Nutritional Notes

A study of nutrition and dietetics is the study of all the bodily processes which have to do with the maintenance of life. To become a food faddist is poor judgment, to disregard diet is also poor judgment, but it is common sense to intelligently understand one of the most important phases of our daily life, that of adequate feeding.

Much has been said about the power of mind over matter, but too little importance has been placed on the influence of matter on the mind. It is common for all of us to experience the soothing effect of a well balanced meal on the mind. Nutritive foods also quickly gives strength to the body. It is obvious that food requirements are a necessity to good health, both mental and physical.

In the examination of any type of engine, we find one important necessity. It must have a certain fuel in order to run, a steam engine cannot be run with gasoline, others require coal and oil, so it is with the human system. The anatomy of man requires that he consume a varied diet, a balanced diet. To deprive him of any essential food factor alters the efficiency of the body processes.

When we consider how man has juggled his food through synthesis and substitution, we can feel fortunate that nature has taken the control of respiration out of our hands. Oxygen must be absorbed at every breath, and no faddist has yet discovered a way to change this process.

The length of time that food remains in the stomach depends upon the nature of the ingested material. An acid meal remains longer than alkaline one. The approximate rate of emptying is 34 percent of the bulk in the first hour, 19 percent the second, 31 percent the third, 3 percent in the fourth, 8 percent in the fifth and 5 percent in the sixth hour.

When food enters the small intestine from the stomach, the protein in the food has been changed to proteose and peptone. About 21 percent of the carbohydrates has been converted into dextrin, and about 4 percent into sugar. Fat is only slightly affected in the stomach. Aside from sugar and alcohol, no absorption has yet taken place. All other absorption takes place in the small intestine.

Food enters the large intestine 6 to 8 hours after ingestion. The function of the large intestine is to secrete mucous as a lubricant, to excrete salts, calcium, iron magnesium, and phosphorus. To absorb water and glucose. If food is properly masticated and no disease present, 95 percent of it is digested even under the worst conditions.

The name Vitamin is derived from the word Vita, meaning life. It is intended to denote that they are chemical substances of vital importance. All of the vitamins are essential to a healthy dietary. One cannot be substituted for the other. Each has its particular virtue. Through the scientific study of these chemical substances, they can now be isolated and made into concentrates. Heating, milling, and chemical agents used in the process of preserving often remove the vitamin content of foods.

Vitamin A, derived from vegetables, can be stored in animals. Grass fed animals store more Vitamin A than stall fed. The liver stores 200 times more than the muscles. Fish derive their Vitamin A supply from the green algae of the sea. Vitamin A is not destroyed by freezing and is not affected by the bottling of fruit or tinning of meat.

Clear soups have little food value. Because they are filling and satisfying they are believed by many to have nutritive properties. Their flavor stimulates the gastric flow and if followed by substantial food are of value as an appetizer. Beef extracts fall into the same category. The white of an egg contains more food than the average day’s consumption of these concoctions. In 1889, Fothergill said “all the bloodshed caused by the warlike ambition of Napoleon is as nothing compared to the myriads of persons who have sunk to their graves from a misplaced confidence in the food value of beef-tea.”

Sea food has a definite place in the dietary. Oysters are rich in vitamins and salts, especially iodine. They are easily digested. Two salt herrings contain enough animal protein to supply the daily needs of the ordinary working man. Fish roe is nourishing and economical, as there is no waste.