The Eskimo Myth | NutritionFacts.org


As I reviewed in my video Is Fish Oil Just Snake Oil?, the revelation that fish oil appears useless in stopping heart disease—in each coronary heart sufferers and those making an attempt to stop coronary heart illness in the first place—leads one to marvel how this entire fish story began.

The widespread mythology is that in response to anecdotal stories of a low prevalence of coronary heart disease among the Eskimo, Danish researchers Bang and Dyerberg went there and confirmed a very low incidence of coronary heart attack. The absence of coronary artery illness can be unusual in a meat-based weight loss plan with hardly any vegatables and fruits—“in different words, a weight loss plan that violates all rules of balanced and heart-healthy nutrition.” This paradox was attributed to all of the seal and whale blubber, which is extraordinarily rich in omega-Three fish fats, and the remaining is historical past.

There’s an issue, although. It isn’t true.

As I talk about in my video Omega-3s and the Eskimo Fish Tale, the very fact is Bang and Dyerberg never examined the cardiovascular standing of the Eskimo; they only accepted at face worth this notion that coronary atherosclerosis is nearly unknown among the Eskimo, a concept that has been disproven time and again beginning back within the 1930s. In reality, going again greater than a thousand years, we have frozen Eskimo mummies with atherosclerosis. From 500 years ago, a lady in her early 40s had atherosclerosis in her aorta and coronary arteries. And these aren’t just isolated instances. The totality of proof from actual medical investigations, autopsies, and imaging methods is that they've the same plague of coronary artery disease that non-Eskimo populations have, and the Eskimo actually have twice the fatal stroke price and don’t reside notably lengthy.

“Considering the dismal health status of Eskimos, it is remarkable that instead of labelling their diet as dangerous to health,” they only accepted and echoed the myth, and tried to provide you with a purpose to elucidate the false premise. The Eskimo had such dismal health that the Westernization of their diets truly lowered their rates of ischemic coronary heart disease. You know your eating regimen’s dangerous when the arrival of Twinkies improves your health.

So, why achieve this many researchers to this present day unquestioningly parrot the myth? “Publications still referring to Bang and Dyerberg’s dietary studies as proof that Eskimos have low prevalence of [heart disease] symbolize either misinterpretation of the unique findings or an instance of confirmation bias,” which is when individuals cherry-pick or slant info to verify their preconceived notions. As the good scientist Francis Bacon put it: “Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true.” So, we get actually hundreds of articles on the alleged advantages of omega-Three fatty acids, a billion-dollar business promoting fish oil capsules, and tens of millions of Americans taking the stuff—all based mostly on a speculation that was questionable from the very beginning.


What’s this about no benefit for fish oil consumption and heart disease? See my video Is Fish Oil Just Snake Oil?.

What about fish oil for temper issues? See Fish Consumption and Suicide. Is Fish “Brain Food” for Older Adults? Should Vegans Take DHA to Preserve Brain Function? Consumption of long-chain omega-3s (EPA and DHA) could also be useful for forming and maintaining brain health, but there’s a wrestle between Mercury vs. Omega-3s for Brain Development when coming from fish or fish oil, because of how polluted our oceans have grow to be. In reality, this is the case even in “distilled” fish oil; see Fish Oil in Troubled Waters for extra. The marine pollutants might clarify the relationship between Fish and Diabetes and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease): Fishing for Answers. Thankfully, there at the moment are pollutant-free (yeast- and microalgae-derived) sources.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

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