First published in 1939, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration is THE classic book on human nutrition. Dr. Weston A. Price, DDS documents his journey around the world over the span of a decade with the purpose of gaining understanding of the role of nutritional changes on human health. In order to gather this information, he visits eleven different areas of the world from Peru to Africa to the Swiss Alps where he can compare similar ethnic people groups living in their traditional ways with their matched people groups who have adopted modern eating habits. In the course of the research he carefully and extensively documents dental caries, dental structure issues and other pertinent health measures such as tuberculosis rates, birth defects, mental illness and general vitality. He also collected soil samples, food samples and saliva samples and performed chemical analysis on when he returned to his lab.
What makes this book so unique is that this type of research could not be replicated today. The untouched people groups are simply not available. In addition, many contemporaries of Price were finding the same results in their research in the lab and in their work in the field. This period of history is when the term “Western Diseases” was coined by doctors who found that there was little incidence of heart disease, diabetes and dental carries outside of the western cultures where processed food was widely available.
Dr. Price was a successful dentist who saw alarming changes in the dental health of his patients over the course of the several decades he was in practice. He determined to travel the world with the purpose of conducting research to explain these changes. I would highly recommend the book to any serious student of nutrition. It can be difficult to read due to the dense and older style of language. For the interested lay person who wants a summary, Dr. Price’s work is kept alive by the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation and information can be found on the website, www.westonaprice.org.