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You Ask, I Answer: Weston Price Organization

Posted Mar 05 2009 4:32am 1 Comment
What do you know about the Weston Price Foundation?

-- Dennise O'Grady

Bay Head, NJ

Let's start with the positive -- they advocate for small farmers, and particularly strengthening farmer-to-consumer relationships.

Other than that, I view them as an extremist group that tends to border on silliness. That's their logo, by the way, which they point out depicts Western societies' narrow-mindedness towards food.

An odd choice, since the "narrow vision" includes everything from Houston to Peruvian highlands to the Caribbean. Meanwhile, a lot of the nations in the "wide" circles have just as many problems with obesity, diabetes, and junk food consumption as the United States. I don't get it.

Their core belief? Full-fat raw dairy, butter, red meat, and soaked grains are the answer to a healthy life, while plant-based diets are the root of all health problems.

I'll let their writing speak for itself.

Exhibit A:

"According to an article in theWashington Post("Don't have a cow, Mom," October 31, 2006) vegetarianism among teenagers is increasing. Vegetarian families eat a more varied diet, we are told, which includes such yummies as rutabaga and tofu. Not to worry, Mom, says the American Dietetic Association, ". . . a well-planned all-veggie diet for children and adolescents can be nutritionally sound. . . " as long as teens consume soy beverages and cereals fortified with vitamin D and B12. The dietitians claim teens can get adequate calcium, iron, zinc and protein from vegetables, grains, fruit, and, of course, soy foods. No mention is made of vitamin A, so necessary for reproductive health, nor of the downside of all those soy foods. So, don't have a cow, Mom. Just don't expect to have any grandchildren."

Gee,I must have missed all the headlines about vegetarian women being physically incapable of having children!

I have so many problems with that paragraph I don't even know where to begin.

First of all, vegetarianism does not necessarily translate into a high consumption of soy foods.

Additionally, the term "soy foods" is too broad. Adding nutrient-packed soy foods like tempeh or tofu to a dish is very different from eating two bags of processed soy chips every day.

As for vitamin A: we know that 12 micrograms of beta-carotene equal 1 microgram of Vitamin A. We also know that women need 700 micrograms of vitamin A a day.

Let's do some math. A half cup of cooked sweet potato provides approximately 7,000 micrograms of beta carotene, which translates into roughly 580 micrograms of vitamin A (more than three quarters of a day's worth!)

If this women were to then eat some carrots, an orange, an egg, some vitamin A-fortified milk, or a grapefruit that same day, they would easily meet their vitamin A requirement. So, what is the problem?

Exhibit B:

"George Rene Francis of Sacramento, who turned 110 this year, enjoys "tons of milk, tons of eggs, lard on bread and salt pork sandwiches." He avoids visits to the doctor but smokes cigars. He credits his virility to a combination of fresh camel's milk, daily walks and plenty of meat—rabbit, lamb, chicken and wild animals, which he still hunts himself (, August 24, 2007)."

This is what you call bad science. No, make that horrendous science. Using an anomaly as proof of something is ludicruous. It's akin to a tobacco company using this news item to show that, hey, smoking is harmless!

Exhibit C:

"Today's dietary gurus tell us that we must eat vegetables and fruit to obtain vitamins and minerals. Per Magnuson, an astute member from Sweden, points out that fruits and vegetables cannot compare in nutrient levels with animal foods, especially nutrient-dense animal foods like liver. Here's what we came up with as a way of assessing the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables versus meat and liver. Note that every nutrient in red meat except for vitamin C surpasses those in apples and carrots, and every nutrient-including vitamin C-in beef liver occurs in exceedingly higher levels in beef liver compared to apple and carrots."

What a riot! How can someone in the nutrition field expect to be taken seriously when they don't take into account phytonutrients (which, by mere definition, are only available in plant foods)?

Good luck getting fiber from liver, too.

I also can't comprehend how so-called "experts" don't mention that one of the causes of hypervitaminosis A (vitamin A toxicity) is frequent consumption of liver!

Exhibit D:

"According to government and media health pundits, the top best 14 foods are:
  1. Beans
  2. Blueberries
  3. Broccoli
  4. Oats
  5. Oranges
  6. Pumpkin
  7. Salmon
  8. Soy
  9. Spinach
  10. Tea (green or black)
  11. Tomatoes
  12. Turkey
  13. Walnuts
  14. Yogurt

This uninspiring list reflects the current establishment angels (anti-oxidants and omega-3 fatty acids) and demons (saturated fats and animal foods).

