I think it was written to support a high-fat, low carb diet. But I'm not sure.
What the article did show is that 80% of the Inuit/Eskimo population has a genetic mutation that does not allow them to generate ketones, so the entire theory that keto dieters have been using, the one that says the "Inuit Diet" is proof that a ketogenic diet is safe and effective, is completely blown apart!
My friend "Duck Dodgers" has been tearing into the Inuit Diet for about a year on Free the Animal, and they have about 20 posts on the subject. Mostly, Duck's research has shown that the Inuit diet was not ketogenic because it contained too much protein and animal-type starches. All very fascinating, but now we see that not only was the diet not conducive to ketosis, but a ketogenic diet would have quickly wiped out the Inuit population, or at least those carrying the mutated gene some 2000 years ago when they settled the Arctic coastline.
I'm sure Richard and all the bloggers will soon be writing about this in a much more spectacular fashion than I am here, but I wanted to post this for your reading pleasure and a place to look at some of the science and studies before it is blown into a million pieces in the blogosphere.
This is a quick note I just wrote to Ned Rozell, director of the Geophysical Institute at the University of Fairbanks, Alaska. I'd like to get these guys on the case and make a real splash in the science and medical world. Wouldn't this make a great thesis for a grad student?
Hi, Ned - I've recently stumbled across some information that could set the science world abuzz. I'd love for you to take a look and help me spread the word.
I'm sure you are familiar with the concepts of "low carb" and "ketogenic" dieting. The world looks to the Inuit and Eskimo as the poster-children of a high fat, high protein diet. Eating a diet like this should force a person to generate ketones, and many diet programs, i.e., "Atkins," have been developed around ketogenic diets to induce weightloss.
Nearly any medical or scientific paper that discusses a ketogenic diet also discusses the Inuit as a group of people who remained healthy while in constant ketosis.
For instance: Ketogenic diets and physical performance by Stephen D Phinney:"Impaired physical performance is a common but not obligate result of a low carbohydrate diet. Lessons from traditional Inuit culture indicate that time for adaptation, optimized sodium and potassium nutriture, and constraint of protein to 15–25 % of daily energy expenditure allow"
And from: Arguments in Favor of Ketogenic Diets:"This is demonstrated by Inuit peoples, who can live on a diet based almost exclusively on fat; they do not suffer acidosis as a result of ketones, and therefore do not suffer from Ketoacidosis."
This recent journal study has come to my attention: A Selective Sweep on a Deleterious Mutation in CPT1A in Arctic Populations. This 2014 paper discusses a genetic mutation carried by 81% of those of Inuit and Eskimo descent. This mutation effects the CPT1A gene which is used in metabolic processes involving mitochondrial long-chain fatty-acid oxidation (ie. glycogen storage and ketosis). Specifically the mutation in the Arctic is called the "Inuit varient, Pro479Leu" mutation due to its location on the gene involved.
Approximately 80% of Eskimo children born in Alaska have this mutation, as explored in this 2011 Paper: Impaired fasting tolerance among Alaska native children with a common carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A sequence variant.
In this study, 5 Eskimo children with this gene mutation aged 3 and 4 were fasted for 20 hours, all of the kids displayed problems switching from stored glycogen to burning ketones when the glycogen stores were depleted.
The point of the study was whether or not to screen Eskimo newborns for this deleterious gene mutation. The conclusion was that screening was warranted, but that 80% would be found to have the variance. So counseling should be in order for all new Eskimo parents.
In an earlier paper on this CPT1A mutation in Inuits, Metabolic Disease Newsletter, 2006, from the Sheffield Children's Trust (UK), (pg 21), the disease was described in the same manner, and made extensive notes on the "traditional ketogenic diet" of the Inuit, using available references from the medical literature.
I thought you would find this interesting, and could even possibly get some interest at UAF to study this phenomenon and get the medical journals and history books corrected. The Eskimo and Inuit did not survive on a ketogenic diet, in fact, they could not! 80% of the now living Eskimos and Inuits cannot physically produce ketones. Surely the instance of this mutation was closer to 100% before western explorers began interbreeding with the indigenous peoples of the Arctic.
Also, warnings should be given to overweight Eskimos that an Atkins type ketogenic diet could be extremely harmful to their health.
I have lots more papers and references if you are interested in exploring this further.