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Nutrition and Physical Degeneration: A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects
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Nutrition and Physical Degeneration: A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  1,899 ratings  ·  124 reviews
An epic study demonstrating the importance of whole food nutrition, and the degeneration and destruction that comes from a diet of processed foods.

For nearly 10 years, Weston Price and his wife traveled around the world in search of the secret to health. Instead of looking at people afflicted with disease symptoms, this highly-respected dentist and dental researcher chose
Paperback, 524 pages
Published May 29th 1999 by Keats Publishing (first published 1939)
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Average rating 4.36  · 
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 ·  1,899 ratings  ·  124 reviews

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Oct 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: health, cooking, ideas
This book changed my life but each case study in the book said the same thing (and was tedious to read) thus four stars, but worth skipping to the end and here's what I learned...

The average human needs 2000-2500 calories per day. Sugar is a concentrated form of energy (carbohydrates) and can quickly fill up the body's caloric needs without providing any body-building minerals. Body-building minerals include calcium, phosphorus, iron and magnesium. These minerals may be present in food yet unus
Aug 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Required reading, especially for people thinking about having kids. So shocking to see such strong evidence that all orthodontic needs are NOT genetic but actually evidences of nutritional deficiencies IN UTERO. Fascinating how much effort he has to go to prove what is really common sense and yet people still don't know this stuff. Why didn't I learn about this until now? I am so angry about what a useless waste of time public education is. Why don't we learn anything useful at all?!!!! ARGH!!!! ...more
May 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nutrition
This is the best book I've ever read. The amount of research, depth of knowledge, and pictures that capture more than words can describe makes a very though provoking read. Forget everything you have head about nutrition from so called experts over the last 60 years. This is the only book you need. ...more
Richard Reese
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My mother, who was born in 1916, had a “sweet tooth.” When I was born, she had dentures, no teeth. White flour and sugar were common ingredients in many meals I consumed between childhood and into my 40s. She got diabetes, and I did too. My first dentist said I had teeth like a horse. They are crowded and crooked. All four of my wisdom teeth were surgically removed, because they were growing sideways, toward the molar next door. I brushed my teeth, but still got cavities.

Back in the sixteenth ce
David Carver
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is quite simply the best and most succinct argument for a natural, non-synthetic diet. Chapter after chapter of detailed surveys, statistics, and citation establishes that diet directly influences not only the superficial problems of tooth decay, but much more serious issues of prenatal development, degenerative disease, and mental acuity. One would expect a work on dental health in primitive cultures to be dry going, but Weston Price has an eye for the beauty in Nature, especially the ...more
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Most people only hear about Price from the "raw milk" crowd. That topic is only a tiny part of his work, and he talks about healthy diets that include no dairy whatsoever.

This is probably one of the most significant works on nutrition and health I have read. Price claims NO PERFECT DIET, but seeks to articulate ideal common principles of the diets he examined.

The principles of health, extracted from fine specimens of "primitive" peoples, include:

1. excluding all white flour; only including fres
Dec 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Weston A. Price is a master scientist. He traveled the world with his wife, Indiana Jones style, but instead of ancient relics, he searched for ancient foods. He found the key to ending chronic disease!... but no one listens because if we were to practice what he found, food lobbyists and manufacturers, ad companies, commercial farmers, and most importantly Monsanto & Big Pharm would be out of business.
Brad Belschner
Nov 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: health
Interesting stuff, but not as relevant to the modern reader as it might seem. There's a world of difference between being raised on whole foods in a pre-industrial environment with plenty of exercise VS. being raised on processed foods and switching to whole foods. The latter can actually be harmful, depending on the circumstances. Overall, this book is an interesting source of information, but somewhat poor source of dietary guidance. I recommend the research of Matt Stone instead (or in additi ...more
Jesse Barnes
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very cool book. A cross between adventure dentistry, cultural anthropology and nutritional science. Some of the material he discovered is common knowledge now: the importance of vitamins, the role of sugar and refined flour in tooth decay. But the really interesting stuff was his data on physical development in people who had gone from traditional (aka "primitive") diets to modern diets and then back again. Children born under the primitive diets were healthier, stronger, and had resistance to c ...more
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Weston Price noted that all the groups he studied provided special foods to prospective parents—to both mother and father before conception and to women during their pregnancy." (from publisher's prologue)

"…soil improvement, humane animal husbandry, nontoxic farming and gardening, pollutant-free housing, holistic medical therapies, nontoxic dentistry, and, above all, proper food choices and preparation techniques that promote optimal health generation after generation." (from prologue)

"Since th
Feb 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: digital-books
A sometimes racist, often subjective, occasionally factual, outdated, repetitive scientific read. This is what you get, I guess, reading 1st person biological science from the 1930s. Nevertheless, this book is fantastic in 3 ways: [1] It shows us what science used to think was correct; [2] excellent descriptions of "primitive" diets (the delight of most readers of this book); [3] Can also be read as an anecdote-filled nutritional travelogue.

Found myself skimming entire sections. Overall, an over
Feb 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my perspective on food and dental care. Cavities can be healed (easier while young than old), teeth can be remineralized, and what we eat has a direct effect on our health (I already knew that part of course, but never read it this way before).

This book is a fascinating story of a dentist in early last century who traveled to pockets of people still eating their age-old ancestral diet. He found that their traditional diet, widely different in content depending on the area, equ
Michael Hentrich
Recently, I heard someone say that, "The more you learn, the more you realize you don't know." That was how I felt after reading this book. It opened up a whole new world of learning for me about health.

