The Dietary Habits of Our Patients

Anyone who wishes a copy of this blank may ob­tain it by writing to Dr. Rosenvold at 6 Orange St.. Redlands, California.

By LLOYD K. ROSENVOLD, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor, C.M.E., Loma Linda

The remnant church has for many years had much light on health reform. To those of us engaged in the medical minis­try light has been given that we must educate our patients to improve their health by better living. We are told that "many are living in vio­lation of the laws of health, and are ignorant of the relation their habits of eating, drinking, and working sustain to their health."—Coun­sels on Diet and Foods, p. 304. Again we read, "Many are suffering, and many are going into the grave, because of the indulgence of appe­tite," and, "The disease and suffering that everywhere prevail are largely due to popular errors in regard to diet."—Ibid., pp. 123, 127. Lastly, "Indulgence of appetite is the greatest cause of physical and mental debility, and lies largely at the foundation of feebleness and pre­mature death."—Ibid., p. 127. These quota­tions are but samples of similar utterances in­tended to impress us with the importance of diet in the causation of disease.

To anyone who may doubt that popular er­rors in diet are really popular, we need only cite statistics of the National Research Council which show that in the United States, the land of plenty, over two thirds of the population is subsisting on a faulty dietary and shows nutri­tional deficiencies in some form. (Bulletin of National Research Council, No. 109, November, 1943.) That can only mean that by worldly standards two out of every three patients need nutritional correction and guidance. Then when we, as health reformers, add to the group those who smoke, drink, use condiments and caffeine, to say nothing of the question of flesh eating, we can see that the two-thirds propor­tion rises sharply. All but a small percentage of our patients are definitely in need of nutri­tional and dietary correction.

Let us consider one or two features in the light of recent medical publications. Many years ago the messenger of God spoke out against the excessive use of refined foods and sugar. Today even worldly writers are alarmed. In the years 1935-39 the average American consumed eight pounds of sugar each month (Hvgeia, January, 1944), but by 1944 rationing had reduced this to six and one-half pounds, and this latter quantity accounted for almost zo per cent of the caloric value of the average American dietary. Someone may doubt these figures, but if he does, he forgets that much of the sugar that is eaten is "hidden" in prepared foods, desserts, and beverages. The harm in eating such large quantities of sugar lies not only in the direct harmful effects of sugar but more importantly in the better quality nutritional food excluded from the diet by the sugar, the only nutritive value of which lies in its calories as a source of energy.

Cow-gill has shown that for the past century or more the civilian consumption of grain has decreased, whereas refined sugar consumption has shown an increase. (Journal of the Amer­ican Medical Association, Dec. 9, 1939, 113: 2146.) To make matters worse, the rolling mill was introduced in 1874, and by 1939 the vita­min content of wheat flour had been reduced to about one tenth of what it was in 1874. Of late this has been partially remedied by "en­riching" flour with added vitamins. Cowgill estimated that the average American diet con­sisted of 45-55 per cent (caloric value) refined flour and refined sugar. Whereas the diet of 1840 contained 600 International Units of vita­min B, derived from grain, that of 1939 con­tained only 5o. (The daily requirement is 55o I.U.) Refined flour and sugar are, of course, the cause.

We have a message of health to present to the world, but in our often hurried consulta­tions with patients, somehow we do not probe deeply enough into their dietary habits, even though the great majority need help in that re­gard. We know that many diseases could be prevented or corrected simply by proper living and eating. We cannot fully represent our message unless we take a more decided interest in the nutrition of our patients. Let us never forget that poor nutrition predisposes to poor spiritual insight, whereas good health improves spiritual discernment.

To aid me in studying the nutrition of my pa­tients, I have compiled and prepared a dietary° history * form, which is submitted to practi­cally all my patients at their first visit. This they are to fill in at home in their leisure time and return to me on the second visit. The questions are made as simple as possible and grouped, so that in looking over the report one can easily summarize the dietary habits of the individual. The report sheds light not only on calories and vitamins but on quality of foods, mineral intake, refined foods, fluid intake, con­diments, drug-containing foods, and mealtime habits. The patients co-operate well in com­pleting the four pages (including personal his­tory), and they seem pleased to know that someone is interested in looking a little deeper than usual into their troubles. From my stand­point the idea is very helpful, as it gives me an insight into the habits and practices of my pa­tients that I could obtain in no other way. Only by knowing the wrong dietetic habits in detail can we even attempt to apply the correc­tive means so clearly outlined to us in the Spirit of prophecy.

I take this occasign to appeal to all our physi­cians to pay more heed to the dietary habits of their patients. Not only will we be helped in planning their professional care, but the pa­tients will be given better physical, moral, and mental health, and consequently will be better able to comprehend the vital spiritual issues which will face them at this time, just before our Lord's return.


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By LLOYD K. ROSENVOLD, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor, C.M.E., Loma Linda

January 1947

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