Coronary heart disease

Coronary heart disease is a major killing disease in the West. In Britain it is responsible for the death of two out of five men in middle age and a total in excess of 100,000 annually. Men are more susceptible to the disease than women who appear to be protected at least until the menopause. … Read more

Eating and ill health

Undernutrition, starvation and famine still prevails in many countries. Threequarters of the people in the world rely on locally produced cereal staples to supply most of their dietary energy. In any country where more than twothirds of the dietary energy comes from cereals one can expect malnutrition to be prevalent, because cereals cannot supply all … Read more

The energy balance

We remain at constant body weight only if we achieve a balance between energy intake and energy output. Energy intake results from the ingestion of food, there is no other route for energy absorption. Energy output is achieved through a variety of mechanisms. Everyone who is alive, whether asleep or even unconscious, is using energy … Read more

Deficiencies in the West

Nutritional deficiencies are rare in Britain although some cases of anaemia due to deficiencies of iron, vitamin B12 or folic acid are reported. Without sufficient iron the body cannot make enough haemoglobin. Vitamin B12 and folate deficiencies give rise to kinds of anaemia in which there are large blood cells and a low concentration of … Read more

Sweetness

Man has always craved for sweetness but it is only within this century that the vast quantities of sugar now consumed have become available. Sugarbeet and cane are grown specially lor sugar production. Consumption now runs at an average of one kilogramme (two pounds) per head per week in Britain. Granulated white sugar is a … Read more

Eggs, chocolate and cheese

Eggs have always been considered extremely nutritious because they contain all the nutrients necessary for the growth of the young chick. Recent research into coronary heart disease has revealed that not only saturated fats, but also a fatlike substance called cholesterol which is concen trated in egg yolks, may contribute to the disease. Some doctors … Read more

Fats

Margarine was invented in 1869 by a French chemist, who used suet to produce a cheap type of fat to supply the soldiers in the FrancoPrussian War. The Dutch invented a method of adding hydrogen to the unsaturated vegetable oils thus causing them to solidify. It has taken considerable research to develop the modern product. … Read more

Bread

For many centuries white bread was regarded as an expensive luxury food, owing to the low yield of flour after the removal of bran and wheat germ during milling. Wholemeal and bran breads were eaten by poor people. Several factors contributed to the increased availability of flour, that made white bread available to the whole … Read more

Modern foods

There is nothing new about man’s need to preserve food for storage or convenience of preparation. Sundrying, salting, pickling and smoking are methods which have been used for centuries and are still used today. Recent advances in technology have made it possible to preserve food by decreasing the risk of microbiological spoilage with less loss … Read more

Vegetarianism and health foods

In 1813 the poet, Shelley, published a thesis suggesting that man’s digestive system was designed to break down only plant foods. The dramatist, George Bernard Shaw, abstained from meat eating after the age of twentyfive and lived for a further sixtynine years. Leo Tolstoy conformed to his new religion which also did not allow the … Read more

Vitamins

In a recent survey, ninetynine percent of the people questioned had heard of vitamins. Nowadays we hear a great deal about vitamins as there is hardly one which does not have a controversial aspect. Many of the vitamin requirements were established decades ago but claims are now being made for large doses of vitamins which … Read more

Food cults and customs

Food beliefs and taboos have played a much larger part in the evolution of man’s food habits than nutritional considerations. Although the traditional diet had to be of sound composition for the tribe to survive, some prejudices or religious beliefs have little basis in fact or logic whilst others can be verified scientifically. Whether right … Read more

World wide foods

Although food habits and customs differ widely throughout the world, man’s requirements for health vary little between the different races. Everyone needs an abundant source of energy, and a starchy food called a staple usually dominates the eating of any particular culture. Starches have to be cooked to be digested so staples are prepared in … Read more

Feeding an expanding population

Population growth by the middle of the nineteenth century had outstripped the increased production of food and the food laws, banning the import of food had to be repealed. Food production and distribution methods lagged behind the new lifestyle imposed by the Industrial Revolution. The country people sent much of their food to the overcrowded … Read more

Drinking

The major constituent of our bodies is water, and we need plenty of water passing through our systems to keep us healthy. Man can only survive a few days without water whereas he can last for months without food. Tap water also supplies minerals and trace elements. Coronary heart disease is less prevalent in hard … Read more

Food through the ages

We evolved from animal ancestors who searched the countryside and survived by gathering plants or berries and hunting small animals or fish. Man lived a cave dwelling or nomadic existence for many millions of years. The discovery of fire made an enormous impact on this way of life and the discovery of cooking meant that … Read more

The science of food and man

The famous French gastronome Brillat Savarin said, “Tell me what a man eats and I will tell you what he is.” We rely on other biological systems to provide us with complex molecules which we break down by digestion and rebuild into the bodily material we call ourselves. The body’s primary need is for energy. … Read more

Why do people starve?

Much of this century has been spent applying all this new knowledge to alleviating the problems of deficiency diseases, and undernutrition. It is an indictment of the age we live in that these problems have not been solved – although in defence of nutrition, it must be admitted the practical difficulties are far reaching and … Read more

Protein and amino acids

While the biochemists were exploring the vitamins, the physiologists were busy investigating the needs of the whole animal. Nearly two centuries ago the first measurements of the energy expenditure of animals were made, by enclosing them in an insulated chamber and observing the amount of ice melted by heat from their bodies. Lavoisier also measured … Read more

Discovering nutrition

The twentieth century is living under the impact of the biological revolution which began a hundred and fifty years ago, when men like Darwin, Wallace, Mendel and Pasteur began to publish their observations on the living world. Their work caused a vast expansion in man’s appreciation of a wide range of biological concepts and systems. … Read more