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Stats Science

"Eskimo Diet" Lacks Support For Better Cardiovascular Health 166

jones_supa (887896) writes Monthly Prescribing Reference reports that the "Eskimo diet" hypothesis, suggested as a factor in the alleged low incidence of coronary artery disease (CAD) in Greenland Eskimos, seems not to be supported in the literature, according to a metastudy published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology (abstract). Researchers found that only one study directly assessed the prevalence of CAD or CAD risk factors, and that study showed that CAD morbidity was similar among Inuit and American and European populations. In most studies, the prevalence of CAD was similar for Greenland Eskimos and Canadian and Alaskan Inuit and for non-Eskimo populations. The original studies from the 1970s that formed the basis of the supposed cardioprotective effect of the Eskimo diet did not examine the prevalence of CAD. "The totality of reviewed evidence leads us to the conclusion that Eskimos have a similar prevalence of CAD as non-Eskimo populations," the authors write. "To date, more than 5,000 papers have been published studying the alleged beneficial properties of omega-3 fatty acids not to mention the billion dollar industry producing and selling fish oil capsules based on a hypothesis that was questionable from the beginning."
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"Eskimo Diet" Lacks Support For Better Cardiovascular Health

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  • Re:Eskimo?! (Score:5, Informative)

    by buchner.johannes ( 1139593 ) on Sunday June 15, 2014 @05:04AM (#47239611) Homepage Journal

    Some Inuit in Canada and Greenland object very strongly, which is as good a reason as we need not to do it.

    This whole topic is a bit of minefield, it's fair to say. We can initially divide the Eskimo/Aleut people into three - the Inuit, the Unangax (Aleut), and the Yupik.

    The Unangax of the Aleutian Islands don't care to be called Inuit or Eskimo. They see themselves as distinct from Eskimos and don't mind being described as Native Americans; other Eskimo/Aleut people don't identify as being such. The Unangax are easily distinguished by their language (many borrowings from Russian, including the system of verb inflexions) and their religion (most are Russian Orthodox).

    The Yupik have no objection to being called Eskimos, and will use that term to encompass both themselves and the Inuit. The main groupings within the Yupik are the Alutiiq of the coast, the Yuit or Siberian Yupik, and the Yup'ik of Central Alaska.

    Then we come to the Inuit. The two largest groupings are the Canadian Inuit and the Kalallit or Greenland Inuit, both of which would prefer you not to call them Eskimos. (The Greenlanders are happy with Inuit to mean both themselves and the Canadians.) Ethnically speaking, two smaller groupings - the Iñupiat of the North Slope and the Inuvialuit of the Western Arctic - are also Inuit, although the Iñupiat would rather be described as Eskimo.

    I said it got confusing ...

    by "suze", from http://old.qi.com/talk/viewtop... [qi.com]
    further in http://old.qi.com/talk/viewtop... [qi.com]

    The word "Eskimo" is non-PC in Canada, much as it's fine in Alaska. The particular indigenous person of the north who was featured on QI was a Yupi'ik from Alaska - Sarah Palin's husband is one of those as well - and hence "Eskimo" rather than "Inuit" is the term to use. The plural of Yup'ik is Yupiit.

    Had the person been an Aleut, then again "Eskimo" might have caused offence. The Aleut are very sure that they are not Eskimos; while they don't object to "Aleut", they prefer one Unangax, two Unangax, three or more Unangan. (Note that most of the Eskimo-Aleut languages have what's called a dual number; this comes between singular and plural and is used when there are two of something. It's rare in European languages; Slovenian and Sorbian have it, and it's on the point of vanishing from Lithuanian.)

    The indigenous people of Baffin Island and such like places absolutely are Inuit, although "an Inuit" or "lots of Inuits" are always going to be wrong since "Inuit" is the plural. One Inuk, two Inuuk, three or more Inuit.

    While the people of the central Arctic would prefer Inuinnaq to Inuit, they won't get especially upset at the more general word. As for indigenous Greenlanders, the preferred term is Kalaallit, singular Kalaaleq. (There's no dual in Greenlandic.)

    Wikipedia is not informative on why/where it is considered offensive. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] But it has a nice map of the tribes.

  • by hazem ( 472289 ) on Sunday June 15, 2014 @05:04AM (#47239613) Journal

    That's a good question.

