NOT so long ago food was divided into two main classes; it was either digestible or indigestible. Then a certain German philosopher named Jacob Molcschott suggested that Man is what he eats. It cost him bis professorial chair, but provoked thought. A little later, scienco came to the aid of the cook and whispered that mere eating, like unpractical sympathy, was not enough. Eventually it went even further and an-nounced that certain substances in various foods were absolutely vital to health.

It was found that animals, fed on a diet known to contain all the things hitherto regarded as essential, lost weight, but when a little milk was given to them, they speedily recovered. Whatever the energizing agency was, it defied detection, although skilful analysts locked themselves in their laboratories, and with the aid of microscope and retort tried to discover its constituents. Vitamins, as these substances are called, are fairy godmothers who work by stealth. We know what they do, but we do not know what they are.

They are A, B1, B2, C, D, and E. Vitamin A is to be found in cod- liver oil, salmon-liver oil, halibut-liver oil, milk, cream, butter, goose fat, grouse fat, the fats of sheep, calves, and oxen, and various vegetable foods, including cabbage, carrots, spinach, and lettuce. It is called fat-soluble, because it dissolves in fat. The Bs occur in yeast, the germ and bran of cereals, including unpolished rice and whole-wheat flour, fruits, meat, eggs, milk, and vegetables. C hides itself in many vegetables and fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, cabbage, onions, lettuce, turnips, spinach, potatoes, rhubarb and tomatoes. D is found in cod-liver oil and animal fats and blubber. E is traceable in various vegetable oils, including the oil of the wheat-germ, and in animal tissues.

Vitamin A holp3 on body building, and is therefore invaluable for children. Its absence makes one susceptible to many ills. Lack of the B Vitamins leaves the system open to the inroads of anaemia and causes that tired feeling. Its deficiency, in the opinion of a well-known authority, accounts for adenoids and gastric ulcers, acne (pimples) and boils. Vitamin D helps to make bones and teeth. Too little of it causes rickets, but this loss may be overcome by natural sunlight, or failing that, by artificial ultra-violet light. Absenco of Vitamin E causes sterility in both sexes.


To quote the words of Professor Julian Huxley, Plenty of green vegetables, fresh fruit, and dairy products will supply the necessary substances; but if the appetite is satisfied largely by white bread, elaborately cooked meats and cakes and other sweet confections, the possibility of a deficiency of these essential constituents is considerable.

Sir Frank Smith has said that in recent years the human machine has been dis-covered to be of such delicacy of balance, that the absence of five-millionths of a gram of a vitamin appreciably shortened its life. The average expectancy of life had been doubled in the last hundred years, thanks to the chemist, the biologist, and other scientific workers. Obtaining Little from Much

Professor Adolf Windaus, a winner cf one of the Nobel Prizes, succeeded in 1931 in producing Vitamin D in pure crystalline form. Four earnest Japanese research workers, impressed by the prevalence in their own country of a disease of the eye in infants which often leads to blindness, set themselves to isolate Vitamin A, and succeeded after much anxious work and many experiments in obtaining by chemical methods one pound of the precious substance from two tons of cod-liver oil. Vitamins in Preserved Foods

To the uninitiated this would appear to be but a poor return for the skill and money expended, but manlcind does not need vitamins in considerable quantities, indeed, it appears possible to have too much of a good thing in this connexion, as in many others. The need is minute, and it is suggested that an over-supply is likely to have as bad effects as too little. Uncooked fresh food is richer in vitamins than cooked, and food which has been left in the oven or on the fire too long may entirely nullify their qualities. Some vitamins in preserved foods retain their value longer than others.

Dr. Harold Sourfield, formerly Medical Officer of Health for Sheffield, composed the acrostic Pat Comely Cows as a means of fixing in the memory the initials of foods that ensure a sufficiency of vitamins. It runs as follows:





Offal (such as liver, etc.). milk (and milk foods such and cheese). cgg3. Lettuce. Yeast.

Cod-liver oil. Oranges. Watercress. Suet.

