Inadequate quantities of food and an unbalanced diet among indigenous peoples leads to disease, loss of productive capacity and the resorting to alcohol and drugs.
Malnutrition is widespread among the majority of indigenous populations, mainly due to poverty and nutritional ignorance. The basis for most diets is starchy vegetable or grain, no fruit, no milk, very little meat. Food therefore lacks variety and particularly vitamins. The result is a wide range of deficiency disease, gastro-intestinal infections and lack of resistance to other diseases or to fatigue. Indigenous people may resort to alcoholism or drug taking to dull the effects of their hunger. The poor quality of the soil of the land onto which indigenous people have been pushed accounts in many cases for the lack of variety in the crops grown and their poor quality. Food taboos and tradition also create obstacles to the nutritional education of primitive tribes.