a dentist who was concerned about increasing amounts of tooth decay and narrowing facial structure that was leading to crooked teeth. He was interested in studying people who didn’t suffer these things, and heard there were isolated groups in remote areas that still had appropriate facial structure. Soon this interest took him on journeys around the world. He visited 14 different countries, studying groups in the Swiss Alps, islands off the coast of Scotland, Africa, South America, Australia, Natives in Canada & Alaska, and Pacific Islanders. He also collected samples of their foods and analyzed them for their nutrient content.
Dr. Price published his findings in the book Nutrition & Physical Degeneration in 1939. He had looked at the teeth of hundreds of people and inquired about their general health. Dr. Price noted that these peoples didn’t have other modern ailments like asthma, tuberculosis, cancer, or arthritis.
He found that when the “displacing foods of modern commerce” came to these peoples, their health quickly deteriorated. He saw evidence of dental decay in people who had spent a couple of years in a big city, and then was halted when they returned to their traditional diet. This was also illustrated in later children, born after refined foods were introduced into the parents’ diet. He realized it wasn’t just the person eating the food – the parents of children with crooked teeth were eating the devitalized diet prior to conception and during pregnancy and nursing.
The “displacing foods of modern commerce” he is referring to are from so long ago that I feel like it’s helpful to list the specific foods that were brought in: refined sugar, white flour, canned food, pastuerized or low-fat dairy, and refined or hydrogenated vegetable oils.
The Findings of Dr. Weston Price
Dr. Price found that while the people he studied ate very different foods from each other, all the diets had the following in common, which he referred to as “inflexible laws of nature.”
- The diets didn’t contain any refined or denatured foods
- All consumed some type of animal products, some of which would be eaten raw
- Diets contained four times as much calcium and other minerals, and ten times as many fat-soluble vitamins as the modern Western diet
- Included foods that were high in enzymes
- Seeds, grains, and nuts were soaked, sprouted, fermented, or naturally leavened (making them easier to digest and/or adding enzymes and probiotics)
- Fat content of the diets was between 30-80% of their calories and only about 4% came from polyunsaturated fats (Omega-6’s & 3’s)
- Contained about equal amounts of Omega-3 & Omega-6 fats
- Some natural, mineralized, salt was used
- They made use of the animal bones, usually made in to broth, and sometimes eating the marrow
This is part of why Nutritional Therapists recommend, and help people to move their diet toward, whole, unrefined foods, with plenty of natural fats, enzymes, probiotics, and minerals…which Dr. Price observed helped remote groups live so healthfully.