The Zero Carb people at Zeroinginonhealth (ZIOH) have always praised pemmican as the “perfect” food. Pemmican is made from dried, raw meat that is ground up and then mixed with fat. They also believe that you can live on it “indefinitely” as some explorer (Stefansson) claimed so in a book, making this statement despite there being no evidence that anybody has survived on pemmican-only for any extended period of time. Any supplements are not required as muscle meat will provide all nutrition you need, they claim.
It seems that they are wrong. One of the ZIOH members ended up in the hospital where he was diagnosed with scurvy, Vitamin C deficiency. You can read about his physical issues here: Pemmi-pucks Inc, where he documents his 13 weeks eating nothing else than homemade pemmican.
The symptoms he exhibited were:
- Pain in legs and stiff joints
- Internal bleeding
All of these are indicative of scurvy. Wikipedia says:
Early symptoms are malaise and lethargy. After 1-3 months, patients develop shortness of breath and bone pain. Myalgias may occur because of reduced carnitine production. Other symptoms include skin changes with roughness, easy bruising and petechiae, gum disease, loosening of teeth, poor wound healing, and emotional changes.
This is a picture he posted showing the leg bruising:
He is now being treated with liquid vitamins C and K and Folic acid and the good news is that Vitamin C deficiency / scurvy is easily cured and results in no lasting damage.
Other zero carbers may want to re-think use of supplements, and implement a more varied diet including fresh meat, dairy, eggs and organ meat. Pemmican was originally a travel / emergency food and it might be a good idea to use it that way – complementing other foods and not totally replacing them. Even their Leader Charles realized this after having been eating pemmican-only for a couple of months. Fatigue (see first scurvy symptom above) caused him to give it up and go back to fresh meat.