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Warning: Native Americans should NOT drink beer to prevent diabetes!

Warning: Native Americans should NOT drink beer to prevent diabetes!


In early August 2016, the American beer industry resurrected a 2005 scientific article in Diabetes Care Magazine by Dr. L. Koppes, [Diabetes Care, March 2005; vol 28: pp: 719-725]   and mass-distributed it to a thousands of newspapers, TV stations and internet news websites.    The original article reported the results of experiments, which proved moderate drinking of alcohol can prevent Type 2 Diabetes in Caucasians.  The tests were NOT performed on Native Americans or Latin American mestizos!  The original article was grossly inaccurate for Native Americans, who are genetically different than Caucasians.  However, the “beer info-mercial” created an even worse situation.  The new articles were written by unknown journalists, not medical doctors or biologists, but were made to look like new news from a reliable, scientific source  . . .  The new version also substituted the word “beer” for “alcoholic beverages”.     A summary of the original journal article can be found at this URL:  MODERATE DRINKING OF ALCOHOL.

Not only did some of these articles appear in websites devoted to Native American news, but also were reproduced in several blog sites by Native American readers, in which the bloggers suggested that if Native Americans switched from distilled alcoholic beverages to beer, the change would drastically reduce the rates of alcoholism and diabetes.  Both diseases are endemic in Algonquin, Athabaskan, Siouan, Cherokee and Canadian tribes.

This is very dangerous advice . . . telling Native Americans to drink beer


BudweiserBeerAdIt was more example of how the general public and medical profession are ignorant of the different physiologies of indigenous Americans.  Most Native Americans outside the Lower Southeast and Lower Southwest lack the genes, which enable bodies to metabolize simple carbohydrates efficiently.  There are also some other genetic differences, which are less well understood, which make certain tribes especially prone to alcoholism and diabetes.

The Pueblo Peoples of the Southwest and the Muskogeans of the Southeast generally carry the gene, which processes simple carbohydrates. This is because of their ancient agricultural traditions.  However, most do carry an intolerance to ciliac, which is a chemical found in wheat, oats and barley.  In the most severe form, Muskogeans can be intolerant to most chemicals found in wheat, oats and barley. Descendants of hunter-gatherer tribes also frequently carry siliac intolerance, but not at the level of Muskogeans.

Wheat intolerance is the primary reason that most Creek women today must have their gall bladder removed by age 40.  If they continue to eat white bread and wheat products regularly, they can expect their entire digestive system to atrophy. 

This inherited disease is also why it is not uncommon for Muskogeans, particularly women, to have much of their colon removed by age 60.   Siliac intolerance also is a major causative factor for “beer gut,” water retention, indigestion, gas, liver failure, pancreatis, spastic esophagus, polyps, colon cancer and liver cancer.   If one throws in excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages, the Pueblo or Muskogean can expect to live a much shorter, and much more unpleasant life. If a Native American must have a beer or two, it is far safer to drink pulque (agave beer from Mexico), rice beer or chicha (corn beer from Latin America.) 

The sensitivity to ciliac is accumulative among Muskogeans and Pueblos.  The more white bread, pasta and beer, you consume over a period of time, the more damage it does to your body.  In many Muskogeans, eating only REAL whole wheat from an early age and avoiding processed wheat, barley and oat products can often prevent severe siliac intolerance. One might have minor symptoms like water retention or gas from time to time, but not experience permanent atrophy of the digestive organs.

If you have severe siliac intolerance, you must avoid all products containing processed wheat, oats and barley. Processed wheat flour and gluten can be found in an astonishing range of commercial food products and restaurant menus.   Edible chemicals, made from wheat, can be found in such widely varying substances as ale, beer, canned soups, canned stews, pasta, oat meal, commercial puddings,  cookies, fast food hamburgers,  pizzas, fast food fried chicken, fast food mashed potatoes and gravy,   many vitamins,  all pastries,  ice cream, fast food milk shakes and fast food fried fish . . . even if they advertise that they fish are corn battered . . . wheat flour is mixed with the corn meal.    If you are a Muskogean, you are far better off eating food made from corn, rice, wild rice, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, Jerusalem artichoke (Indian potatoes), tapioca and cassava.  The thought of having have one’s colon cut out, should make most people start loving corn bread and baked sweet potatoes!





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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.



    Hey Richard
    What the heck are these people talking about? All alcohol is a complex SUGAR that is broken down in the liver…sugar..diabetes….HELLO!!!
    Even though i am single I try to cook at home several times a week and try to use as little processed food as possible. Eating colorful, high fiber veggies, lean protein and natural grains will make most people feel better and fresh veggies taste better. I gave up on “diets” years ago because they dont work in the long run, you need to make life style changes, which can be very hard. I have been blessed with good health so far and hope it continues, but I will do what I can to keep it that way. Like eating sweet potatoes, purple potatoes, summer and winter squash, peppers, beans ,etc, like our ancestors did.
    I found an interesting link below to a lady that is re introducing Mayan nuts to the people of EL Salvador as a local, very important source of food and income for the Mayan farmers.
    Thanks again for an interesting article,

    • Wayne,

      Agree with you totally . . . but obviously people in these blog sites just assumed that the Beer is Better article was true. I grow most of my own veggies and try avoid chemically saturated food as much as possible.


    Richard, I have just read about yet another indigenous crop from South America that may be of special benefit to those predisposed or suffering from diabetes, and want to share that with the POOF community. While I include the specific link regarding the low glycemic index sugar derived from Yacon root, I would also encourage your readers to subscribe to Sarah’s Healthy Home Economist newsletter. Like you, she is an intrepid researcher, dedicated to debunking junk claims and fads while providing actual scientific findings, not feelings, about food, nutrition, and health. Thanks, again, and keep up the good work


    This info about Muskogean celiac sensitivity explains so much. My mother and many of the elder women I knew had their gall bladders removed in their 40’s and and 50’s. This explains why i have horrible heartburn and other digestive upsets from eating wheat breads and oatmeal.

    I had started suspecting something, but attributed it to menopause, not ancestral biology. Change of diet is now happening. Thanks for the info.

    • A lot of Creek and Choctaw women have died of wheat intolerance. We had one young lady in our tribe, who lost most of her colon at age 20 to organ atrophy, caused by intolerance to wheat.

      Now you know why brown rice and grits are the main carbohydrates I eat! LOL


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