Two groups of people eat no fruits or vegetables at all.
You might be thinking “those poor people must be dying of scurvy.” And despite what you learned in high school biology; you would be wrong.
As a matter of fact, they are very healthy and neither of these groups of people seem to have heart disease.
While a life without vegetables may seem like a kid’s dream, the moms of the world would freak out because they think it would lead to malnutrition, but two civilizations have been documented as not eating any vegetables and yet they remain remarkably healthy.
This opens up the question, are our health textbooks wrong?
Blood, Meat, and Milk
The Masai people are nomadic in Southern Kenya.
What makes these people so unique is their diet, which is almost exclusively blood, meat, and milk.
Back in 1964, George Mann studied these people to discover how they remained so healthy despite their diet.
While the men walked many miles every day, they didn’t have the heart disease that was supposed to occur when you eat a high cholesterol diet.
There were no cases of high blood pressure and their blood cholesterol levels were low despite their diet.
Scientists hypothesized that they had different genes that protected them from their high cholesterol diet.
But later studies showed that they were closely related to another tribe that was eating a diet with starch and lots of vegetables.
The other tribe’s cholesterol level was high as was their blood pressure.
And when Dr. Mann found Masai who left the tribe to move into the city and their diet became more westernized, they started having higher cholesterol and blood pressure.
This case study should have called into question that heart health is dependent on eating a low-fat diet full of vegetables and carbohydrates back in 1964, way before the government’s food pyramid recommendations.
Igloos and Fat
But before Dr. Mann studied the Masai, there was another group who didn’t eat vegetables or starch, because they can’t grow much above the Arctic Circle.
We owe a great deal of gratitude to Arctic explorer, Vilhjalmur Stefansson, to help explain what the Inuit Indians ate and how they survived without vegetables.
Nearly half of all sailors on long voyages in the 1700s died of scurvy.
The British navy found that small amounts of citrus fruits would prevent the disease.
The Royal Navy made sucking on citrus each day mandatory (that’s where the nickname for the British “limey” came from).
Later it was discovered that humans need to get vitamin C from our diet, and the lack of this vitamin caused scurvy.
Yet, the Inuits didn’t have access to any known vitamin C sources in their diet, yet there were no known cases of the disease.
Stefansson was so impressed with the overall health of the Inuits that he adopted their diet during his Arctic expeditions.
When he returned to civilization, he reported about his diet when he was with the Inuit people.
Scientist didn’t believe it.
They thought scurvy was automatic with this diet since human beings have to get vitamin C from our food.
In order to prove his point, Stefansson locked himself up for a year and put himself under armed guard and only ate the diet he had up north and even after a year he had no negative health effects.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN?
These two case studies show just how little our conventional wisdom about nutrition holds water in the real world.
While our government tells us that in order to be healthy we have to follow the food pyramid, but two peoples have lived for thousands of years doing everything “wrong” according to the government and from all reports, they were not only healthy, they were much heart healthier than most people today.
Neither of these two groups of people have any known cases of obesity, diabetes or heart disease despite a diet very heavy on saturated fats.
They also prove that the Keto diet is sustainable.