When the Eskimo comes to town.

Schaefer O
Nutrition Today. 1971 Nov-Dec; 6:8-16.

The author describes changes in eating habits and type of foods consumed when the Eskimos gave up their previous nomadic existence to live in settlements. From 1 meal of high protein, low fat and practically no carbohydrates with frequent nibbling the rest of the day on fish, the Eskimo family in settlements gets 3 rich meals a day and seeminly endless sweet drinks, candies, and chocolates. More than half the total carbohydrates are consumed as refined sugar. In a series of test programs the author found that Eskimos have difficulty in keeping their blood sugar level stable after oral sugar loads while the white ma n does it easily. Some other new things observed in Eskimos are: 1) prenatal and postnatal growth acceleration to a significant degree and earlier onset of puberty which is directly attributable to increased sugar consumption without increased protein. 2) Increasing diabetes mellitus: in Alaska and Greenland it has gone up 3-fold during the last decade. 3) Increased atherosclerotic diseases'; incidence of calcification of leg arteries among Eskimo men 40 to 69 years who had lived in settlements for more than 10 years was 5 times that of remote nomads. 4) Increased dental decay. 5) Significant increase in serum cholesterol and blood lipid levels with parallel increases of skinfold measurements especially in 18 to 40 year olds. 6) Increase in other "civilization diseases" like cholelithiasis, gall bladder and acne vulgaris. Increased morbidity and mortality of infants may be related to increased bottled feeding and increased fertility to shortening of lactation due to the same reason.

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