July 21, 1906
A Book of the Week - Diet and Dietetics by Gautier
Luckily, no band of prophets has yet risen to urge us to confine our eating exclusively to meat. And yet an exclusive meat diet has in certain circumstances been tried and not found wanting, as long as the meat is accompanied by fat.
At the present moment we are in the midst of one of those periodical outbursts of discussion concerning food. Plentiful evidence is afforded by the various catering companies that ideas and theories on the subject are taking the definite and practical form of a return to dishes of greater simplicity than were fashionable before the movement began. So many dogmatic opinions are expressed and propagated, that those who, without being fanatics, desire to order their lives intelligently in regard to the food they eat, will be glad to turn to a scientific authority like M. A. Gautier, whose Diet and Dietetics (Constable) has constantly been translated into English by Dr. A. J. Rice-Oxley. The work is a very learned one, and we may as well say here that it is not our intention to attempt any criticism of the innumerable analyses contained in it. The broad result only concerns the reader who wishes to have sound guidance in regard to diet, without caring to devote a large proportion of his time to what, after all, is a mere detail of existence. There are certain main propositions to which he would like an answer.
On one side he is admonished by certain zealous reformers to give up meat and confine himself to a vegetable diet. M. Gautier, who carries out the Apostle’s injunction to be temperate in all things, does not endorse the teaching of the vegetarian. He quite recognises that a man may be strong without eating meat. The street porters of Salonica and Constantinople live chiefly on rice and figs, and drink water or lemonade, yet it was their strength which gave rise to the saying, ‘as strong as a Turk.” Many men and women have become better in health after adopting a vegetarian diet, and it serves as a check to arthritic, gouty, or rheumatic diathesis. Morally speaking, it tends to produce softness and gentleness of manners. Need we recall the fact that “the mild Hindoo” is a vegetarian? The main disadvantage is that “in order to obtain a vegetable alimentation sufficiently nutritive and varied, the vegetarian is obliged to have recourse sooner or later to exaggerated weights of food.” This our author properly describes ‘‘as a method of alimentation all the more fatiguing for the stomach and alimentary canal because it encumbers them with a quantity of useless matters. The herbiverous animal is constructed so as to digest vegetables, but man digests them very incompletely and more laboriously.” To some extent the difficulty has been got over by using a mixed vegetarian diet, which is still further varied by milk, eggs, fatty bodies, cheese, sugar, and wine. In this shape the diet is well fitted to a passive and peace-loving race, but M. Gautier does not recommend it to those who are hard-working and energetic.
Luckily, no band of prophets has yet risen to urge us to confine our eating exclusively to meat. And yet an exclusive meat diet has in certain circumstances been tried and not found wanting. Says our author:
Some men obliged to live a very fatiguing life, the trappers and hunters of the pampas of America and Siberian steppes, the inhabitants of very cold climates, the fishermen living on the banks of the frozen sea, etc , can eat almost exclusively, without suffering from it, enormous quantities of meat or fish, but on two conditions—that the meat be accompanied by its fat, and that the individual subjected to this diet lead a very active life in the open air.
Darwin relates that the Gauchos of the American pampas live for months on the fat meat of the oxen they watch over. The Esquimaux can get along very well by eating from 5lb. to 6lb. per day of reindeer or seal’s flesh, so long as it is not too lean, but contains a due proportion of fat. These facts might furnish some argument for an exclusive meat diet, but our author is antagonistic to exaggeration in this respect as in the other. He observes quite properly that ‘the well-to-do classes are only too carnivorous,” and his own recommendation is that the best food for the general is a judicious mixture of meat and vegetables.
From a bill of fare that he draws up for the obese, wherein he closely follows Mr. A. Robin, it will be seen that he takes a fairly liberal view of a man’s requirements. He would begin in the morning by giving him who has to say, like Sir John, “Old do I wax and fat,” at eight o’clock an egg, some lean meat, and a very small quantity of bread, following this up at ten o’clock with a couple of eggs, a still smaller quantity of bread, and a glass of wine well diluted with water. At twelve o’clock he would give him some lean meat and bread and vegetables and another glass of wine diluted with water. At four o’clock he recommends tea without sugar and nothing to eat with it. At seven o'clock the patient is to dine on a fair quantity of lean meat, taken with bread and butter and vegetables. He does not seem to allow any wine with this last meal, but he remarks that such a regimen only corresponds to 1,290 calorties per day, and as the average adult loses from 2,100 to 2,200 calories per day he will have to make up about 900 calorties from the combustion of stored-up fats.
January 4, 1930
Too many of our meals are lacking...Lacking in what?
Sickening Big Sugar Propaganda says that "as a matter of fact, sugar is an essential in the diet." It then mentions that dietitians use sugar combined with vegetables to enhance the taste and healthfulness.
"Every time I go to the Brows for a meal, I leave the table not entirely satisfied," said a man to his friend. "Why is it...they seem to set a good table."
"I agree with you," replied his friend, "and I'll tell you what their meals lack. It's sugar."
Nothing takes the place of sugar in satisfying the appetite. And it is natural that our systems crave sugar. We have learned to expect it in fruits and vegetables, which, if fresh and ripe, abound in flavorful sweetnes. But too often, these foods reach us lacking in sugar. A clever cook senses this and replaces it in cooking, or tops the meal with a sweet dessert.
As a matter of fact, sugar is an essential in the diet. Not only for the energy it supplies, but for its value in making essential foods more palatable. Dietitians will tell you that it is correct to add a dash of sugar to carrots, peas, spinach, cabbage and tomatoes while they are cooking. Such flavored foods are eaten with keen relish.
It is your duty to see that your family has sugar in the correct amount. It can be judiciously introduced in the diet--as a flavor and in wholesome desserts. The Sugar Institute, 129 Front St., New York.
"Most foods are more delicious and nourishing with Sugar."
November 1, 1937
Omnivorous Mankind by Mary Pascoe Huddleson
A dietitian describes how meat is healthy in an omnivorous diet to prevent anemia and protein malnutrition and also explains how an exclusive meat diet is possible by citing Stefansson's study. "The chief importance of this experiment was not to encourage people to live on an exclusive meat diet, since this would be economically expensive and socially inconvenient. It did serve, however, to show that meat is probably not the cause of all the evil effects that have been ascribed to it."
Omnivorous Mankind By MARY PASCOE HUDDLESON
Editor, Journal of the American Dietetic Association
Ideal diet neither one-sided nor weird, despite proponents of various “fads”, expert contends. ... Menu for adequate amounts of all “protective” Meat is held essential for providing . . How explorers lived five years in the Arctic on exclusive diet of foods. readily convertible proteins. meat and returned in good health. . finds that “man is an omnivorous animal and subsists on the most extraordinary food combination”’.
Let us consider meat from the point of view of its place in the diet of so-called normal or healthy persons. Meat is a tasty, agreeable food to many, and constitutes an important source of protein, an essential substance in the building and repairing of body tissue. Further than this, the proteins of meat, fish and other animal foods such as eggs, milk and cheese, are of high quality and can be readily converted into body tissue.
An overwhelming array of evidence has been offered to show the ill effects of a diet too low in protein. We all know the type (usually female) who boasts of taking nothing but coffee, a slice of toast and fruit juice for breakfast, and selects a luncheon or dinner similar to this: fruit cup; vegetable plate consisting of three or four vegetables; a large green salad with French dressing; a fruit ice; and then more coffee. These foods are eaten with a virtuous feeling that such edibles are good for you. And so they are, in sensible amounts and when combined with sufficient of the animal sources of protein —meat, eggs, cheese.
Man, while a mammal, is neither a rabbit nor a cow. It is difficult for him, yet comparatively easy for the cow, to get sufficient protein from vegetable food. The rabbit-like eater may go on for months without showing serious evidences of any lack. But probably many a languid, listless lady might perk up and change her mental outlook if she would only let herself go with a goodly cut of rare roast beef or a juicy steak. Not only is the non-meat eater apt to be short of protein (particularly if no milk, cheese or eggs enter into the diet), but listlessness and susceptibility to fatigue, suggestive of secondary anemia, can result when a diet is deficient in iron. Meat, as well as being a valuable source of protein, is a good source of iron.