Our list of the 14 best top foods, foods that supply vital nutrients including the fat-soluble vitamins, looks like this:

  1. Butter from grass-fed cows (preferably raw)
  2. Oysters
  3. Liver from grass-fed animals
  4. Eggs from grass-fed hens
  5. Cod liver oil
  6. Fish eggs
  7. Whole raw milk from grass-fed cows
  8. Bone broth
  9. Shrimp
  10. Wild salmon
  11. Whole yogurt or kefir
  12. Beef from grass-fed steers
  13. Sauerkraut
  14. Organic Beets

A diet containing only these foods will confer lifelong good health; a diet containing only the foods in the first list is the fast track to nutritional deficiencies."

Except that no one is saying people should limit themselves to the first fourteen items; rather, the recommendation is to include as many of them in your diet as you can. Making an argument based on erroneous pretenses is futile.

Besides, does anyone really believe that a diet rich in tea, fruits, and vegetables causes nutritional deficiencies?

And where did the list attributed to "government and media pundits" come from? That list is not nutrition dogma by any means; any dietitian will tell you that you can be perfectly healthy without ever eating a tomato or a pumpkin as long as your overall diet patterns are healthy.

Again, illogical conclusions based on bad science.

I rest my case.

Comments (1)
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You say lets start with the positive what about they advocate grass fed free range organic meat and animal products?  What about they advise the eating a well rounded diet full of vegitables and meat/animal products?  What about unlike many nutritional food organisations they speak about the preperation of food, not just the food itself.?   I always find it interesting, often when people attack weston price organization its obvouis from what they say they have not read what they are attacking in full context. 
Exhibit A
"As for vitamin A: we know that 12 micrograms of beta-carotene equal 1 microgram of Vitamin A. We also know that women need 700 micrograms of vitamin A a day"  Interesting seeing as the weston price organization clearly talks about theres a high percentage of the population unable to make the beta-carotene converstion.  They also talk about how this converstion is harder to make when there isnt healthy fat in the diet.  Yes I said healthy fat, thats another thing you failed to mention they clearly speak about the differences between healthy fat, and dangerous fat.
Exhibit B
"Good luck getting fiber from liver, too.

I also can't comprehend how so-called "experts" don't mention that one of the causes of hypervitaminosis A (vitamin A toxicity) is frequent consumption of liver!"

This one really made me laugh, as anyone who has fully read about weston price and taken the time and concideration to see the points there articles make, before passing judgement.  First of all weston price organisation has whole articles about how vitimin A toxicity is based on studys of synthetic vitimin A NOT natural sources of vitimin A(another positive thing you might have mentioned about the weston price organization  for talking about and promoting natural vitimin sources as aposed to synthetic sources.)  I would be very interested if you could post even 1 case where someone who consumed 10,000 to 30,000 IU's of vitimin A from NATURAL SOURCES(I am putting that in capitals because you didnt seem to read that article on there site about the difference between synthetic and natural source vitimin A..) per day had hypervitaminosis A (vitamin A toxicity).  Find a single case, within those ranges of vitimin A per day, after all 10,000 IU's of vitimin A is the suggested range according to weston price.

Now as for the narrow idea that the organisation is extreme, all I have to say is this.  How is advising people to have a wider selection in there diet extreme?  Vegiterinism, eating a diet completely free of meat is not extreme from the way your portraying this, but advising people to consume vegatibles prepared in a way that illiminates toxens from them first along with grass fed organic beef & a healthy type of fat.  Well then thats extreme?  Interesting I always seemed to think that balence was the oposite of extreme.  Its very easy to take clips out of articles without leaving links or showing them in complete context so people only read a chunk of the actuall meaning and attack that clip.  When you respond to something respond to it fully.  Though I wonder weather you actually completely read these articles or just skimmed through them anyways.  To anyone reading this I suggest instead of taking this advise, question it, questioning is good, but do your research fully!  Haff hearted judgements and incomplete attacks on other peoples persuit of truth is just pure ignorance.  So go to the weston price webpage and look up the articles he quoted from, read them fully and take a brouse around the page.  Then question that too.  But do your research completely before arriving at your opinion.
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