Nutritional Requirements

By  ROBERT A. STEVENSON, R.  Ph., D. D. S.

In presenting a few facts on the nutritional value of the various dairy products it may not be out of place to refresh our memory with a few definitions –

The term, calories, refers to the measure of heat or energy available from the foods when burned in the body. Energy is essential for all sorts of work, externally and internally. The daily caloric requirement for adults is as follows:

For light work-1800 to 2600 calories.

For moderate work -2700 to 3400 calories.

The actual requirement depends upon the weight, the muscular activity, and the efficiency of utilization of food in the body. Children require more relatively because of their excess activity.

Fats and Carbohydrates are the main sources of energy. It is essential to have sugar, which results from carbohydrate digestion, burned or oxidized. Often this is expressed as “fats burned in the fire of the carbohydrates.” The optimum proportion of these in the diet minimum should be one part to four parts of carbohydrate by weight. The minimum should be one part of fat to one part of carbohydrate, which is too low for efficiency.

The main function of protein is to build and repair tissue. A diet should include one gram of protein per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight, which would average from 50 to 75 grams for an adult per day. Protein should not be depended upon as a source of energy, because it is too expensive financially and physiologically. An excessive use of protein overworks the liver and kidneys.

Body Regulators. The minerals,, the vitamins, and bulk are called body regulators. Calcium is essential for the building of the teeth and bones: for the coagulation of the blood; and for muscular tone and activity. It spares iron, since iron can not be utilized by the body in the absence of calcium. Adults need from 20 to 30 shares daily. Iron is needed for the oxidation of the food; for all secretions in the body; for growth; and for reproduction. Phosphorus is needed to maintain a neutral condition in the body; to harden the teeth and bones; for building glandular and nervous tissues; and for enzymic and glandular activity. Adults need from 20 to 30 shares of phosphorus and iron daily also. The following general rules may be helpful:

  1. Iron is found in foods which are red, yellow and green.
  2. Calcium is found in milk, stems or modified stems, and leaves of plants.
  3. Phosphorus is found in protein foods, and in the parts of the plants which reproduce.

Vitamins. Vitamins are sometimes called the “Body Bosses” and that expresses their function. As a class they stimulate growth and protect the body against the deficiency diseases. However, each vitamins has very definite functions in the body.

Vitamin A stimulates growth; it raises the resistance of the body to diseases, especially those affecting the sinuses, the ears, the lungs, and the respiratory tract; it prevents irregularities in menstruation; and it prevents a deficiency disease resulting in temporary blindness. In some cases of so called “night blindness” suffered by automobile drivers have been attributed to the lack of sufficient vitamin A in the diet. This vitamin is soluble in fat but not in water. It is not destroyed by heat easily, hence not readily lost in cooking. However, it is easily destroyed by oxidation. The best sources of this vitamin are animal fats and those foods containing yellow pigments.

Vitamin B prevents polyneuritis, and inflammation of the nerves of the body; it stimulates the appetite; it promotes good digestion; it affects lactation and ovulation; and a substance associated with vitamin B, but sometimes spoken of as vitamin G, prevents pellegra, and is a factor in maintaining youth. Vitamin B is not destroyed by high temperature, oxidation, or drying. It is soluble in water, hence readily lost in cooking. Recent experimental work indicates that the substance known as vitamin G is the more stable, and that vitamin B proper is much less so.

Vitamin C prevents scurvy, a disease commonly found in infants who are fed a diet deficient in this vitamins. It is easily destroyed by heat; is easily oxidized; the acids in foods protect it from destruction by heat or oxidation; it is soluble in water, hence can be lost by soaking or cooking foods in water. Canned pineapple and canned tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, because they contain acid which protects it during the canning process. Raw fruits and vegetables are very good sources of this vitamin.

Vitamin D is the fourth member of the vitamin family. It is the antirachitic vitamin. It prevents rickets and malformation of teeth and bones by regulating the calcification of calcium an phosphorus in soluble in fat but not in water. Cod-liver oil is the best source of vitamin D. The direct rays of the sun develop this substance in the human body. Some foods have been irradiated and hence contain this vitamin.

Vitamin E functions in normal reproduction. A lack of this vitamin causes miscarriages and abortions in animal. It is resistant to heat; is soluble in fat; and is very stable. It is found in lettuce, whole cereal, yolk of eggs, and vegetable oils.

Vitamin G has been found to be the more stable factor of the “vitamin B complex”. It is resistant to heat and oxidation. The best yeast. It is thought to be a factor in preventing pellegra, and in maintaining youth.

The following general rules for the sources of the vitamins may be helpful to the reader:

  1. Vitamin A is associated with the yellow pigment in foods. It is found in animal fats, such as butter and cod-liver oil, and in the green leaves, and in foods which are yellow.
  2. Vitamin B is found in varying amounts in all foods, except in the pure carbohydrates and fats; as sugar, starch , and lard.
  3. Vitamin C is found in raw fruits and vegetables.
  4. Vitamin D is found in cod-liver oil chiefly.
  5. Vitamins E and G (there are no special rules for the sources of these).

Bulk . Bulk means the undigested residue which remains in the intestine after absorption has been completed. It is one of the necessary constituents of a diet in order to prevent constipation and to aid in digestion.

Reaction. All foods may be divided in to three classes in regard to the reaction in the body:

  1. Those foods which yield an acid ash in the body, such as meats, fish, fowl, eggs, cereals, and anything made of flour.
  2. Those foods which yield an alkaline or basic ash in the body, such as milk, vegetables, and all fruits, except prunes and cranberries. The latter yield an alkaline or basic ash, but produce an acid urine due to an organic acid which can not be oxidized in the body.
  3. Those foods which are neutral, or are completely burned in the body, leaving no ash; such as sugars, fats, and the pure starches.

The body will function best when there is a high alkaline or basic reserve. It then has greater resistance to disease. Inorganic acids are produced continually in the body as a result of normal metabolism (the tearing down and the building up of tissues). They are detrimental, and must be neutralized by the alkaline or basic salts which are supplied chiefly by fruits and vegetables. This is what is meant by “meeting the acid-base requirement of the body.” This knowledge of the reaction of foods has proven very valuable in the treatment of several abnormal conditions. For example, when one has a cold, it is wise to eliminate the acid-forming foods from the diet, and to included those foods which are basic in reaction.

References

Tables of Food Values – Alice V. Bradley – Published by The Manual Arts Press, Peoria, Illinois, 1931.