Dr. Price traveled around the world in the 1930's to find primitive societies who were as isolated as possible. He wanted to find people who weren't touched by the modern world and find out how healthy they were. His observations and clinical studies are documented in this book, and if you choos
Beth Haynes
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating account by a dentist who traveled the world in the 1930-40s to examine communities which remained isolated from modern food and diet (refined flour, sugar, processed oils and meats). He found not only remarkable dental health (a paucity of cavities and lack of crowded teeth) he also found that heart disease, cancer and even diseases like inflamed gall bladders were rare. Within one generation of eating "modern foods" - dental health markedly deteriorated, as did general health. In is ...more
Iona  Stewart
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get through this voluminous, dense book, which is a classic within the field of dentistry.

I’m not particularly interested in dentistry but have been having dental issues and thus found my way to this book.

Weston Price travelled around the world investigating the teeth of so-called primitive peoples. His focus was to find societies untouched by Western society who thus still existed totally on a diet of indigenous foods.

The prologue states that Price proved conclus
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Fascinating, informative, sobering.

Studies of native diets were documented by inveterate dentist Weston A Price in a watershed time between the two world wars where there was means for diplomacy, photography, air travel, and scientific analysis of foods and soils in diverse living conditions around the globe.

Dr. Price and his wife sought out peoples where there were similar stock exposed to western foods, such as sugars and highly milled flours and other grains living in close proximity to the
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First of all, yes. This book was written in the 1930's and it is full of politically incorrect terms describing native populations (primitives, savages) as well as handicapped individuals (idiot, retarded, moron, etc.).

It also features theories that are now baseless.

Mr. Price assumed that the theory of the land bridge to north america following the ice age was infallible so all the native population were from common ancestry and therefore their regionally physical differences were entirely base
Sean Michael
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: most-influential
This is one of the most important books on nutrition ever written. Dr. Price presents in this work documentation of the detrimental effects on health, bone structure and fertility that are seen when modern foods (sugar, white rice, white flour, canned foods, jams, lean muscle meat, vegetable oils), replace traditional foods (liberal use of sea foods, organ meats, eggs of many species of animal and fish, full-fat dairy from cow, goat and camel raised on fast growing grasses on mineral-rich soil, ...more
Deanna Miller
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most important books ever written and should be required reading in all schools. It also should be required reading for anyone planning to have children. Although not a fast-paced or exciting read, it contains wisdom that is crucial to the health and survival of the human race.

Through the foods we eat, we have a lot more control over our health than most of us realize. Dr. Weston A. Price, a dentist and the first research director of the National Dental Association (later ren
Łukasz Pomi
Jan 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A must read ..BUT

Way to many pages if You ask me.

You could sum up this book in few points really. So to spare You the trouble of hearing words like: "dental", "cavity", "teeth" and "dental arches" a MILLION times.

Here is my quick sum up:

1. The author and his team of researchers traveled around the world and studied the teeth and overall health (but focused on teeth as the main factor) of different primitive tribes (or at least what would SOME call primitive) - some of them included Aborigines,
Ricardo Ribeiro
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
"One of our modern tendencies is to select the foods we like, particularly those that satisfy our hunger without our having to eat much, and, another is to think in terms of the few known vitamins and their effects. The primitive tendency seems to have been to provide an adequate factor of safety for all emergencies by the selection of a sufficient variety and quantity of the various natural foods to prevent entirely most of our modern affections."

Imagine that you are a dentist treating tooth de
Feb 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
So very interesting. Dr. Price (actually a DENTIST...not an MD) wrote this in 1939 after studying the effects of various diets on isolated, primitive peoples. He describes is great detail (with insightful pictures) how our diet affects our health. Although not all arguments were entirely substantiated, the overall picture shows the potential harm our Western diet can inflict. I am the exact type of person who SHOULD be a health-nut...unfortunately, I read as many cookbooks as other books and lov ...more
Jan 19, 2014 rated it did not like it
I had read many recommendations which suggested this book as a great nutritional reference.
While I do not doubt the value of the information here presented, the book itself is awfully tedious. After a while it becomes very repetitive, it just goes on and on and on with examples of exactly the same problems and situations.
It indeed reflects some interesting facts but at a certain point the text does not add anything at all - just looking at the different example pictures would suffice to most rea
Jul 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really great book, it reads like a textbook so is hard to get through all of it and I had to skim through parts of it. Basically in the 1930's Weston Price and his wife scoured the earth for the most remote and primitive populations. Ones that weren't tainted by a modern diet. The people were healthy in every way, bones and teeth were well formed and there was little disease. As modern diet encroached on their traditional diets their health and vigor decreased with each generation. All ...more
Oct 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever wondered why we experience tooth decay? How about why we are so vulnerable to diseases? This book, written in the 1930s, is an amazing study about nutrition. It is hard not to believe every word in this book -- Dr. Price visits isolated communities throughout the world and learns why they are free from all the degenerative diseases that were prevalent in the 1930s and even more so today.

Just read it.
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Quite verbose, but such an amazing book. The terminology would need a review and update though! Some definitions result to be racist and discriminatory in our modern times. People are addressed as 'monsters' or 'idiots'..frankly unacceptable! ...more
May 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really long book, very'll take a while to get through. ...more
Mar 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A must read for everyone!
Uroš Mikolič
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Probably one of the most important books that noone knows about. MUST read if you are a type of person that just simply gives a f*** about things.
Farouk Ramzan
A thorough and shocking guide into not only modern physical degeneration but moral, mental, and character deterioration of modern civilization. Weston Price combines nutrition, sociology, psychology, paleontology, and history to prove that "LIFE IN ALL ITS FULLNESS IS THIS MOTHER NATURE OBEYED!" Price's desperate search for a controlled study of physical excellency in civilization was failed and led him to explore primal indigenous groups all over the world. The data that is accumulated on nutri ...more
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Prominent dentist known primarily for his theories on the relationship between nutrition, dental health, and physical health.

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