Machine and Chemical Factory The body is at once a machine and a chemical factory. Just as coal and oil provide fuel for the steam locomotive and motor-car respectively, BO food provides fuel for the body. Poor coal and inferior oil give poor results in the world of mechanism; inferior or incorrect food does not replace the energy used up by the human body every second of its existence. An engine does not run for years without cessation, but this is required of the human machine even when it is said to be at rest during sleep, although in a less degrea than when awake.

For both man and machine the value of the food and fuel is estimated by the calory, which is the amount of heat necessary to raise one pound of water to the temperature of 4 Fahrenheit. Uncooked granulated sugar, for instance, contains 1,814 calories per pound; oatmeal 1,810; thick cream 1,727; bread 1,174; beef (lean) 700; celery S4; cucumber 79. A man requires food that will give the equivalent of some 3,800 calories a day.

But coal and oil are not the only materials required to run an engine. It would simplify civilization very considerably if they were. In a motor-car the petrol has to be converted into gas by means of electric ignition, and air or water – usually both – are necessary to keep the engine cool, and another type of oil has to be provided to lubricate the parts. Fire alone would not run a locomotive. There must be water to raise steam, which is just as much a gas as the vapour of petrol. No All-in-One Food

Men, women, and children have three fuels: air, food, and drink. Of the value of fresh air little need be said. It was once thought the correct thing to treat consumption by keeping sufferers in an almost hermetically-sealed room; now they breathe renewed health in the open air. No one food provides everything that is necessary. If such were discovered, cooks would go out of employment and kitchens give place to store-cupboards, unless it happened that this all-in-one food required cooking. Food and Fuel

Food materials, including vitamins, are divided into six classes, just as the vitamins are grouped under half a dozen designations. They are as follows, the first two being the chief fuels:


Starches and sugars. Make heat and energy. Found in bread, potatoes and rice.


Animal fats and vegetable oils. Also sources of heat and energy.


Bone and muscle builders and repairers. The word is Greok, and means of first importance. Found in meat, milk, eggs, cheese, wheat, beans, peas, lentils, oats, maize, nuts.

Water and Mineral Salts

All food contains water, but not sufficient for our requirements. The human body is comprised of no less than 59 per cent, of water. At least three pints of water should be taken every day to mako up for loss by perspiration and other processes. This amount of water is the minimum required for those leading a sedentary life; active physical workers require considerably more. Mineral salts, necessary to bones and teeth, are found in milk, green vegetables, and fruits.


Essential to grovth; protective and strengthening .


Of value in the process of elimination. Found in spinach, cabbage, lettuce, and fruit. Bran is regarded as of value by some authorities, while others regard it as an irritant. Value of a Well-balanced Diet

On the authority of Professor Rudolph M. Binder, about four and a half ounces of proteins and eighteen ounces of carbo-hydrates and fat3 should be included in the daily menu of an active adult man. In his opinion a well-balanced, mixed diet, well cooked and served regularly, contributes to what he terms the fundamental qualities – intelligence, sociality or the ability to co-operate with others for the welfare of all, perseverance, and an aspect of mind which looks beyond the immediate and the expedient. When Food should be Taken

People whose work is with the brain require less food than their more strenuous brethren. As a result of experiments it was found that a maid dusting a professors room expended more energy in fi e minutes than her employer did in an hour of concentrated mental effort. One square meal a day, in the opinion of Sir Bruce Bruce-Porter, is enough for City workers who do light work, and the other two meals should be light ones. There should be an interval of four hours between meals. Food should never be taken when the mind and body are exhausted, and it should be neither too hot nor too cold. Those who are so busy that they are unable to take time to eat properly, Sir Bruce adds, always have time to die, and this they invariably do prematurely. Sweetmeats

It has been said time and time again that a child has what is sometimes called a natural craving for sweetmeats. That sugar is a valuable food is beyond question, but a committee of experts who went deeply into the question came to the conclusion that sugar should be used with caution for fear that it set up an unwholesome rivalry with foods which were more important to the growing child.