During a time of war there are unfortunate circumstances that force people to do what is necessary to survive. This occurred in Denmark during WWI. The British naval blockade of the North Sea resulted in 400,000 Germans dying of malnutrition from 1914-1918. Denmark was a neutral country but was also affected by the blockade. However, he Danes did not die of malnutrition like the Germans and that was due to the recommendations of a brilliant physician and nutritionist named Mikkel Hindhede who was the food advisor to the Danish government during WWI.
Based on his suggestions they switched from a diet that included lots of meat to one where their calories came mostly from potatoes and barley, vegetables and bran bread. Rather than feed the grains to the animals and/or use it for alcohol production, the people ate the grains. Dr. Hindhede knew that the need for protein was very low and removing meat from their diet would not be a problem.
So… what were the results? Well, of the three million people living in Copenhagen 6,300 lives were saved during the most severe food restriction (1917-1918). The death rate went down by 34%!!! Amazing! These were the lowest death rates ever reported for Denmark.
Here is Dr. Hindhede’s conclusion: “This result was not a surprising one for me. Since 1885, when I began my experiments with a low-protein diet (mostly vegetarian), I have been convinced that better physical conditions resulted from this standard of living…”. Wow! 1885! He published an article in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) in 1920. People have known about how to eat well for a long time. Now we know too and it is up to you and me to…