Weston A. Price Foundation: shills and quacks

Posted on: Wed, 01/30/2008 - 17:26 By: Tom Swiss

I've been seeing flyers around lately for a upcoming lecture in D.C. by Weston A. Price Foundation president Sally Fallon. Today I got spam from them about it, which prompts me to post a bit about these shills and quacks.

The Weston A. Price Foundation is one of the primary groups responsible for spreading some of the FUD that you may have heard about soy products. Their interest (both philosophical and financial) is in promoting dairy consumption, specifically raw milk. They make claims about supporting "traditional diets", which would be fine - except that the use of dairy products is fairly new in the 200,000 years history of the human species, dating only to the neolithic revolution of about 10,000 years ago; and of course dairy consumption was just about unknown in many areas of the world where lactose intolerance is common. In fact, Price himself wasn't such an advocate of dairy.

They advocate a diet high in saturated fat, which according to our best scientific knowledge is linked to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. WAPF simply denies that such a link exists, sort of like how tobacco companies simply denied the link between smoking and lung cancer.

On the soy front, they point to studies where animals were injected with extracts of soy protein and got sick, and ignore studies where humans ate traditional soy foods and improved their health. (It is true, though, that overconsumption of processed soy foods is not healthy. Choose tempeh over TVP.)

There's a good series of articles about WAPF at vegsource.com, and a critique of their FUD about vegetarianism at energygrid.com.

Of course, even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and they do have a good point about the prevalence of processed food in the standard Western diet. Apart from that, though, it's mostly nonsense.

Aug 2011 update: after three years of comments -- some insightful, some ridiculous -- I've gotten tired of rebutting the same old WAPF propaganda over and over, so I'm closing comments on this post. A final comment here, and a related post here.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

You were dizzy and exhausted because your blood sugar was low, ya putz. Anyone with a brain knows you have to get enough calories.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

There's nothing to add here...
I too was a vegetarian, vegan and raw vegan.
I almost lost the function of my mind along w/ memory and ability to think straight...
It's taken me 7 years on WP [Weston Price] to get a semblance of health back.

Well said. Thank you.
I understand Tom's approach..he's mouthing the same old wrong informatoin that has been passed on from one generation to another, 35 years of low fat dogma, that no one bothers with current research.

Come on...don't be naive...the investment of the low fat dogma is billions of bucks. This ship isn't going to turn fast...but there are those of us out there that have changed our minds, done the research and *cringe* to see the younger generation buy into the dogma.

The politics of medicine reaches into and grabs the health of the unsuspecting and gullible. It's hard to watch and see dull hair, eating disorders and unecessary memory loss, not to mention high trigylcerides and sugar addiction.

Open the mind and do the research.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Quote: "I was subsiting on tomatoes, carrots, boiled greens and starchy vegetables or boiled beans"

OK that is a really unhealthy diet, and not at all in accord with a balanced vegan diet. I'm pretty sure neither Dr. Ornish nor Dr. McDougall suggest trying to subsist on that kind of menu.

Really, if you'd adopted a balanced vegan diet you probably would not have had any health problems. But the diet you described is insane. I'm sorry you were so badly misled, because somebody really put the wrong ideas into your mind. No wonder you felt sick.

It is easy to be healthy on a vegan diet so long as you follow sensible dietary practices and eat a reasonable variety of food including vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains.

Thanks Anonymous for talking right back to this guy. tom, I wish you would do what you say and admit "I don't want to eat meat" You have come up with a hundred excuses and you have been brazen enough to tell a poster _his_ reasons to eat it. You've announced that you know how someone else feels about his own mother and called yourself compassionate. The argument whether we should make someone stop eating meat only assumes hunting equates to murder. Over and over when reminded that killing other species is natural behavior you play warfare/cannibalism is natural behavior and noone has asked you how war/cannibalism and hunting are similar. They're similar in that they're behaviors you don't want people engaged in. You used just what animals do as an argument why we wouldn't eat meat yet an animals sentience why we should spare its life. It's obvious that to you it's worth imitating if it eats plants.
Over and over - yapping about loving an animal and never answer, why should we be compassionate?
Over and over, that animal thinks and loves and - yeah? and? big deal. Well if I kill an animal I might kill someone's mother - there you go. You've said his mother is as important as an animal. She has only the rights of an animal.
Oh, I can hear you respond, I care about her; I think she has the right to graze in the sun free from predators.
Predators? Oh, the animals that are allowed to kill! Let his mother be one of them.
But the woman doesn't need it! Necessity is a different argument from morality. I'm not going to give up something just because I don't need it. Especially when it's cheaper physiologically.

From pointless sympathy to circular morality to slipshod necessity, Swiss goes round and around an endless debate.
Yes, your third argument is sloppy. A 'significant' number of humans do without meat long periods...therefore they all can? A significant number do without meat, and are healthy - implying all of them, but you should say some of them. Fewer as the period stretches on. A 'significant' number...and it occurred to you that the number who are herbivores is the number who CAN be herbivores. Everybody else can't. They eat meat, and they continue to eat meat, in the face of massive propaganda that's into its second century.

Proprietor "unreasonable".org is ironically fitting. Drop evolution if it favors meat - Swiss doesn't want to listen.

"Consumption of dairy products was unknown for most of the existence of the human species, it began only with the Neolithic revolution. It cames common only in some cultures, and only became a mainstay fairly recently. No other mammal on the planet drinks milk into adulthood, and no other mammal drinks the milk of other species."

