Excerpts from “The Science of Eating”

By Alfred McCann, MD

Summary: In these selections from Dr. Alfred McCann’s seminal 1918 book The Science of Eating, the author first outlines an animal-feeding experiment for schoolchildren to conduct in order to observe firsthand the effects of nutrient-deficient foods on the health and resistance to disease of animals (and, by implication, of humans). Then, in the section titled “Famine Due to Artificial Sugar,” McCann, who saw clearly that modern methods of food production were leading to the destruction of the nation’s health, precociously asserts that many of what were formerly thought of as infectious diseases were actually the result of vitamin deficiency. In presenting a nutrition-based hypothesis explaining the cause of infantile paralysis (polio), he also offers some keen insight into the origins of the disease. “These briefly stated scientific facts lead me to believe,” he concludes, “that close scrutiny of the food of the children afflicted may lead to the discovery of a dietetic cause of infantile paralysis.” From The Science of Eating, 1918. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 108A.