Karat, Pulque, and Gac: Three Shining Stars in the Traditional Food Galaxy


  • Harriet V. Kuhnlein PhD, RD

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Indigenous Peoples' Nutrition and Environment (CINE) and the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University, Quebec, Canada.
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*Centre for Indigenous Peoples' Nutrition and Environment (CINE), Macdonald Campus of McGill Univerisity, 21,111 Lake-shore Rd., Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec, CANADA H9X3V9; Phone: 514–398–7671; Fax: 514–398–1020; E-mail: harriet.kuhnlein@mcgill.ca.


Karat banana, pulque prepared from Agave species, and gac fruit are three traditional local food items recently studied intensively for their nutrition potential among traditional and indigenous peoples, and are examples of how local food-based strategies can be used to ensure micronutrient nutrition. Successful health promotion and intervention programs emphasizing traditional food systems are few in the international literature, but offer promise in understanding the potential of food-based strategies. Traditional food strategies could be used not only for alleviating malnutrition, but also for developing locally relevant programs for stemming the nutrition transition and preventing chronic disease, particularly among indigenous and traditional peoples who retain knowledge of using food species in their local ecosystems.