---- When milk consumption "appeared on the scene" and the "argument that {dairy consumption is an ancient and traditional} is specious" is irrelevant in light of the fact that milk IS THE ONLY FOOD IN NATURE that is specifically intended to be food for mammals. The substance that we are exclusively fed during the formative period of infancy (a time when we are growing and developing relatively greater in terms of mass and speed than any other time in our lives) is not beneficial to our health? You can split hairs by pointing out that Cow's milk is not Mother's milk but they are still simply variations of the same food.

Tens if not Hundreds of Thousand of people around the world can attest to improvements in their health related to the consumption of foods like raw milk, and other naturally farmed animal products. Probably just as many former vegetarians can attest to the negative effects that excluding animal products from their diet produced. Those numbers are obviously being pulled out of thin air, but I personally know a great number of individuals who fall into both categories.

Consult scientific data and your own food history research all you like; when it comes to practical, personal, real world, and applied observations about the debate which I have taken from my first hand experience and those of my friends and family, the WAP stance takes the cake in my little corner of the universe.

In reply to by Michael G (not verified)

milk IS THE ONLY FOOD IN NATURE that is specifically intended to be food for mammals. The substance that we are exclusively fed during the formative period of infancy (a time when we are growing and developing relatively greater in terms of mass and speed than any other time in our lives) is not beneficial to our health?

Why in the world would you assume that baby food is beneficial for adults? Nutritional needs vary greatly over the course of a life. An infant is growing rapidly; an adult is not growing. Of course their nutritional needs are different.

You can split hairs by pointing out that Cow's milk is not Mother's milk but they are still simply variations of the same food.

It's not splitting hairs; the nutritional profile of cows' milk is radically different than that of human milk, with more than three times the amount of protein, eight times the casein, and only a fraction of the polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Those numbers are obviously being pulled out of thin air

Michael, we have a great invention now called "science" which precludes the need to pull numbers out of thin air, and lets us engage in knowledgeable discussion about the objective universe based on careful, broad-ranging observation.

You ought to check it out sometime.

Tom Swiss - proprietor, unreasonable.org

In reply to by Tom Swiss

We should all remember, in discussions such as these, that many things in the world are more complex than we give them credit for.
Breast milk is one such issue, where the differences between foremilk and hindmilk are stark in nutritional qualities and would require, if referencing this in discussion, different nutritional references.
We must be careful also, that we do not overstep the use of simile to make our points. Although a leap of logic could connect eating meat with eating our grandparents, this is perhaps not as reasoned as it appears.
If our goal is to create discussion, then let us discuss and not make rash accusations or fearful comments. If our goal is to badger one another, then perhaps I needn't read this blog anymore.

LSC - Concerned citizen

In reply to by Tom Swiss

Did you mean splitting hairs or splitting hares? Sorry, couldn't help myself... tee hee a wee bit o'levity injected here...

In reply to by Michael G (not verified)

I grew up on a farm. Calves will drink their mother's milk as long as they can.They will drink it as adults if the mother and calf are not separated or the mother gets pregnant with another calf. It's a funny sight...an adult cow suckling. There is research on the fact that wild fish have healthy oils versus farmed. I have a feeling range fed animals have healthy fat. I also feel that raw milk from healthy cows is healthier too, having grown up eating and drinking both. I am far healthier than my children are, to whom i gave all sorts of soy products on doctor's orders.


Clearly you think you're a romantic, however, that's in your own little world and mind. I find it quite hypocritical of you to attack every other human on the basis of diet alone. So if you're an example of a compassionate vegan, what's a mean one like?

Apparently, your diet is not very calming because I find you one stressed individual, who simply felt that you must go on the attack. Obviously your approach doesn't work. Further simply disrespecting everyone because of their food choice is extremely childish considering most of your way of life comes from the very things which you say you abhor. How do you think you get all the finer things in life so you can shrill about them while typing on your keyboard?

If you believe that a grass fed animal herd being milked is cruel then when you sucked your mom's tits was she being cruel to you or did you enjoy it?

Fact is I find your lack of knowledge and reason to be likened to a child who simply cannot believe that they're not right and must throw a tantrum.

Further you're only 40, let's see where you are at 50/60 on your diet. Also, all due respect to your karate (art), I don't see you fighting anyone, you look about as powerful as a stick, maybe you should try UFC to prove your point. I see no big deal in breaking cinder blocks as many little old ladies (non-vegan) can do that without much training.

Aajonus health fell apart on a strict vegan diet, and he bicycled north america for 2.5 years. Then switching to his current raw paleo diet obtained super-health. During his exerice days he was running up to 13 miles, doing 250 pushups 2-3 feet off the ground and 30 handstand pushups daily. So can you do this daily? I doubt it or you'd be bragging about it.

The point is you cannot tell people one diet works for all because it doesn't. To me you're worse then the people you abhor, because with them I know what I'm getting with you, you simply are a hater in sheeps clothing. That's abundantly clear. Recall Hitler was a vegetarian too, obviously he liked animals more than people.

However, you could become the kind ambassador of veganism and do great athletic feats to prove us all wrong.

The world awaits your arrival.........

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

You know, it takes a lot of chutzpa to come here to my blog, post inaccurate information and personal attacks, and then claim that I'm the one who's "on the attack" or "one stressed individual"!

