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East-Greenland traditional nutrition: a reanalysis of the Inuit energy balance and the macronutrient consumption from the Høygaard nutritional data (1936-1937)

Authors
  • Mullie, Patrick1, 2
  • Deliens, Tom2
  • Clarys, Peter2
  • 1 Queen Elisabeth Barracks, Belgium , (Belgium)
  • 2 Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium , (Belgium)
Type
Published Article
Journal
International Journal of Circumpolar Health
Publisher
Informa UK (Taylor & Francis)
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2021
Volume
80
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/22423982.2021.1932184
PMID: 34058960
PMCID: PMC8172218
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Original Research Article
License
Unknown

Abstract

Greenlandic traditional nutrition was unique in the arctic environment because it was an almost exclusive meat dietary pattern. Høygaard et al. left Copenhagen in August 1936, and stayed in East Greenland until August 1937. The four members of the expedition resided in Tasisaq and visited eight settlements around where nutritional intake was recorded by residing in families. However, the nutritional intake was analysed on a household level. The aim of the present study is to reanalyse the Høygaard et al. data according to modern scientific standards. In total, 21 males and 14 females participated. Median (IQR) energy consumption was 3881 (1568) kcal.day−1 for males and 2910 (882) kcal.day−1 for females. Without the five participants living near trading centres, this was 3268 (219) kcal.day−1 and 2634 (723) kcal.day−1, respectively. Expressed in energy-percent, the macronutrient consumptions were 34% for protein, 37% for fat and 29% for carbohydrates. Without imported food, this was 41%, 49% and 10%, respectively. The main findings of the present study are, as expected, that the food consumed came mainly from traditional hunting, was low in plant foods and extremely low in carbohydrates. The Inuit succeeded to stay in apparently healthy conditions with a traditional meat-based dietary pattern.

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