Dr. Weston A. Price Goes to Switzerland
In the years 1931 and 1932 Dr. Weston A. Price traveled throughout Switzerland to study the health disparities between isolated versus modernized Swiss communities. With the help of officials from the Swiss government, Dr. Price was introduced to a community of about 2,000 people living in the Loetschental Valley. Due to the valley being almost completely enclosed by three large mountain ranges (which are all covered in snow most of the year), this group had remained in relative isolation from the modern world and preserved the way life had been there for centuries.
During his stay in the Loetschental Valley, Dr. Price noted how the cows and goats of this region were always fed their natural diet of grass; during the summer, the ruminants were allowed to graze on the high mountain pastures, and during the winter they were fed hay that had been cut and dried by the farmers during the summer. The cornerstones of this group’s diet were whole rye bread, cheeses, and fresh milk from goats or cows. Meat was eaten about once a week, typically on Sunday, when a sheep would be dressed and shared amongst a few families so as not to waste anything. Additionally, the bones and other bits were used to make broths and soups throughout the week. Plant foods were eaten mainly during the summer, and some vegetables, such as potatoes, were stored for use during the winter. He also conducted nutrient analyses on their most commonly eaten foods twice a month for several months, and found that their food samples were significantly higher in vitamins than the equivalent samples he analysed in America, Europe, or even the lower areas of Switzerland itself.
In the communities that followed their traditional diet, Dr. Price found the occurrence of dental cavities to be 0.3 cavities per person. In other words, one would have to examine the teeth of three villagers in order to find one afflicted tooth. Dr. Price met a number of young men and women who had suffered from rampant tooth decay upon leaving the valley to go live in a city for a year or two. Most remarkably, once these young people returned to their native villages, the tooth decay halted. Before moving to the city and abandoning their native diets, these young adults had never experienced cavity problems, which led Dr. Price to conclude that the highly nutrient dense traditional diet provided immunity to tooth decay.
Dr. Price also spent time studying the populations that inhabited the lower areas of Switzerland. Due to the ease of accessibility via transportation in these regions, the areas had become industrialized. As a result, industrial food products (including white-flour goods, refined cereal flours, jams, marmalades, sugar, syrups, confections, and canned vegetables) were widely available. Furthermore, Dr. Price observed that the dairy animals in the lower regions were kept in stables all throughout the summer instead of being allowed to graze on their natural diet of greenery, which yielded a significantly less nutrient dense milk upon nutrient analysis.
In these communities where households used modern food products liberally, Dr. Price found the prevalence of tooth decay to be ten times higher than it was in the isolated mountain villages he visited. The children living in these modernized areas also suffered from high rates of tuberculosis, low immunity to disease, and deformed dental arches (e.g. crooked and crowded teeth).
Dr. Price’s comparative studies of modernized versus traditional populations in Switzerland are just one of many examples of how consuming a diet based on whole, natural products provides the necessary nutrition for proper development and resistance to disease.
Price, Weston A. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. The Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, Inc., 2014.