History of Medicine


An Open Access Journal

From the history of the study of the diet in North- Eastern Siberia: from the paleo diet to Coca-Cola in just 100 years

Dmitry G. Tikhonov1, Ulyana M. Lebedeva1, Konstantin M. Stepanov2,3
1 Research Center of the Medical Institute, FSAI HPE “Northeast federal university of M. K. Ammosov”
8 Stroiteley St., Yakutsk 677009, Russia
2 Yakut Science Center of Complex Medical Problems
4 Sergelyakhskoe highway, Yakutsk 677010, Russia
3 Yakut state agricultural Academy
3 Sergelyakhskoe highway 3 km, Yakutsk 677007, Russia
The work attempts to reconstruct the chemical composition and energy value of the diet in Yakutia based on data provided by A. Middendorff (1842–1845) and V. Seroshevsky (1896). Our study enabled to establish the daily diet of pastoralists in the first half of the 19th century (prior to the introduction of bread into the diet of this region) and the late 19th century (during the transitional period, which is associated with the introduction of crop farming and an increase in the consumption of flour-based foods).

The diet of the affluent segment of the population of Yakutia in the pastoral period (before the second half of the 19th century) can be described as a protein-fat diet, dominated by protein and fat with low carbohydrate content. Fat metabolism is a key element of adaptation in a cold climate. Hence the high-fat content of the diet served as an advantage for adaptation for the pastoralists when settling in North-Eastern Siberia with its extremely cold climate. This circumstance is one of the primary conditions which facilitated extensive expansion of the pastoral population of Yakutia in North-Eastern Siberia in the 17th–19th century.

The introduction of crop farming in the region was characterised by a change in the diet of the residents of the region (pine tree sap was replaced with flour-based foods). The reconstruction of the diet showed that during this period, the diet in Yakutia resembled the so-called paleo diet. However, over the past 100 years, the diet in North-Eastern Siberia has drastically changed from a paleo diet to a post-industrial diet, which has affected the health of the population.

Keywords: history of health care, regional history of medicine, nutrition, protein-fatty type, paleo diet, pine sapwood, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases


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