• George Elder

Traditional Health

Updated: Nov 19

Just reading an opinion piece by Max Rashbrook in Stuff, titled "The half-hour trip that robs some Kiwis of 10 years". He clearly shows that different groups in NZ have very different health outcomes. It is a good read. Here is my reply to Max...


Max, much of the differences here are health related. We learned during the early stages of COVID19 that some people were more susceptible to COVID than others. It was clear that Pacifica people, older Māori and older Caucasian people were much more susceptible. The problem was related to what is known as metabolic syndrome. This is a term which actually means insulin resistance where the body is reacting to an continuous excess insulin level which degrades organs damages brains and creates many different sickness conditions including heart disease, type-2 diabetes, PCOS, autoimmune diseases etc.


A look around the world shows that groups of people whose ancestors have had a lower exposure to this excess insulin have this problem. Examples include USA native Indians, Australian Aborigines, Arctic Inuit and Pacific Islanders. These groups and others have been exposed to the onslaught of flour, sugar and now seed oils for a much shorter time than people of European descent and the impact shows in their health. It is well documented and researched that as people move away from their traditional diets to what we call a “western” diet with its refined flour, sugar and seed oils, they get the “western” non-communicable diseases very badly. Even Europeans get these diseases when they consume an excess of these low nutrient foods. Human bodies are taking longer to adjust to the “modern” diet than the food manufacturers would like.


While all this seems so obvious to me and the solution is to return to more traditional diets it seems to elude the health authorities, doctors and nutritionists. Their education and training seems to be at the heart of this failure. In the 1900’s and early half of the 20th century it was well understood that excessive carbohydrates promoted obesity and eventually type-2 diabetes. Dr Wolfgang Lutz wrote his books on this and Dr James Salisbury covered it in his book from the late 1800’s. The diet of people since that time has become much much more refined flour and sugar based with fish and meat consumption declining unfortunately. A study of the migration of the Tokelau Islanders and the impact on their health of shifting to New Zealand and moving away from their traditional diet of fish and coconut shows this problem very clearly.


We have to change what we teach about diet. All health comes back to diet. Regards George Elder, See “Takebackyrhealth.com

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