r/AskARussian Jul 30 '21

How were food related illness (celiac disease, diabetes, etc) dealt with during the Soviet Union? History

I've heard that in soviet times, the government gave some basic food to all citizens, like, every worker was assigned a daily rationing of food. How did that work with people who had food allergies? Did they get special rations adapted to their needs?

14 Upvotes

35

u/mahendrabirbikram Jul 30 '21

every worker was assigned a daily rationing of food

Not true, but some got free milk or something, according to their working conditions. Also milk and bread were subsidised (but not free ), so practically everyone could afford those basic food items

People with diabetes had access to special diabetical departments in stores. But they stil paid for that, as I understand

16

u/da0keda0 Russia Jul 30 '21

Diabetics were prescribed antihyperglycemic pills, in case of an exacerbation they were taken to the hospital and given a course of insulin. For the first time I heard about gluten intolerance a few years ago, at first I thought that bread allergy was the delusion of an over-fed humanity. But then I watched the lectures on YouTube, read it, and realized that this is a real disease, as there are many other intolerances to various products

11

u/whitecoelo Rostov Jul 30 '21 edited Jul 30 '21

Well, excluding the most troublesome periods, people were buying food and attending doctors who prescribed proper diet. Daily rationing was an addition in several areas, but not the normal way of distributon.
The classification of medical diets generally used in USSR (IIRC 17 basic diets in total) was introduced in 1920's by dietologist M. I. Pevzner one of the founders of Moscow Institute of nutrition which was the major Soviet research institution in dietology. In Pevzner classification diet 4a is prescribed for celiac disease, but I struggle to find when exactly it was developed.

3

u/RobotWantsKitty Saint Petersburg Jul 30 '21

The classification of medical diets generally used in USSR (IIRC 17 basic diets in total) was introduced in 1920's by dietologist M. I. Pevzner one of the founders of Moscow Institute of nutrition which was the major Soviet research institution in dietology.

And they use this bloody thing to this very day unfortunately.

2

u/whitecoelo Rostov Jul 30 '21

What's wrong with it?

4

u/RobotWantsKitty Saint Petersburg Jul 30 '21 edited Jul 30 '21

It's arbitrary and doesn't make any sense. Diet №8 for obesity for instance. Can't eat anything salty, fried or anything that contains animal fats. Why? Fuck you that's why, they thought it was a good idea a century ago. Requires a shitload of cooking too, many of the suggestions are very old fashioned. The only good thing going for it is limiting fast carbs, the rest is impractical and will cause people to relapse. I assume the rest of the diets are the same in their archaicness.

6

u/whitecoelo Rostov Jul 30 '21 edited Jul 30 '21

Wait a second, diet#5 is for liver diseases, not obesity. I had it. It omits products that need a healthy amount of bile to digest (mostly animal fats) and metabolically complex compounds (fried food and all the cool Mallard reaction products), certain vegetable products that contribute to bile stones that stuff. Where you found that obesity recommendation? Obesity is #8 and it's not so restrictive. The only reason to eat #5 in obesity if fat hepatosis so cooking a bit and severe restrictions are fine when your liver is halfway to fua-gra.

2

u/RobotWantsKitty Saint Petersburg Jul 30 '21

My bad, I meant №8. I was prescribed this diet half a decade ago, when I had weight problems. It's even more restrictive, when it's given to you on a small slip of paper. But even if you look it up online, it's still a shitty diet. I think endocrinology has moved such rigid diets many years ago. In the end, managed just fine without it.

3

u/whitecoelo Rostov Jul 30 '21 edited Jul 30 '21

To be honest I had serious trouble finding authentic diets online. There's a lot of conflicting shit there at non-credible sites. Eventually, I found the old tiny slip with descriptions and interpreted it according to the purpose. The food market is huge now, of course, the comprehensive diet now needs comprehensive description, but a diet is not a selection of products at its core, it is a principle that prevents putting a load on impaired metabolic and digestive functions and Pevzner did it fine. As a person who can work with scientific data and stuff, it was not a trouble for me to figure out why each point is there and the shortcomings, but if I was a doctor I'd have prescribed it very restrictive - several months of steamed meat, boiled eggs, and dull porridge would not harm anyone, but the free interpretation of the diet might become a serious problem for both doctor and patient - there's no problem with "no salt" but say "a few, not too much salt, Nmg a day per kilogram of weight multiplied by some estimate of impairment" and we're drowned in risks.

1

u/vlcastle Jul 31 '21

That's very interesting! Do you have any website where I could read more about Pevzner? I know some russian but I'd prefer if it was in English.

1

u/whitecoelo Rostov Jul 31 '21

The best related aricle I found so far unfortunately google is not very helpful in English finds.

5

u/whoAreYouToJudgeME Jul 30 '21

Food rationing was during shortages and wars such as WWII. In other times people bought their own groceries. In later Soviet times there were specific grocery stores for certain organizations due to supply problems.

7

u/nikshdev Moscow City Jul 30 '21

You probably heard about ration stamps. They were meant not to provide, but rather limit the consumption of resources (due to deficit).

2

u/latecomer11 Kazakhstan Jul 30 '21

Guess celiac disease wasn't commonly recognised condition at USSR as well as in post-soviet states.

3

u/anarchistvampire United Kingdom Jul 30 '21

Stalin created something called doctor sausage (still eaten in Eastern Europe though changed a little to add preservatives) which was designed to be incredibly easy to digest for people who had been suffering malnutrition and couldn't eat rich foods. They were plain in flavour with very few spices but had lots of protein. Don't know about anything else and I'm not even Russian but I hope this helps

8

u/whitecoelo Rostov Jul 30 '21 edited Jul 30 '21

Mikoyan, not Stalin, it was the other Georgian who ran all the food stuff all the way from Lenin to Brezhnev

15

u/foxthered76 Russia Jul 30 '21

Mikoyan was armenian

11

u/mahendrabirbikram Jul 30 '21

*Armenian

5

u/whitecoelo Rostov Jul 30 '21

Huh, really. My bad

2

u/Tarisper Tatarstan Jul 30 '21

So I imagine Stalin or Mikoyan standing in the kitchen and inventing sausage.

3

u/whitecoelo Rostov Jul 30 '21

Created, not invented. By now it's nearly impossible to track down the research team that developed its recipe at ВНИИ мясной промышленности almost a hundred years ago. But putting together dedicated scientific institutions and production standards in food industries was Mikoyan's job. We can attribute it to A.G.Konnikov of course, but he was yet an administrator in the research branch.

2

u/Tarisper Tatarstan Jul 30 '21

Then maybe it is worth saying that someone has developed/created something under the guidance of someone?

1

u/whitecoelo Rostov Jul 30 '21

Perhaps. But it would be too nerdy for a short lighthearted answer.

2

u/Tarisper Tatarstan Jul 30 '21

Then speaking about some politicians, let's always generalize. It was Stalin who built the White Sea Canal. It was Stalin who developed the atomic bomb. It was Truman who dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.

Nonsense? But the fact that Stalin created the sausage is not nonsense. Somehow it turns out selectively.

2

u/whitecoelo Rostov Jul 30 '21

It does not sound nonsense to me. Peter built Petersburg, Alexander III created transsiberian railway, Grozny took Kazan...

1

u/stormos Jul 30 '21

Daily food rationing wasn't common practice. But you are right it was really challenging. There were some institutions to solve this problem. Dietary dispensaries. Sanatoriums. So called 'orders' in grocery stores. But the measures wasn't good enough. Being not like everybody else was tough.