These photos are published by permission from the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation. For those who want the “Cliff Notes” version, see the first paragraph. For those who want a bit more detail, please see the second and third paragraphs!

Overview

Like Dr. Weston A. Price, Dr. Frances Pottenger was a researcher. His studies revealed that predictable changes in health can occur when you change the diet. In his study, cats that were fed a diet of raw meat, raw milk and cod liver oil lived generation after generation in good health. When the raw food was replaced by pasteurized milk and partially cooked meat, allergies and skeletal deformities occurred in the first generation. The offspring of these poorly fed cats developed glandular problems – thyroid, adrenal and pancreatic. The next generation experienced a whole host of degenerative diseases, and the fourth generation exhibited mental disorders and was infertile, meaning they did not reproduce. The implication for humans? Not that humans should eat only raw foods – humans are not cats. But, rather when the human diet produces “facial deformities,” as we are seeing these days, extinction will occur if that diet is followed for several generations.

The Experiment

Pottenger conceived of an experiment in which one group of cats received only raw milk and raw meat, while other groups received part of the diet as pasteurized milk or cooked meat. He found that only those cats whose diet was totally raw survived a surgical procedure he performed, and as his research progressed, he noticed that only the all-raw group continued in good health generation after generation.  They had excellent bone structure, freedom from parasites and vermin, easy pregnancies and gentle dispositions.  All of the groups whose diet contained partially cooked meat developed “facial deformities” of the exact same kind that Price observed in human groups on the “displacing foods of modern commerce” – narrowed faces, crowded jaws, frail bones and weakened ligaments. They were plagued with parasites, developed all manner of diseases and had difficult pregnancies. Female cats became aggressive while the males became docile.  After just three generations, young animals died before reaching adulthood and reproduction ceased.

Conclusion

The results of Pottenger’s cat experiments are often misinterpreted. They do not mean that humans should eat only raw foods – humans are not cats. Part of the diet was cooked in all the healthy groups Price studied. (Milk products, however, were almost always consumed raw.) Pottenger’s findings must be seen in the context of the Price research and can be interpreted as follows: When the human diet produces facial deformities – the progressive narrowing of the face and crowding of the teeth – extinction will occur if that diet is followed for several generations. The implications for western civilization – obsessed as it is with refined, highly sweetened convenience foods and low-fat items – is profound.

Read more in the Pottenger’s Cats: A Study in Nutrition book.