Applied Trophology, Vol. 1, No. 2
(February 1957)

The following is a transcription of the February 1957 issue of Dr. Royal Lee’s Applied Trophology newsletter, originally published by Standard Process Laboratories. Also in this issue: New Aid for Incurable Disease Told Chlorophyll Ointment in Decubitus Ulcers Choline Prevents Fatty Change and Cirrhosis in the Livers of Dogs Subjected to Hypophysectomy and Thyroidectomy Lipid Content […]

Diet Prevents Polio

By Benjamin Sandler, MD

Summary: Early nutrition research consistently showed that a properly nourished person is highly resistant to infection, whereas a malnourished one is highly susceptible. In this 1951 book, former U.S. naval surgeon Dr. Benjamin Sandler pokes holes in conventional ideas about polio and argues that the best way to have avoided the infectious disease was to eat a low-carbohydrate diet. He presents the evidence that led him to his conclusion and explains why, of all the countries in the world, the United States got hit hardest by the polio epidemic. He also details one of the most intriguing public health experiments in nutrition history, when in the summer of 1948 he convinced newspapers in the polio-ravaged state of North Carolina to publicize his low-carb diet as a means of prevention. Though the experiment was a success—the rate of polio in North Carolina changed from one of the highest in the country to one of the lowest—health officials categorically ignored Dr. Sandler’s work, and, shockingly, his book was later banned by the government. Like so much information suppressed in the early days of nutrition, Diet Prevents Polio holds great truths that merit a full examination in light of current biochemical knowledge. Published by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, 1951.

Doctor Claims Immunity Diet Prevents Polio

Author unknown

Summary: In 1948 the polio epidemic was nearing its frightening peak in the United States. While medicine attempted to find an answer to the problem with its usual recourse, pharmaceutical drugs, one doctor in North Carolina proposed a safer and easier way to prevent the disease: nutritional therapy. Dr. Benjamin Sandler, a former navy doctor, had discovered that patients who ate a diet low in refined carbohydrates and high in quality protein were resistant to infection by polio and other contagious diseases. Dr. Sandler would prove his point when he convinced the newspapers in the state to run stories, such as the one preserved here, recommending a low-carbohydrate diet as a means of preventing polio. The result was a dramatic drop in polio incidence statewide, transforming North Carolina’s rate of the disease from one of the highest in the country to one of the lowest. For a detailed analysis of the results of Dr. Sandler’s campaign—and for more on his theory of low-carbohydrate diet and disease prevention—see his remarkable 1951 book Diet Prevents Polio. See also “The Low-Carb Diet That Prevented Polio” for more media coverage of Dr. Sandler’s courageous effort to stem the polio epidemic through nutrition. From the Statesville Daily Record, 1948.

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. 

Low Blood Sugar and Susceptibility to Polio

By Benjamin P. Sandler, MD

Summary: In this excerpt from his book Diet Prevents Polio, physician, nutritionist, and polio expert Dr. Benjamin Sandler explains how he came to believe, based on years of clinical observation, that susceptibility to infection by the polio virus (and other disease) is determined by quality of diet. “Specifically,” he writes, “I suspected that children and adults contracted polio because of low blood sugar brought on by a diet containing sugar and starch.” To read about the science behind Dr. Sandler’s theory—and how high-carbohydrate diets set humans up for infection and disease in general—see Diet Prevents Polio in its entirety within these archives. From Diet Prevents Polio, published by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, 1951. 

The Low-Carb Diet That Prevented Polio

SummaryIn the summer of 1948, the polio epidemic was raging across the United States, and it was hitting the city of Asheville, North Carolina, particularly hard. Parents had been ordered to keep their children quarantined in their homes, and residents were even advised to leave the state if possible. Among the town’s citizens was Dr. Benjamin Sandler, one of the few medical doctors of the time who recognized the profound connection between malnutrition and disease. Dr. Sandler’s research had convinced him that a diet high in refined sugar and starch was setting the stage for the polio infections (as well as many other illnesses). With his belief far too “radical” for public-health officials to even consider, Dr. Sandler took his case to the local newspapers and radio stations, who were convinced enough to report his theory and his proposed polio-prevention diet to the public. The story quickly went national, and rates of the disease proceeded to drop as people across the country started following the diet. (See chapter 7 of Diet Prevents Polio for a detailed discussion of the results.) Sadly and predictably, the medical field refused to acknowledge the efficacy of Dr. Sandler’s diet, leaving the sampling of newspaper clips here to document the “diet that prevented polio.” Reprinted by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research. Multiple original sources. 

Developmental Malformation in Man and Other Animals: A Bibliography with Introduction

By Howard H. Hillemann, PhD

Summary: In the introduction to this bibliography of over 200 references, Dr. Howard Hillemann speaks of the evolution of humankind’s beliefs about disease and bodily defects, from early notions attributing such abnormalities to “divine visitation” to the idea, as of 1957, that such disorders are the result of a combination of genes and environment. Regarding the latter, Hilleman points out, “Proper nutrition is the most important single factor in the prevention of disease or in the recovery therefrom” and presents a list of references supporting this claim. While much of the content cited is no longer in print, merely perusing the categories and titles of the papers of the bibliography is “impressively educational in itself,” Hillemann writes. Published by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, reprint 66C, circa 1957.