But let's return to facts and ideas rather than to personal attacks:

If you believe that a grass fed animal herd being milked is cruel then when you sucked your mom's tits was she being cruel to you or did you enjoy it?

Fact is I find your lack of knowledge and reason to be likened to a child who simply cannot believe that they're not right and must throw a tantrum.

Most ironic here how you display your ignorance about dairy production before you claim I lack knowledge...

Anyway, Anonymous, putting aside the fact that "grass fed" animals make up a trivial portion of animal agriculture, just how do you think that dairy farmers get cows to give milk? Cows, like other mammals, only give milk after they've given birth. To keep the milk flowing, dairy production requires that many calves be born. And what do you think happens to the calves? Do they get to hang around their mom living carefree lives in the pasture? Of course not. They're taken away, usually almost immediately. Some go for veal; of the remainder, some the females end up as dairy cows, the males and many of the females are butchered for their flesh within a few years.

And what do you think happens once a dairy cow stops producing enough to make her profitable? They don't have a retirement plan. (Well, except in some parts of India, and a few places run by Hare Krishnas in the West.) The natural lifespan of a cow is about 25 years, but the average dairy cow lives only about 5 years before she is slaughtered.

So, if my mom -- or your mom -- was being kept pregnant all the time so that she would continue to give milk, with the children either slaughtered for meat or condemned to the same sort of life that she is, and was killed as soon as she was no longer profitably producing milk...yes, I'd say that's pretty cruel. Wouldn't you?

Also, all due respect to your karate (art), I don't see you fighting anyone, you look about as powerful as a stick, maybe you should try UFC to prove your point.

I never claimed to be a champion athlete. (And it's pretty easy to insult somebody when you post anonymously, isn't it?) But we kumite pretty regularly. I've had no problem keeping up with my omnivorous dojo-mates. (Including one nice but misled fellow who's all into the "paleo" diet craze.)

It's pretty ridiculous to suggest that I start training for the UFC. Fortunately, the world doesn't need me to provide an example of vegan athleticism -- it's got people with talent, something I lack in abundance!

In fighting sports, it's got Mac Danzig, MMA champion. It also has Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis, champion triathlete Dave Scott (no longer vegan -- apparently for him it was a training regimen only -- but he was vegan when he won his six Ironmans, and he says he's still a strong advocate of vegetarian diets), ultramarathoner and triathlete Brendan Brazier, and ultramarathoner Scott Jurek, to name a few.

So maybe Aajonus tried veganism and got it wrong -- so what? He's a quack who promotes iridology, for crying out loud. This is not someone discerning people should turn to for nutritional science.

The point is you cannot tell people one diet works for all because it doesn't.

I haven't made any claims about "one diet", since vegan diets encompass a large variety, from the Ornish plan to eco-Atkins. I would certainly never claim that one diet works for all people: an eighty year old man has different nutritional needs than a ten year old girl. But based on the science -- rather than on anecdotal evidence of people who tried poorly planned plant-based diets and, unsurprisingly, didn't do well -- I can claim that vegan diets do indeed encompass a range than can meet the needs of all of these groups.

That's not my personal opinion, nor one based on anecdote; that's the position of the American Dietetic Association, which states that "appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate...[and] are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes."

Recall Hitler was a vegetarian too

No, Hitler was not a vegetarian. You've fallen for Nazi propaganda -- they liked to portray him as some sort of ascetic spiritual master, but he loved sausages and booze.

You might want to think about how easily you fell for that propaganda, as you assess your response to the propaganda of the meat and dairy industries.

Tom Swiss - proprietor, unreasonable.org

"which according to our best scientific knowledge is linked to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke."

That is completely false. In fact there is not one single study proving this, but proving the exact opposite.

It was part of a vegetarian agenda to tell us all that saturated fats were bad.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

It's a well-worn talking point from WAPFers and their ilk that there is no evidence that saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease.

Like most of their contentions, it's nonsense:

"The associations suggest that replacing SFAs with PUFAs rather than MUFAs or carbohydrates prevents CHD over a wide range of intakes." -- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19211817?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez…

"Regarding the type of fat, cross-sectional data suggest that saturated fat adversely affects vascular function whereas polyunsaturated fat (mainly linoleic acid (18 : 2n-6) and n-3 PUFA) are beneficial." -- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19243668?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez…

"Compelling evidence from metabolic studies, prospective cohort studies, and clinical trials in the past several decades indicates that at least 3 dietary strategies are effective in preventing CHD: substitute nonhydrogenated unsaturated fats for saturated and trans-fats; increase consumption of omega-3 fatty acids from fish, fish oil supplements, or plant sources; and consume a diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains and low in refined grain products. However, simply lowering the percentage of energy from total fat in the diet is unlikely to improve lipid profile or reduce CHD incidence." -- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12444864?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSy…

"Higher levels of saturated fat and lower levels of polyunsaturated fats were each associated with a higher risk of CHD in elderly men, and these associations were partly explained by their effects on blood lipids and biomarkers of inflammation." -- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19105853?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez…

"... intakes of longer-chain saturated fatty acids (12:0â<80><93>18:0) were each separately associated with a small increase in risk [of CHD]." -- http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/70/6/1001?ijkey=0d9e9b300cd3ac…

"Forty countries at various levels of economic development and 40 dietary variables were investigated, including a lipid score that combined the intakes of cholesterol and saturated fat (Cholesterol-Saturated Fat Index [CSI]). The CSI was significantly and positively related to CHD mortality in the 40 countries." -- http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/88/6/2771?ijkey=872a6f…

