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Yemenite Jews in Israel


First Contact:


gather% / fish % / hunt %
fat % / protein % / carb%

A rough estimate to help us understand how carnivorous and how ketogenic these people were before being exposed to western civilization

Click this Slide deck Gallery to see high quality images of the tribe, daily life, diet, hunting and gathering or recipes

About the Tribe


Importance of Animal Products

Importance of Plants

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Transition to Industrialized Food Products


Their diet was predominantly carbohydrates before and after migration to Israel; the main post-transition changes were (1) more sugar and less unrefined carbohydrates and (2) more vegetable oils and less animal fats. Post-transition macronutrient were estimated as 10% more calories, 2% less fat energy, 4% less protein energy, and 2% more carbohydrate energy. SFAs decreased 43% while PUFAs increased 240% and monosaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) increased 63%. Starches decreased 12%, fiber decreased 35%, and added sugar increased 600% (55). Compared to Israelis from Europe or America, Yemenites in Israel consumed more calories (19%), bread/cereal (31%), alcohol (230%) and seeds/nuts (348%), but less vegetables (24%), chicken (13%) and dairy (12%) (78).

Activity and Lifestyle

Pre-transition, men were active in farming or manual labor. In Israel, men were more sedentary with urban jobs (e.g., driving, office work). There was insufficient data on Yemenite women's activities in Yemen or Israel. In Israel, alcohol comprised 2.5% of adult Yemenites' total calories compared to 1.3% of Israelis from Europe or America. Among Yemenite men, 30% reported smoking >10 cigarettes/day vs. 36% of other Israeli men (48).

Health Outcomes

Average BMI increased from 21–23.6 pre-transition to 25–26 post-transition (49). Diabetes prevalence rose from 0.12% in males (M) and 0% in females (F) pre-transition to 0.25% (M) and 0.24% (F) after 20 years in Israel; 2.7% (M) and 3.2% (F) after 30 years, and 6.1% (M) and 3.1% (F) after 40 years (49, 6870).

Among Yemenites over age 55 years living in Israel for >40 years, 26.3% had diabetes (49). Blood pressure increased: systolic from 116 mmHg to 124 mmHg and diastolic from 74 mmHg to 76 mmHg (71). Serum cholesterol increased from 195 mg/dL to 208 mg/dL.

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