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The aboriginal diet of the Arctic Eskimo, which consisted mainly of land and sea mammals and fish, is analyzed with respect to its capacity to provide the nutrients now regarded as essential for nutritional health. It is concluded that, despite its remarkably restricted composition, the native diet is capable of furnishing all the essential nutritional elements when prepared and consumed according to traditional customs. However, its low carbohydrate and high protein content necessitated major metabolic adaptations in energy and nitrogen metabolism. Erosion of the traditional diet culture and life style has been accompanied by a decline in nutritional status.
American Anthropologist © 1977 American Anthropological Association