"When saturated or trans unsaturated fats are replaced with monounsaturated or n-6 polyunsaturated fats from vegetable oils, primarily low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol decreases." -- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12566134?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSy…

"The saturated fatty acids lauric (12:0), myristic (14:0), and palmitic (16:0) acids definitely raise plasma cholesterol concentrations. The medium- and short-chain fatty acids with <=10 carbons are handled by the body more like carbohydrates than fats and have no effects on plasma cholesterol concentrations.... On the basis of 14 y of follow-up data and analyses of dietary intakes, dietary stearic acid was shown to increase the risk of coronary heart disease more so than did palmitic, myristic, and lauric acids." -- http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/70/6/951?ijkey=f6983ca53886533e447…

"We examined associations between dietary fatty acids and progression of coronary artery disease (CAD) in 50 men receiving a lipid-lowering diet or usual care in the St Thomas' Atherosclerosis Regression Study.... Progression of CAD over 39 mo, measured by a decrease in minimum absolute width of coronary segments (MinAWS) on angiography, was highly correlated with intakes of palmitic, stearic (18:0), palmitoleic, and elaidic (t-18:1) acids (P < 0.001)... We suggest that progression of CAD in men is strongly related to intakes of both long-chain saturates and trans unsaturates..." -- http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/64/2/202?ijkey=10643bbbdd3196e…

Tom Swiss - proprietor, unreasonable.org

Weston A. Price foundation is all FOR "traditional soy foods," as you call them. Because traditional soy foods are fermented. Nothing like what is available at most health food stores nowadays. Modern soy foods are highly processed and contain problematic ingredients, many of which are there because the soy has NOT been fermented. Your comment about dairy consumption beginning only in the last 10,000 years made me laugh. And I guess you've got some sort of proof that people who [supposedly] lived before that time were healthier before dairy was "introduced." Ha! Good one! I think I'll stick with diets that have worked to keep cultures healthy over time. That would most certainly NOT include vegetarianism or veganism OR eating junky, synthetic-laced soy products.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Because traditional soy foods are fermented.

Tofu is not fermented. Edamame is not fermented. Yuba is not fermented. These foods have been eaten for thousands of years and are are as traditional as anything. A typical traditional Japanese diet includes several dozen pounds of these unfermented soy foods annually.

WAPF's claims about this are simply wrong.

Modern soy foods are highly processed and contain problematic ingredients, many of which are there because the soy has NOT been fermented.

I am not advocating highly-processed soy foods, TVP type of stuff or soy protein isolates -- any more that I advocate highly-processed corn foods, or highly-processed wheat foods, or highly-processed potato foods. But that has nothing to do with fermentation.

Your comment about dairy consumption beginning only in the last 10,000 years made me laugh.

What do you find amusing about it? The fact that dairy consumption is relatively recent, demonstrates that it is not a necessary food for humans.

I think I'll stick with diets that have worked to keep cultures healthy over time. That would most certainly NOT include vegetarianism or veganism OR eating junky, synthetic-laced soy products.

Vegetarianism has served to keep some Buddhist and Hindu cultures healthy over time, as well as groups like Seventh-Day Adventists. (No, not all Buddhists or Hindus are vegetarians, but certainly enough are to give historical data, and the SDAs have been the subject of many, many studies about vegetarianism.) Some of those cultures made only minimal use of dairy or eggs -- Zen shojin ryori cuisine is pretty much vegan, though it is true that strict veganism is a fairly new idea, a reaction to the industrialization of agriculture.

I certainly don't recommend eating junky, synthetic-laced anything. But that has nothing to do with soy.

And if you're going to look for a diet to keep you healthy over time, you'll want to stay away from the WAPF's recommendations.

Tom Swiss - proprietor, unreasonable.org

I came to this site because I couldn't find what I wanted on WAPF. At a recent community fair, photos were displayed of people with elongated heads (several photos looked deliberately distorted) and the contention was made that they were that way because of processed foods. They were characterized as ill and "mouth-breathers." Other photos showed people with rounder heads and big smiles -- purportedly eaters of raw milk and additive-free foods.

I'd like to know:

Where did these photos come from? Did someone actually do a study of people brought up on different foods? Is there any way to determine a) how many have elongated heads, b) is there an unusual percentage among those of a certain diet, c) whether their diet or other causes like heredity determined their head shape d) whether that head shape is in fact any sort of diability? (Not counting anyone's aesthetic preferences for round or long faces.)

And why get worked up about it if there's nothing we can do?

In reply to by travellinpat (not verified)

"I came to this site because I couldn't find what I wanted on WAPF."

You couldn't find any information that fit your assumptions about the WAPF, so you came to this site?

"Where did these photos come from?"

We can't say for sure, because you haven't provided us the pictures.
Did you ask the people at the community fair? I'm sure they were friendly enough.

Otherwise, it's well known that Weston A. Price traveled to many different "primitive" societies around the globe and took exhaustive dental surveys and facial photos. In order to minimize confounding elements such as genetics, he compared closely genetically related groups eating both their traditional diets versus the Western diet. In several instances, Price documented developmental differences between identical twins on a traditional versus Western diet. While many would say, "yeah, no shit. Eat a lot of sugar and your teeth will rot out.", the more intriguing finding was that cranial/skeletal development was significantly detrimentally affected by the Western diet (or conversely, a deficiency of many nutrients, especially the fat soluble vitamins). If Price's findings are true, this deficiency in the Western diet impacts the broadness of the skull leading to a skinny, pinched face, weak jaw, underdeveloped sinuses, and a narrowed dental arch leading to horrible crowding of the teeth - thus explaining the pictures you're asking about. Aside from the near absence of cavities, the occurrence of such skeletal developmental disfigurement essentially wasn't found in peoples eating a traditional diet.

"And why get worked up about it if there's nothing we can do?"

We *should* get worked up about it because the findings of Weston A. Price's 10 year long, globe spanning observational study are compelling, regardless of your dietary persuasion. I'm not going to suggest that a vegan diet is unhealthy. That's not my angle. Any diet can be unhealthy if you're not paying attention. The take away is: the Western diet is crap, the SAD is crap. Eat real nutrient dense food, get enough sun. Don't overindulge in sugar and refined carbs. Have a good one.

In reply to by Sebastapol (not verified)

We *should* get worked up about it because the findings of Weston A. Price's 10 year long, globe spanning observational study are compelling, regardless of your dietary persuasion.

First, we shouldn't confuse Price, with the kooks at the WAPF who have taken his name.

Anyway, Price's observations might be compelling if they were reliable. But Price was a dentist, not an anthropologist or a nutritionist or any sort of scientist. His work was not published in a peer-reviewed journal, where biases in selection or interpretation could be analyzed.

We don't need Price or the WAPF to tell us that the SAD is crap; anyone with a passing knowledge of nutrition has been saying that for decades. Price was certainly not the first to argue that a "primitive" diet would be more conducive to health. See for example this 1906 article from a Battle Creek Sanitarium journal which claims that "the present dietary of civilized human beings is not rational" (and also that "it will not do to draw too hasty conclusions from observations made upon savages. If lessons are to be learned from savage man, we must study him in his native tropical wilds, where he is abundantly provided with edible fruits and nuts, which his anatomical structure shows to be his natural diet").

Tom Swiss - proprietor, unreasonable.org

In reply to by Tom Swiss

"Anyway, Price's observations might be compelling if they were reliable."

While I am skeptical to downright dismissive of *some* of Price's conclusions, the observational studies comprised of dental, dietary, and photographic records are most certainly compelling (that is worthy of attention and controlled studies), especially coupled with genealogical comparisons and labs assays he performed which were used to determine which compounds were most likely responsible for health sustaining effects.

"But Price was a dentist, not an anthropologist or a nutritionist or any sort of scientist."

Information regarding Price's qualifications is readily available:

Weston A. Price, MS., D.D.S., F.A.G.D.
Member Research Commission, American Dental Association
Member American Association of Physical Anthropologists
Author, "Dental Infections, Oral and Systemic"
Author, "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration"

(F.A.G.D means "Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry").

He was a dentist, but he was also an anthropologist (specifically physical anthropology, not social anthropology). So, Price was some sort of scientist - he studied physical anthropology, a subject of immediate relevance to his study of nutrition and physical degeneration.

"His work was not published in a peer-reviewed journal..."

His work was said to have been published in peer-reviewed journals of his day. That was a while ago... I'm afraid I don't have references, nor do I know what journals. I think this is a fair point you make and demands an answer.

"Price was certainly not the first to argue that a "primitive" diet would be more conducive to health."

Agreed. Though he was one of the few to amass so much evidence in support of such an argument.

Thank you for the url to the Battle Creek Sanitarium Journal. Looks interesting. Though, without knowing more about the material from which you got your quote about abundantly provided fruits and nuts, it's fair to say that Price's work is far more comprehensive, and looks at dietary practices of healthy "primitives" in very different and diverse climates (that is, where fruits and nuts aren't so abundant).

In reply to by Sebastapol (not verified)

Membership in a professional organization is not the same as academic credentials.

And any doofus can write a book (I'm doing it myself right now!); that's not a qualification.

So I repeat: Price's credentials were in dentistry, not in nutrition or anthropology.

Now, that's not to say that an outsider to a field can't do important and significant work. But when decades later, an outsider's work still stands outside...I think that lets you know if its valuable or not.

Tom Swiss - proprietor, unreasonable.org


I understand the WAPF claims about the anti-nutritive qualities of soy. What occurs to me is that if they are true, the best counter-measures would be bone broth and fatty meat. So maybe unfermented soy is okay if you're an omnivore (like those Okinawans). Just a little food for thought...

In reply to by Jim Brewster

Well, the first problem here is that the WAPF's claims about soy being anti-nutritive are bogus. Phytates do reduce the absorption of some minerals, but are found in a variety of plant foods. If soy is anti-nutritive because of them, so are most other legumes, whole grains, pretty much anything with fiber.

More than that, phytates have antioxidant and anti-tumor properties, decrease cholesterol and triglyceride production, and help reduce the overall glycemic index of meals of which they are a part. There is also evidence that phytates are protective against osteoporosis.

Indeed, the picture that's emerging suggests that rather than being an "anti-nutrient", phytates are actually a vital nutrient. The fact that they interfere with absorption of other nutrients is not at all unprecedented -- for example, to take an example close to the WAPF's heart, vitamin A interferes with absorption of vitamin K. I don't see them accusing vitamin A of being an "anti-nutrient" as a result.

If phytates effect on mineral absorption is problematic in some population eating a high-phytate, low mineral diet, probiotics to up the levels of phytase are a potential solution.

