Weston Price’s masterpiece, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration: A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects (1939), is online here . The chapters I like are the ones where he visits eleven groups of people around the world and compares those eating traditional diets with those eating modern ones. Those eating traditional diets had very few cavities, even though they didn’t brush their teeth. They also had very little “dental malocculsion” — crooked teeth caused by a too-small jaw. This was presumably because they got enough of certain growth factors in childhood. (The NIH health encyclopedia says dental malocclusion “is most often hereditary”–a mistake that speaks volumes.) The main thing I learned from this book was the importance of fat (to supply fat-soluble micronutrients) including animal fat. (There’s an evolutionary reason we like the taste of fat.) Swiss in isolated areas had to grow almost all of their food in spite of living in the mountains. They ate lots of dairy products, especially butter; apparently they were in good health because their dairy animals ate lots of fresh green grass, high in all sorts of necessary micronutrients including ones that may not yet have been identified. The isolated Swiss also ate lots of whole grain bread. To walk around any supermarket and see all these labels saying “low-fat” as if it were a good thing makes me think of the Middle Ages when people had all sorts of strange ideas about what caused disease — such as too much excitement.
This book seems to be emerging from obscurity due to mentions by Michael Pollan in In Defense of Food (2008) and Gary Taubes in Good Calories, Bad Calories (2007).