An Assessment of the Composition and Nutrient Content of an Australian Aboriginal Hunter-gatherer Diet

An Assessment of the Composition and Nutrient Content of an Australian Aboriginal Hunter-gatherer Diet Journal Article

Australian Aboriginal Studies

  • Author(s): Smith, R., Smith, P.A.
  • Published: 2003

Abstract: Detailed ethnographic records of hunter-gatherer subsistence diet among the Ngaatjatjarra Aboriginal people made by the ethnoarchaeologist, Richard Gould, in the Western Desert in 1969 have been analysed for nutrient composition using a 1993 table of Indigenous foods. Over a period of five months the dietary staples of meat, fresh and dried fruit and grass seeds provided group members with 10 kilojoules per day of energy, comprising 124 grams of protein, 24.5 grams of fat and 411 grams of carbohydrate, together with adequate levels of those accessory food factors for which compositional data are available. The average diet contained a very low level of total fat (9.2% of energy), a very high level of carbohydrate (69% of energy, of which 40% of energy was present as whole grain) and total protein, including that of meat, to make up 21% of energy. Meat itself, including its fat, made up 9.6% of total energy. Comparison of the nutrient content of a hunter-gatherer diet with that of a modern diet designed to avert chronic disease showed some close similarities and indicated the absence of recognised risk factors for the chronic diseases found in the present Aboriginal population of northwestern Australia.

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Suggested Citation
Smith, R., Smith, P.A., 2003, An Assessment of the Composition and Nutrient Content of an Australian Aboriginal Hunter-gatherer Diet, Journal Article, viewed 15 July 2024, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=2585.

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