I would not be surprised if fermented soyfoods were a good source of such probiotics -- to re-emphasize, I'm not against fermented soy. Ate a lot of miso when I was in Japan! (Trying to watch the salt, though, so it's a balancing act as always.)

So, yes, unfermented soy is fine if you're an omnivore. It's also fine if you're a vegetarian or vegan.

John Robbins analyzes the soy kerfuffle at his " healthyat100.org" website -- though I doubt you'll take his word for it, which is why I sought to provide as neutral third-party sources as I could in the links above.

Tom Swiss - proprietor, unreasonable.org

Did you know that USA and Europe blocked Wikileaks? What do you think about it?
Hih you hear me??

Veganism and vegetarinism are senseless when you consider predator-prey relations and when it comes to your need for omega-3s in balence with omega-3s. If you don't listen to me oh well, you will be infertile as a result. Soy is nutriution deficient and a scam.

By the way thanks for censoring the important things I have to say because I don't agree with you!

In reply to by Biologist (not verified)

Guess where the animals get their omega 3s? Omega 3s are processed naturally through the consumption of greens. Why eat second hand omega 3s that are attached to cholesterol and zero fiber and nutrition? Cut out the middle man and eat your omega 3s (and all other nutrients) through a balanced plant based diet.

Please display the studies on which you are basing the evidence is a scam.

I have to say that since we changed over to the WAPF way of eating, we are feeling better health-wise. Not perfect. But better. We have been researching THEIR research for over a year now and it really makes a lot of sense. Also, although they CAN, (see their website), bowl you over with a lot of scientific/medical jargon, they also have no problem in breaking it down for the layman. They don't use elitist verbiage to try and scare away those with opposing opinions. That's such a cop-out.
I can't help but wonder if the writer of this article has taken any time past skimming the raw surface, to consider that what they say is right...much more than 'twice a day' as in the clock illustration given.
I know young mothers who have switched, mid-stream, to feeding their babies as advised by "Nourishing Traditions", the encyclopedic book written by your hero, Sally Fallon Morrell. Some of these babies suffered from constant colic, others with failure-to-thrive...and many of them had been prescribed by conventional medicine to switch to soy milk. What a dumb answer. When these moms made the WAPF switch, against the 'sound advice' of their pediatricians, they saw an immediate improvement in the health of their children. And those same children thrive to this day. Not fat. Not sick. Eating meat. And eggs. And the saturated fats so necessary to the development of children.
I will not get into the debate between vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters. Good grief. Do we not have enough contention in this world? HOWEVER, like another reader who left a comment, I want to be able to eat as I believe is best for me. I want to be able to share what I believe is good, too. And that means, I don't want to have people like you spitting out your contagious and venomous propaganda to those who just might benefit from seeing things from a different angle.
This age is the age of tolerance, and I would venture to guess that you are one who preaches it...Yet...where is yours? There is no one answer to eating. I am partial, yes, to WAPF, but I would not venture to pretend they have all the answers any more than you should venture to pretend you do.

Inuits, who meat industry lobbyist like WAPF(ironically and misleadingly) use as an “example of health,” life expectancy is 43.5 years.

Not only that. All the fat they consume is "natural" and unprocessed and their 3rd leading cause of death(suicide is number 1) is ischemic heart disease. Sound familiar?

Inuits have the highest osteoporosis rates in the world!!!

I just came through here via GirlieGirlArmy.com and wanted to just say how scary the comments on this blog post are. None of you really know much of anything, do you? Yet it's the internet, and everyone is a genius/anthropologist/historian/dietitian. Really people?

It's completely inaccurate to say that the WAPF are anti-soy.

They make it clear that the problem lies in soy that hasn't been adequately prepared, or that has undergone industrial processing. In other words, cheap mass-commodity soy milk (an offshoot of soy processing that's easy to package and sell) is best avoided, whilst traditionally-prepared soy foods like tempeh, miso, natto, shoyu, and tofu that has had a long fermentation period, are fine.

It's quick and easy to find their perspective on soy by reading their articles, which are nuanced and informative.

In reply to by Brian Cormack Carr (not verified)

There is nothing "nuanced and informative" about WAPF's position on soy -- or anything else, for that matter. They are to nutrition what Scientology is to mental health.

Sally Fallon has claimed that feeding infants soy formula can influence sexual orientation and lead to learning disabilities, despite any lack of scientific evidence for such a claim.

Tofu, by the way, is not a fermented food. And there's nothing wrong with organic, non-GMO soy milk.

Gobsmacked ... just gobsmacked by the overweening arrogance and ignorance of vegan contributors here. Why do vegetarians call themselves "vegetarians" when they plainly have no great love of vegetables, but prefer grain and soy? Furthermore, why don't vegetarians expose their real agenda and refer to themselves, far more accurately, as "anti-carnivores"? A little honesty from the vegan/vegetarian ranks would be refreshing.

In reply to by Jacqui (not verified)

In the broadest sense, "vegetable" means any edible plant part, so grains and soy count. I have no idea on what basis you claim that vegetarians "prefer grain and soy", do you have some data? There's a huge variety in vegetarian diets. Personally I like grains and soy just fine, but I also like (from yesterday's shopping) almonds, walnuts, eggplant, zucchini, red peppers, sweet potatoes, pears, lettuce, spinach, olives, orange juice, dried pineapple... If I'm mentioning grains and soy more often here, it's largely because I've been debunking smear campaigns by those with financial or emotional ties to flesh eating.