    In the past, I've tried to merely restrict calories and eat what the food pyramid recommends... plenty of "healthy whole grains" and limiting fats. I lost a tiny bit of weight and was miserable and hungry - and my cholesterol numbers actually got worse. I went to the gym every day but was tired and listless mosf of the time. And as soon as I eased up, I gained even more weight (over the equilibrium weight I was at before starting the calorie restriction).

    If you look at how metabolism works, fructose is only processed in the liver and the result is serum triglycerides. Dietary fats, however (at least as I understand it) are quickly taken up by chylomicrons and delivered to cells throughout the body, so they don't contribute much to trigylcerides as measured in the standard lipid panel. This is at least how I undersand it.

    My personal experience is just an n=1, but within the low-carb community, the predictions were that by adopting a an LCHF diet, I would lose weight, not be hungry but eat less, feel more energetic, and that my lipid panels would improve. I've found all of these things happened, as well as odd little things like no longer having indigestion and just having a desire to exercise and be more active.

    Do I KNOW this is from an LCHF way of eating? Not with absolute certainty, of course. But my experiences match the predictions and when I do endulge in a large amount of carbohydrates, I tend to feel not-so-great for a couple days.

    Frankly, I'm just thankful to have found a way of eating that allows me to lose the weight I've carried for decades while allowing me to be more energetic, and with all that, not suffer from hunger or feelings of deprivation. A year ago, I had conceded to my best friend that I would always be fat but I could at least be active and fat (I was already bike-commuting and hiking). But after a mere 8 months of this way of eating... eating "as much as I feel like eating", I now weigh less than I have in almost 2 decades and I've started racing (albiet slowly) in 5Ks and triathlons. And note, I adopted the diet and started losing weight (about 30 pounds) before I started any of the running.

    Maybe it's a "fad diet", I just eat like diabetics were told to eat in the early 1900s (https://archive.org/details/diabeticcookeryr00oppeiala) and how like most people were told to eat to lose weight until the 1960s or so. It's essentially "meat, eggs, and green veg" but avoid sugars and starches and most fruits. And I've never felt so good as an adult.

    So my n=1 is not "science" and maybe it's all placebo, but if so, it's a pretty darned good placebo. I'm down 60 pounds I never thought I could lose and doing crazy things like triathlons, which were also unimaginable, even a year ago.

  • by hazem ( 472289 ) on Sunday June 15, 2014 @05:46AM (#47239685) Journal

    The theory of "low carb diets" is that they reduce your appetite, resulting in fewer calories consumed.

    This has been my personal experience. I started eating "low-carb/high-fat" last September and just crossed the -60 pounds mark. I still marvel at how I'm just not very hungry most of the time, even after missing meals or exercising for several hours... or how I can, indeed, go ride my bike vigorously for a few hours before eating any breakfast.

    I haven't counted calories at all, so from an objective sense, I can't give precise amount of wha I used to eat compared to what I eat now. However I'm certain I eat less from the mere fact that now I often miss meals (from not being hungry enough to bother) when before I might even eat 2 lunches, and snack much less than before (evidenced by the fact that I don't buy snacky foods much any more - when for example I was subscribed to Amazon to have boxes of KIND bars delivered to both my home and office). One of the best parts is that I can now take long bike rides after work (I've been a bike-commuter for a few years) and not have to rush home to eat dinner from crazy hunger.

    I believe the theory about low-carb and hunger is that carbohydrates stimulate insulin production. This causes cells in the body (fat and muscle) to take up blood glucose more than they would otherwise, thereby lowering blood glucose. This dynamic system has delays, so blood glucose will drop below the "normal" level and as a result you get really hungry in order to raise it back up again. As a result, you either eat more or feel lethargic due to lack of energy. This may explain the need/desire to snack between breakfast and lunch and after lunch in order to stave off the fatigue and "crash" that most people experience at these times.

    Some people go a bit nuts when I say I can eat as much as I want with this way of eating and still lose weight - as if they think I believe I'm violating the laws of physics. But the reality is that of course I'm obeying the laws of thermodymics - it's just that when I eat a diet low in carbohydrates, I just don't want to eat very much. And how can that be a bad thing? I'm getting fitter, feeling better, and all without being hungry or otherwise suffering.

  • Re:Eskimo?! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Sunday June 15, 2014 @09:23AM (#47240081) Homepage
    Those ancient cretins vandalized language into a byzantine mess.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling