Avoid Narrow Views and Deficient Diets

Applying wise nutritional advice.

By G. K. ABBOTT, M.D., Medical Director, St. Helena Sanitarium, California

It is also interesting to note the statement from the Testimonies in regard to the use of milk in the preparation of food. "Do not remove milk from the table or forbid its being used in the cooking of food."—"Coun­sels on Diet and Foods," 1,. 203. "Vegetables should be made palatable with a little milk or cream, or something equivalent."—Id., p. 207. In the case of cooked spinach, it is customary to serve it with a little butter and hard-boiled egg.

The fats of milk, cream, butter, and egg yolk provide the essentials needed in order to realize the full value of absorption of even the provitamin A—the carotene of plants. For this reason, therefore, the vegetarian who does not use these dairy products or eggs would be subject to deficiency of the preformed vitamin A, and the body would also be unable to fully appropriate the provitamin A from the plant sources.

Still another element in this instruction—using eggs raw in unfermented wine—has definite nutritional importance, in addition to being a palatable way to eat raw eggs. The unfermented grape juice has biochemical ef­fects which are not generally known, and these effects are especially needed to counteract the effects of a large amount of bread and cereals in the diet. Grape juice contains as its prin­cipal constituent an alkaline tartrate. This is tartaric acid in the digestive tract, but is alkaline when absorbed into the blood stream. As the organic acid (the tartaric acid) is oxidized, it becomes alkaline. The alkaline base of the tartrate is absorbed and enhances the alkali reserve of the blood. Such a sub­stance, although it has an acid reaction, is said to be also potentially alkaline. Grape juice is not an acid-ash food, but an alkaline-ash food, while cereals are all acid in ash. Grape juice is, nevertheless, acid in the digestive tract from the standpoint of true acidity ; i.e., hydrogen-ion concentration.

"The true acidity exerts its effect principally on absorption from the intestinal tract. On the acid side the absorption of calcium and phosphorus is facilitated ; on the alkaline side the absorption is retarded or inhibited."—"The Vitamins," American Medical Association, 1939, p. 468.

This means that grape juice facilitates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, while such alkalies as baking soda, which is so ex­tensively used for "sour stomach" and for gas on the stomach, retard or prevent the absorp­tion of calcium and phosphorus. Grape juice, therefore, helps vitamin D in its work with calcium and phosphorus, in so far as the ab­sorption of these elements from the food is concerned. But this is not all of its function. Grape juice also helps by conserving the sup­ply of calcium and phosphorus already in the body.

"Foods which are potentially alkaline tend toward diminished excretion and hence to a greater retention of calcium and phosphorus in the body."—Id., p. 468. On the contrary, such acid-ash foods as cereals cause losses of this supply.

"Acid foods, meaning those which have an excess of the acid elements, increase the excretion of calcium and phosphorus." "The total effect is, therefore, the resultant of the true and the potential acidity of the food."—Ibid.

"An advance has recently been made by Hamilton and Schwartz, who were able to separate and com­bine the effects of diet on absorption and metabolism. By the use of a diet which provided an excess of organic acid and an alkaline ash, they facilitated both absorption and retention of calcium and phosphorus. . . . These workers were able to convert rachitogenic diets into normal diets by the addition of organic acids and alkaline ash. . . . The diets contained additions of tartaric acid and sodium tartrate. . . . Shohl found that these effects were not entirely due to the acid-base properties of the diet, but were due also to a specific organic-acid effect, in which the tartratcs were involved. The citrate ion showed even more pronounced effects. Additions of citric acid plus alkaline residue to rachitogenic diets were found to prevent or cure rickets. This result was obtained not with a single type of diet, but with several widely different com­binations of calcium and phosphorus."—Id., pp. 466-469.

This is also the effect of vitamin D; namely, to correct the rachitogenic effects of a high-cereal diet with even widely varying propor­tions of calcium and phosphorus. "There is no reason to believe that vitamin D acts di­rectly on bone cells to promote calcification."—Id., p. 462. "The main action of vitamin D is to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, or to diminish their intestinal excretion."—Id., p. 474. In brief, and with 'a simple statement of fact, grape juice and orange juice, in their end-effects, and even in their manner of effect; act precisely as does vitamin D upon calcium and phosphorus in correcting the harmfulness of a diet unbal­anced by an excess of cereal food.

 In connection with the effects of fruit acids upon calcium and phosphate metabolism, it should be pointed out that the use of lemon juice on spinach and various other greens, and on all salads, is a most highly beneficial prac­tice. It makes a maximal calcium ration avail­able to the body from vegetables by increasing its absorption from these sources, and, of course, decreasing also the excretion of cal­cium by the kidneys and the intestinal mucosa as has been shown by Schwartz and Hamilton, and especially by Shohl. Hitherto it has been considered that an adequate calcium ration could be obtained only or principally from milk, of which many adults take but little. This vitamin-D-like action of the acid-organic salts of fruits, if carried out by the free use of salads 'with lemon juice, would serve to provide the larger calcium ration which could otherwise be obtained only from an entire quart of milk daily.

There is also another very important fea­ture of the free daily use of salads served with olive oil, mayonnaise made with olive oil or other oils and lemon juice, or the use of batter and lemon juice on cooked greens. It is pro­viding for a much larger absorption of carotene—the plant provitamin A which has to do with the healthy action of vastly more functions of the body than any other nutri­tional element. As pointed out previously, a moderate amount of fats and oils increases the absorption of carotene from only 50 per cent where there are no fats in the diet, up to a maximum of 8o or 90 per cent if this element is present in the plant food consumed.

The work of Sherman on calcium is also to be borne in mind—his earlier work on cal­cium derived from milk, and later his work with Campbell, in which they demonstrated by the addition of pure calcium carbonate that it is the calcium itself and not any other con­stituent of the milk which adds so notably a whole group of benefits. After Sherman had kept rats thriving in the twenty-seventh gen­eration on a uniform diet, and then added to their diet an amount of calcium equivalent to that in the second pint of milk, he reported "an improvement in the general nutritional condition as shown by a whole series of cri­teria, such as more rapid and efficient growth, lower death rates and higher vitality at all ages, an increase of io per cent in the average longevity of adults, and greater extension of the prime of life, in that maturity is expedited and senility deferred in the same individual."

97:1429. Nov. 14, 1931. At the same time he stated, "My associates and I are now engaged in working out the role of in­dividual chemical factors in this improvement of an already normal nutritional condition."­Ibid. In 1935 the report on these individual chemical factors appeared. Mary Swartz Rose gives this summary :

"Sherman and Campbell have observed the effects of two diets differing only in calcium content through several generations. The first diet consisted of five sixths ground whole wheat and one sixth dried whole milk, with added common salt and distilled water to drink. On this diet, rat families have prospered for as many as forty generations ; hence there is no doubt that it is an adequate diet. The second diet differed from the first only in the addi­tion of calcium carbonate to make the calcium intake equal to a quart of milk instead of a pint.

"On this calcium-enriched diet, growth was some­what more rapid, and average size at a given age somewhat greater as shown by growth curves for each sex in Fig. 47. The appearances and be­havior of the adult animals indicated that the more liberal calcium intake resulted in a higher vitality and its maintenance over a longer time. The females matured somewhat earlier, showed a longer period of ability to bear young, and reared a higher percentage of them. The males, not having the strains of maternity, manifested their greater vigor by longer life and a longer period between the attainment of maturity and the onset of senility. Thus, improved growth, greater adult vitality, lowered death rates, and increased length of life show that increased calcium improved the nutritive value of a diet which by all ordinary signs would be adjudged adequate.

"'In human nutrition,' Sherman points out, 'the enrichment of the diet in calcium should normally be accomplished, not by the use of calcium salts as such, but rather by increasing the consumption of calcium-rich food, especially milk, which contains along with its abundant calcium content, such proportions also of phosphorus and other mineral elements as to ensure improvement of the dietary in its mineral content as a whole.' "—"Foundations of Nutrition," Rose, Macmillan, 1938, p. 171.

After speaking of the necessity of a liberal supply of calcium for the bones and teeth, this same author says:

"Not so readily apparent, but of even greater significance, is the part played by this element in the regulation of body processes. Some of the ways in which its functions have already been mentioned in discussing the general effects of minerals ; viz., the control of the contractility of muscles, and par­ticularly the rhythmic beat of the heart ; the preser­vation of the normal response of nervous tissue to stimuli; and the coagulating power of the blood. In addition to these very important functions, calcium is a kind of coordinator among the mineral ele­ments. As has already been said, these must be nicely balanced in order that all parts of the body may function successful/y; if sodium, or potassium, or magnesium, for instance, should tend to be too much in the ascendancy, calcium is capable of correcting the disturbance which they might make, whether it be in the direction of increased or de­creased irritability. Altogether, it is highly im­portant that the organism have at all times an adequate supply of this element."—Id., pp. z63, 164.

Just how many of these effects may have had a direct application to the particular condition of blood disease in question cannot be stated with certainty, for the ultimate causes of primary anemia are not known. But in addition to the properties of eggs which coun­teract certain poisons, we have also in grape juice certain chemical properties which coun­teract the poisons of a diet excessive in ce­reals. As there are other vitamins in eggs, such as B, and G, which have profound ef­fects, we can only point out that all these vital elements are necessary for the perfect func­tioning of the human mechanism; and the instruction, "Put into your diet something you have left out," is most highly scientific.

Though given in simple language and in terms of only well-known foods, the counsels from the Spirit of prophecy are found to be based upon a whole group of profound bio­chemical laws, which were wholly unknown to any scientist or research worker in nutrition when they were given to correct the disease resulting from certain extremes in diet. Some of these principles are even now but little em­phasized in the science of nutrition, though they are of the greatest practical health im­portance. Thus it is more clearly seen how important it is to avoid all these extremes. From what master biochemist did these in­structions come—one who knew more than any man then living? Do you see in these facts any reason for the most complete faith in these writings on health, or the reason why we are admonished over and over again concerning our duty to study natural law, to make it plain, and urge the obedience of it?

"Those who understand the laws of health, and who are governed by principle, will shun the ex­tremes, both of indulgence and of restrictions. Their diet is chosen, not for the mere gratification of appetite, but for the upbuilding of the body. They seek to preserve every power in the best condition for highest service to God and man. The appetite is under the control of reason and conscience, and they are rewarded with health of body and mind."—"Counsels on Diet and Foods," p. 198.

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By G. K. ABBOTT, M.D., Medical Director, St. Helena Sanitarium, California

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