Whenever anyone starts talking about a group's "real agenda", I have to think they've been listening to too many conspiracy theories. My "real agenda" is to promote compassionate, healthy, sustainable food choices, that is all. If there's some other vegetarian agenda, no one's let me in on it yet.

Another comment: vegetarians who eat dairy, eggs and fish - aren't these folks just giant hypocrites? Where's the compassion for the fish? Why don't they care about the millions of male chicks and male calves slaughtered every year because those male animals can't grow up to produce eggs or milk, like the females? Furthermore, male chicks can't even be used as meat, because egg-laying chickens are a special breed with less meat on them than broiler chickens (but greater egg output).

I respect vegans - at least they practise what they preach. But I have zero respect for vegetarians who consume eggs, dairy, fish, etc, because such vegetarians contribute to the mass slaughter of animals while pretending to be more virtuous than omniovres. Shame!

You are basically the essence of a shill or quack and have no idea what you are talking about. Fermented soy is the only true healthful form of soy, even the Japanese know this and you know nothing of their dietary heritage. As far as Weston A. Price goes...if these people who believe they are eating soy for their health switch their soy habit for real milk they would live a much healthier life. I have a degree in this "quackary" and wish people like you would stop spreading such unfounded ideas. Also, if you want to talk $ let us look at the large paper trail between the government and the soy industry, ESPECIALLY the wonderful gmo soy they have blessed us with. OPEN YOUR EYES.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

As you say, sir, you have a degree in quackary.

I've spent months in Japan. I ate plenty of unfermented soy there. (Mmm, edamame.)

If you want to talk $, you ought to understand that the vast majority of soy goes for animal feed. Industrial soy producers are quite happy for you to consume unhealthful flesh, milk, and eggs, thus keeping up the demand for animal feed that keep their profits up. As you say, sir, OPEN YOUR EYES.

I ate a raw vegan diet for four years. I felt good initially and finally became sick from nutrient deficiency. Eat the way you wish and let others do the same without your vegan diatribe. WAPF promotes private, small dairy farms. How are they making money by promoting raw milk (unlike raw gurus who sell warehouses full of goods)? I know soy isn't good for thyroid unless it's fermented. Even vegan websites will tell you that!

In reply to by Allisom (not verified)

So you ate a bad vegan diet -- most raw vegan diets are poor, though I believe that with a lot of effort it can be done right -- and rather that switching to a good vegan diet, you started harming animals again. Apparently, you never understood veganism, but are just hopping fads.

Many of those "private, small dairy farms" are run by WAPF members. Obviously, building up the demand for the bacteria-laden milk they provide makes them money.

I'll be happy to let others eat what they want without complaint -- even if it's suicidally damaging to their own health -- when it becomes cruelty-free and sustainable. A diet with a significant amount of flesh or milk can be neither. While you kill and torture my fellow mammals, and destroy my environment, for the pleasure of your palate, I believe I have the right to complain.

Soy does not have significant effects on thyroid function in healthy individuals: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16571087 If you have thyroid problems, you might want to be careful about soy -- as well as cabbage, kale, flax, broccoli, and almonds, there's nothing special about soy here.

After three years, I'm getting tired of correcting the same mis-information over and over again, so I'm closing comments on this post. But first -- since it is my blog :-) -- a few final words in summary:

Sally Fallon and her Weston A. Price Foundation are to nutrition what Scientology is to mental health. They promote homeopathy and unpasteurized milk, and denigrate vaccination; this tells you all you need to know about their attitude towards science.

As John Robbins points out, WAPF's propaganda have little to do with the work of Weston Price himself. By rights, the group probably ought to be called the Sally Fallon foundation. Price got at least a few things right -- though he knew little about nutrition or anthropology, the link between illness and a diet heavy in processed foods is clear enough that even an amateur like himself could see it clearly. But that has little to do with the WAPF's emotional and financial attachment to flesh foods and dairy.

WAPF's anti-soy propaganda has no scientific basis. The American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines say,

In humans, very limited data to date suggest that soy phytoestrogens have a low affinity for human postnatal estrogen receptors and low potency in bioassays...Although studied by numerous investigators in various species, there is no conclusive evidence from animal, adult human, or infant populations that dietary soy isoflavones may adversely affect human development, reproduction, or endocrine function.

and a review in The Journal of Nutrution notes

There is intriguing animal and epidemiologic evidence indicating that modest amounts of soy consumed during childhood and/or adolescence reduces breast cancer risk. Evidence also suggests that soy reduces prostate cancer risk and inhibits prostate tumor metastasis, but additional clinical support for the chemopreventive effects of soyfoods is needed. Soy protein is modestly hypocholesterolemic and there is suggestive epidemiologic evidence that soyfoods lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) independent of effects on cholesterol. In clinical studies, soy favorably affects multiple CHD risk factors; however, with the exception of improved endothelial function, the data are too limited and/or inconsistent to allow definitive conclusions to be made. In regard to bone health, although recent clinical data have not supported the skeletal benefits of isoflavones, 2 large prospective epidemiologic studies found soy intake is associated with marked reductions in fracture risk. Soybean isoflavones also modestly alleviate hot flashes in menopausal women. Finally, other than allergic reactions, there is almost no credible evidence to suggest traditional soyfoods exert clinically relevant adverse effects in healthy individuals when consumed in amounts consistent with Asian intake.