Of all the dietetically inspired battles that have raged above the rattle of the tea cups, probably the one with the vegetarians on the one side and the meat-eaters on the other, has been the most heated. At times the disturbance raised reminds us of what the diet-faddist claims will happen if these two types of foods (carbohydrate rich and protein rich) get mixed up in the human stomach—an explosion! Writing m the Journal of the American Medical Association some time ago, Dr. Martin E. Rehfuss said: ‘Man is an omnivorous animal. He subsists equally well on the high-protein dietary (meat— fish) of the arctics, the high-carbohydrates regimen of the tropics, and the most extraordinary food combinations of the temperate zones.” On the surface this is true. Man seems to be more ‘adaptable than any other animal to a variety of situations.
Perhaps the strongest argument in favor of an exclusive diet was presented in the observations of Dr. Eugene F. Du Bois of Bellevue Hospital on the explorers Stefansson and Anderson. Mr. Stefansson gave in Harpers Magazine a popular account of his adventures in diet. After living in the Arctic for a total of more than five years, exclusively on meat (fish and water), Mr. Stefansson returned to so-called civilization to tell of his good physical condition on such a diet. His views were looked upon with some skepticism.
Finally a series of experiments were conducted upon Stefansson and Anderson at Bellevue Hospital, New York City. The men lived upon an exclusive meat diet for a little over a year. The meat consisted of beef, lamb, veal, pork and chicken and the portions of the animal used included the muscle, liver, kidney, brain, bone marrow, bacon and fat. The meat was taken for the most part only lightly cooked, except for the bone marrow which was eaten raw. At the end of the year the physical condition of both men was as good as at the beginning. There was no rise in their blood pressure; there was no evidence of kidney irritation or damage; no constipation developed nor any other obvious ill effects from the prolonged use of an exclusive meat diet. It is significant, however, that an exclusive meat diet, in order to be complete or adequate consists not only of flesh meat with a goodly portion of fat, but includes portions of the glandular structures such as kidney and liver as well. Furthermore, some of the meat eaten should be very lightly cooked, or practically raw. In the case of Stefansson and Anderson, the bone marrow was eaten raw, and they followed the Eskimo habit of eating fish bones and chewing rib ends, thus doubtless securing a fair amount of calcium.
* * *
The chief importance of this experiment was not to encourage people to live on an exclusive meat diet, since this would be economically expensive and socially inconvenient. It did serve, however, to show that meat is probably not the cause of all the evil effects that have been ascribed to it. In his series of articles, Stefansson himself concludes that “you could live on meat if you wanted to but there is no driving reason that you should”.
But in the amounts usually taken in the American diet, meat serves its purpose as a valuable food; and in the light of reputable evidence there is little to be said against its place in the diet of normal people. Further than this, much that has been said against meat, to the effect that it causes or aggravates certain diseased conditions, seems to be open to question. Chief among the sins chalked up against meat have been the accusation that it is a disturbing or promoting factor in rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease, Bright’s disease and high blood pressure. This sentiment is gradually being dispelled.
Recent and authoritative medical writers now place little reliance on a low protein (or low meat) diet in arthritis. In contrast to the supposition that a high protein diet is productive of kidney damage, it is believed by many that a diet low in protein may damage practically all the body tissue, since protein food is essential for building and repairing body tissue. The dietary treatment, today, of chronic Bright’s disease of the kidney, includes sufficient protein food of good quality. If the diet in this disease is too low in protein foods, for example meat, it is said that the anemia so commonly associated with it comes on more rapidly.
Dr. Clifford J. Barborka in “Treatment by Diet,” lists foods useful for their blood-building qualities as follows: meats (liver, kidney, beef, chicken gizzard, lamb); eggs, fruits (apricot, peach, prune, raisin) ; and vegeta- bles (spinach, beet greens, letuce). Cereals, dairy products and breadstuffs, according to Drs. Whipple and Robsheit-Robbins, have the minimum value, while liver is the most potent factor in hemoglobin production. .. .
While the average American diet is believed not to be deficient in iron or protein, yet the many vague symptoms commonly attributed to the Spring, if it happens to be that time of the year, may be due to insufficient protein of good quality, or to insufficient iron.
The ideal diet is one that contains adequate amounts of all the protective foods — milk and its products, eggs, leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, and meat. It is neither one-sided nor weird, and best of all it can be one which may be eaten with enjoyment as well as benefit to health.
—Permission, This Week—N. Y. Herald-Tribune