In international peer reviewed journals:

Public Health Nutrition

Ecology of Food and Nutrition

Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition

African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development


Colonization, the New World Order and the Eradication of Traditional Food Habits in East Africa: Historical Perspective on the Nutrition Transition

Public Health Nutr. 2007 Oct 24; :1-13

OBJECTIVE: To discuss factors which have underpinned the nutrition transition in the countries of East Africa, including Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, from early colonisation to the current, oppressive political-economic structure. RESULTS: Colonisation and neocolonisation in accordance with the desires of the New World Order have ensured the systematic extirpation of indigenous and traditional food habits in East Africa. These indigenous and traditional food habits, associated with myriad health benefits, have been progressively replaced by the globalised food system of the multinational corporations, a system inherently associated with the creation of non-communicable disease (NCD) epidemics throughout this region and globally. While the simplification of the East African food culture may be most apparent today, the nutrition transition has actually occurred over the past 400 years, since the onset of colonial occupation. CONCLUSIONS: It is imperative that greater efforts be directed towards exposing the colonial and neocolonial forces which have undermined food security and health status in East Africa. Heightened awareness of these forces is essential for proposing genuine solutions to the nutrition transition and related NCD epidemics throughout this region and, indeed, worldwide.

Investigation of the Dietary Intake and Health Status in East Africa in the 1960s: A Systematic Review of the Historic Oltersdorf Collection

Ecol Food Nutr. 2008; 47(1):1-43

We have recently reported on the myriad health benefits of traditional East African foods and food habits. However, this region continues to experience a nutrition transition whereby traditional, well-tried foods have been systematically replaced with the products of multinational corporations. The health-related impact has been devastating, as evidenced by current non-communicable disease (NCD) trends. The purpose of the present investigation was to review the historic Oltersdorf Collection (data collated by the Max-Planck Nutrition Research Unit, Bumbuli Tanzania from the 1930s to 1960s) to determine if adherence to traditional East African food habits was positively associated with health status indices in populations residing in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda during this period. The systematic review process resulted in six investigations being identified. Published between 1963 and 1969, these are likely the first investigations to provide original data pertaining to dietary intake/adequacy and health status indices within specific East African cohorts. Overall, the review revealed that many ethnic groups did not exhibit adequate dietary intake and did not consume a diversity of traditional whole foods representative of the wide spectrum of food choices available within the region at this time. NCDs such as obesity, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes were not reported in any investigation. However, there was substantial reporting of malnutrition-related and infectious diseases, particularly among children. The present review supports the contention that the shift from a traditional, diversified diet to a simplified, monotonous diet may have occurred with the onset of cash-crop farming. For resolution of nutrition-related epidemics currently plaguing Africa, including NCDs and malnutrition-related diseases (i.e., the double burden) it is critically important to investigate and disseminate evidence related to the fundamental contributors to the nutrition transition.

Content of a novel online collection of traditional east African food habits (1930s – 1960s): data collected by the Max-Planck-Nutrition Research Unit, Bumbuli, Tanzania

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2007 ;16 (1):140-51

Background: Knowledge of traditional African foods and food habits has been, and continues to be, systematically extirpated. With the primary intent of collating data for our online collection documenting traditional African foods and food habits (available at:, we reviewed the Oltersdorf Collection, 75 observational investigations conducted throughout East Africa (i.e. Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda) between the 1930s and 1960s as compiled by the Max Planck Nutrition Research Unit, formerly located in Bumbuli, Tanzania. Methods: Data were categorized as follows: (1) food availability, (2) chemical composition, (3) staple foods (i.e. native crops, cereals, legumes, roots and tubers, vegetables, fruits, spices, oils and fats, beverages, and animal foods), (4) food preparation and culture, and (5) nutrient intake and health status indicators. Results: Many of the traditional foods identified, including millet, sorghum, various legumes, root and tubers, green leafy vegetables, plant oils and wild meats have known health benefits. Food preparatory practices during this period, including boiling and occasional roasting are superior to current practices which favor frying and deep-frying. Overall, our review and data extraction provide reason to believe that a diversified diet was possible for the people of East Africa during this period (1930s-1960s). Conclusions: There is a wealth of knowledge pertaining to traditional East African foods and food habits within the Oltersdorf Collection. These data are currently available via our online collection. Future efforts should contribute to collating and honing knowledge of traditional foods and food habits within this region, and indeed throughout the rest of Africa. Preserving and disseminating this knowledge may be crucial for abating projected trends for non-communicable diseases and malnutrition in Africa and abroad.

The need for an online collection of traditional African food habits

AJFAND Online. 2007;  7(1)

Low density lipoprotein subclasses in Asian and Caucasian adolescent boys

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2006 ;15 (4):496-50

South Asian adults are known to have very high rates of Coronary heart disease (CHD) and insulin resistance and, even as adolescents, may show higher risk factors for CHD. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of small, dense low density lipoprotein (sdLDL) subclasses in a cohort of adolescent boys. The specific objective was to investigate the relationship between measures of fatness, ethnicity and LDL diameter in this cohort. Preformed native (non-denaturing) polyacrylamide 3-13% gradient gels and a multipurpose vertical electrophoresis system were used for the separation of LDL sub-fractions in a single school year cohort of boys aged 15-16 years (n=135). Latex beads and thyroglobulin standards were used to construct a calibration curve in order to calculate LDL particle diameters by regression (Total Lab Software v1.11). ANOVA was used to compare LDL size among different ethnic groups (SPSS and Stat View). The study sample was comprised of 45.2% Caucasians, 41.5% East Asians and 13.3% from the Indian subcontinent (South Asians).There was a non-significant trend for South Asians to have a lower LDL diameter than either Caucasians or East Asian boys which was independent of % total body fat (%TBF) and body mass index (BMI). This is the first adolescent cohort to examine sdLDL which included Caucasians, East and South Asians. It appears that the higher risk profile for CHD and diabetes noted in South Asian adults may be evident even during adolescence.