That's not to say that you should fill your diet with soy. And you certainly should not load up on processed, chemically extracted soy protein isolate from GMO soybeans; but there is no evidence that reasonable amounts of soy from soy milk, tofu, edamame, miso, or tempeh, from non-GMO is harmful, and plenty of evidence that it helps. For example:

WAPF likes to make much of the phytates found in soy. These do reduce the absorption of some minerals, but are found in a variety of plant foods. If soy is anti-nutritive because of them, so are most other legumes, whole grains, pretty much anything with fiber. But more than that, phytates have antioxidant and anti-tumor properties, decrease cholesterol and triglyceride production, and help reduce the overall glycemic index of meals of which they are a part. There is also evidence that phytates are protective against osteoporosis. The picture that's emerging suggests that rather than being an "anti-nutrient", phytates are actually a vital nutrient.

WAPF's claims that traditional soy foods are fermented is simply untrue. And Fallon's claims that soy makes kids gay and causes learning disabilities ought to be filed under bizarre conspiracy theories, not serious debate.

Now, this is all an odd argument anyway, because you don't have to eat soy to be vegan. I ate very little soy for the first decade or so of my veganism, and only began to incorporate it as the evidence of its benefits mounted. But WAPF's anti-soy FUD well-illustrates their tactics in all areas: ignore science, make vague claims of vast conspiracies of vegetarians, industrial food producers (never mind that the vast majority of soy goes to animal feed, and so "Big Soy" is quite happy to have you eating meat), and government, and romanticize the past.

Another WAPF contention that is simply untrue is their claim that there is no evidence proving a link between saturated fat and heart disease. I've linked to several studies about this in posts above, here and here. We also have evidence that saturated fat blocks insulin and leptin in the brain and has addictive potential. We can rationally argue over how strong the evidence is, or that there are other factors involved; but any claims that there is no evidence for a link between saturated fat intake and heart disease are just plain wrong.

It is, of course, possible to eat an unhealthful vegan diet. Beer and corn chips are vegan -- you can even get them organic!

Vegan diets encompass a large variety, from the Ornish plan to eco-Atkins to raw vegan. It's worth noting that almost all of the folks who tell me how ill they were on a vegan diet and how they're much better now that they're eating animal flesh again, were eating raw vegan. The proper conclusion would be that raw veganism is difficult to do well, and eat some cooked vegetables, legumes, and grains; instead, these folks jumped from the fad of raw veganism to the fad of the WAPF-style diet.

In defence of the Weston A. Price Foundation
I am posting my thoughts on the continual defamation of the foundation set up to honour and continue the work of Weston Andrew Price. One would have thought that the Weston Price Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that promotes healthy food, healthy eating, raw milk and most importantly the health and well being of moo cows and other animals, is surely a good thing and would be embraced wholeheartedly. I would also have thought that vegans, lacto-vegans or whatever ridiculous name you guys call yourselves nowadays, would actually be applauding the Foundation and the work they continue. They stand for such ridiculous policies of hormone free, un-pasteurized milk, grass fed beef. Hence the expression, ‘clean cows clean milk’. I’m not sure if any of the lettuce nibblers on this site are/were aware of the Posilac/rGBH scandal in America. I’m not American I’m Irish so I’m not sure if this shit is still being used in America so perhaps someone can enlighten me on this one. So you guys are happy to slag off the Weston Price Foundation, but have not got the bottle to criticise Monsanto, McDonalds, Burger King and all the other multinational, powerful corporations collectively known as Big Food and Big Chemical? Unbelievable but everything I would expect from people whose main source of meat/protein comes from tofu or soy or some other crap like that. I’m sure my soy munching friends would be delighted to know the facts about their beloved soy. 97% of the world’s soybean crop is genetically modified. This does not mean that it grows faster or produces more soybeans. It simply means that it is resistant to the herbicide sprayed on it. Which means well intentioned but ignorant farmers are free to spray huge amounts of Roundup which contains a substance called glyphosphate. I’m not going to get into the chemical structure of this filth but it’s safe to say this substance will wipe out all and every wildlife it’s sprayed near. Monsanto was the chief supplier to the US government of Agent Orange which was used by the US military to defoliate the rain forest eco-systems of Southeast Asia. Unbeknown to the US military(although I have my doubts) but known to Monsanto was that the Agent Orange contained Dioxin a mortal and toxic poison, one of the most toxic ever created by man.
Bottom line guys is that people will be eating meat for the foreseeable future, me included. In actual fact im going to see is there any juicy steak in the fridge. But I also agree with you guys that animals should be treated with love, care and compassion, which is where the Weston A. Price Foundation comes in. So I suggest that you guys get some meat into you (excuse the pun), and take the fight to the real abusers of the animals you profess to love, i.e. McDonalds, KFC (they’re real bad!), Burger King, Walmart, etc.
All I have heard so far is idiotic treehuggers whingeing about how we shouldn’t eat meat or drink milk, or the ludicrous argument that it is a front for the beef or dairy industry. So you fools should wise up and realize it’s not going to change, like I said the Weston A. Price Foundation is working for the better of animals and animal welfare. So what if some beef barons have jumped on the bandwagon to further there own purposes, at least the animals on their farms have a pretty good standard of living. Would you rather said farmers were injecting their moo cows with steroids, hormones etc and then shipping them off to the MaccieD’s slaughterhouse? Thought not!