Most Americans are Malnourished, due to Quality NOT Quantity

The Maasai, are a Nilotic ethnic group inhabiting southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. They represent one of the rare surviving intact and functional indigenous cultures.  The idea that indigenous cultures, such as the Maasai, were or are malnourished is far from the truth. Even though we have and consume copious amounts of food, especially compared to the native diets of these cultures. Due to modern American diets and their lack of nutrients we are the ones that are malnourished, not from a lack of quantity but rather a lack of quality.

Why the established RDA’s are NOT Enough

As I mentioned in last week’s newsletter or blog post, Dr. Price’s research showed that native diets, including the Maasai, were much higher in vitamins and minerals. I believe, Price’s data is a more accurate indication of how much nutrition we need than the recommended daily allowance (RDA). Price’s data may be old, but he identified the healthiest people he could and then analyzed the nutrient content of their staple foods. Many have looked into how RDAs are set, and they have found an assortment of differing opinions, non-standardized techniques, and poorly thought-out studies. Take for example, the RDA of Vitamin B6 for infants younger than one year old was set at 0.1 milligrams per day based on the average B6 content in breast milk of only nineteen women. Six of which did not even consume the RDA of vitamin B6 that is set for their age group, and their breast milk contained only one tenth of the B6 compared to that of women with healthier diets.1

Most don’t Even Meet these Established RDA’s

I believe Dr. Price’s research has clearly shown that our bodies are accustomed to a diet that is far richer in nutrients. We may try to scarf down enough food to meet established RDAs, but most of us are far from even getting close to meeting these. Only 46.7% of  “healthy” females meet the RDA of Vitamin A,2 and vitamin A levels are low in 87% of children with Asthma.3 55% of obese children are deficient in Vitamin D, as well as 76% of minority children and 36% of otherwise healthy adults.4 For vitamin E, 58% of toddlers between one and two years old, 91% of preschoolers, and 72.3% of healthy females are deficient.5,6 0%, yes you read that right (zero percent), of breastfed infants were found to have achieved the minimum recommended intake of vitamin K.7 By the way, vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that is most well-known for the important role it plays in blood clotting. It is also essential to building strong bones, preventing heart disease, and play a crucial part of other bodily processes. This list could continue, but I didn’t find one study that showed 100% adequacy of any single nutrient.

“Presumably the vast majority of Americans are deficient in multiple nutrients”

–          Catherine Shanahan, M.D.

The question is, why are we so deficient in these vital nutrients?

Believe me I wish there was, but there is not one clear cut answer to this question. Though one reason could be that we don’t consume enough nutrient dense foods. These include organ meats, leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables, raw dairy products, wild-caught fish, pasture-raised eggs (chicken or duck), fresh wild fruits, etc. Another reason is soil health, yes, the health of soil will greatly affect the health of plants. What I mean by the health of plants is the number of vitamins and minerals (nutrients) that a plant contains. The higher concentration of nutrients a plant has the healthier the plant. When we consume plants or animals higher in nutrients it only makes sense that we will be receiving more vitamins and minerals. Therefore, who knows but the way I see it is the more nutrients our bodies have, the healthier our bodies will be. Come back for next week’s article to find out more about how our modern soil has become so depleted of its nutrients.


Fact of the week

 According to the United States Census, in the past 200 years the percentage of people living to be 100 has actually gone down:5

Percentage of Americans aged 100 in 1830 was 0.020, by 1990 the percentage was 0.015, and by 2010 the percentage of people expect to live to 100 was 0.001.

Although it is true that more people are living to 100 now then say 50 years ago. What we must consider is that the population has grown significantly. So, what we really need to look at is the what percentage of those people are living to be 100. What we also must consider is that it’s not our generation that has proven anything yet. The world’s population of centenarians were all born by or before 1917.