Science Of Nutrition
Today it is considered absolutely essential that every one who has anything to do with the planning of the menus and the selection and preparation of food should have a thorough knowledge of dietetics, for it is being realized more and more what a great and important role food plays in promoting proper growth, and in establishing and maintaining radiant health, energy, and beauty. So very much suffering can be avoided, and so much happiness and contentment gained, by the application of a little intelligence. Small errors in diet or small deficiencies of necessary elements may not produce obvious harm immediately, but they are cumulative in effect and irremediable trouble may follow later. Mothers and all others who plan menus are responsible for the future as well as the present well-being of those in their charge.
The value and importance of the correct feeding of individuals is recognized more every day. Leading research workers in the field of dietetics and nutrition have proved by experiment that "a carefully regulated diet will produce better physical and mental types of individuals with more stable nervous systems and happier dispositions."
After knowing a few of the principles, the ordinary person can plan his daily diet without much trouble or calculation. Those who plan for others should recognize their full responsibility and set about acquiring the necessary knowledge to safeguard the health and well-being of all concerned.
Knowledge of food values is imperative in order to choose wisely from the hundreds of kinds and brands of foods on display in the modern markets. You cannot trust to instinct to guide you -- you must know whether you are getting unadulterated and unrefined foods, whether you are getting whole some, nutritious food for the money you spend, or whether you are receiving denatured commercial products. .
The necessity of shipping food from great distances to our city markets has developed serious problems in the care and preservation of foods. The government has done a great deal to protect the consumer in seeing that the food sold should be what it claims to be, that it is in good condition, and that it is free from harmful preservatives. Beyond this, the wise choice rests with the individual.
If you are really in earnest about getting pure food, whole grain cereals, meals, and flours, unadulterated honey, maple syrup, mineralized salt, unsulphured fruits, raw sugar, and all the other health food products, get acquainted with your health food store. Almost every community of any size has one these days. Most of the modern markets carry health foods which you can get if you will take the trouble to find out the right brands and then insist upon getting them.
Every individual needs an adequate or normal diet. The normal diet varies with circumstances, individuals, age, climate, race, and economic conditions. We here quote a good definition of an adequate diet from "Dietetics and Nutrition," by M.A. Perry. "An adequate diet may be secured in many ways and by the use of a great variety of foods as long as it conforms to certain fundamental condition... It must provide all the food nutrients in the proper proportion, an adequate amount of vitamins, sufficient bulk for regulation of body functions, fluids in proper-amounts, calories to produce and maintain normal weight, and enough alkaline ash producing foods to balance the acid ash foods to prevent acidosis."
The foods of which a normal or complete diet is composed may be classified according to physical properties, source, chemical composition and function. Foods may be solid, semi-solid, or liquid. They come from the animal, vegetable, or mineral kingdom, and they may be either organic or inorganic.
Inorganic foods are foods such as water and salts which are without what is ordinarily called life. Organic foods are those which have had life and may be either animal or vegetable. Organic foods are further divided into those which contain nitrogen and those which do not.
All foods are also classified in five groups according to their chemical properties. These are: 1) proteins 2) fats 3) carbohydrates 4) water and 5) minerals.
Some foods build and repair tissue and others furnish material for the production of heat and energy. Proteins and minerals belong to the first class, and proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to the second. The oxygen, which is taken into the body in the air which is breathed, burns the food and thus produces heat and energy.