The Battlefront for Better Nutrition

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary“Yes, there is a battle going on,” Dr. Royal Lee writes in this 1950 article from the magazine The Interpreter. But the war Dr. Lee was referring to did not involve guns or missiles. It was a contest hidden from public view, waged between the nation’s food manufacturers and its first nutritionists—a war regarding the truth about processed foods. While modern beliefs about diet and health stem largely from the disproven idea that fat and cholesterol cause heart disease, the picture looked quite different to America’s nutrition pioneers. These practitioners and researchers, living at a time when industrially processed foods morphed from novelty to staple of the country’s food supply, witnessed firsthand a phenomenon repeated across the globe throughout the twentieth century: wherever processed foods were introduced, the “modern” diseases—heart attacks, cancer, stroke, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, liver disease, ulcers, tooth decay, and so on—soon followed, where they had been virtually nonexistent before. This phenomenon was so obvious and so predictable that only a massive conspiracy between industrial food manufacturers and the federal government, as Dr. Lee bravely outlines in this explosive essay, could hoodwink the American people into believing that processed and refined foods are capable of nourishing the human body. From The Interpreter, 1950. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 30-E.

Calories—Nutritional and Harmful Types

By Dr. Royal Lee

SummaryOne of the truly perplexing assumptions of conventional nutrition is that industrially refining and processing a food has minimal effect on the food’s nutritional value. Look through the history of scientific studies on diet and health, and rarely will you find a distinction made between pasteurized and raw milk, bleached and unbleached flour, refined and unrefined vegetable oil. Yet the chemical and thermal mauling of the food supply is precisely at the root of our ill health, writes Dr. Royal Lee in this 1961 manifesto of holistic nutrition. The reason for mainstream nutrition’s blind spot when it comes to food processing, Dr. Lee explains, is its tendency to view foods solely in terms of calories—the measure of how much fuel a food supplies. Because processing and refining do not tend to alter the caloric content of foods, we have allowed uncontrolled damage to be done to the foods’ noncaloric elements—the vitamins, minerals, and countless other known and unknown cofactors that spur the thousands of biochemical reactions required to repair and sustain the body. The result of this destruction is a sea of “foodless calorie products” that, while giving the illusion of sustenance, fail on the most basic level to sustain human health. From Natural Food and Farming, 1961. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 30H.

Carbohydrate Not Essential

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: “What is refined sugar?” Dr. Royal Lee asks in this provocative excerpt and then answers, “It is pure carbohydrate. [And] is carbohydrate an essential food, a food component without which we could not live? It certainly is not.” Today people are picking up on the fact that while there are essential fats and there are essential amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), there is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. The content here is excerpted from the 1952 article “This Molasses War—Who Is Prevaricating,” in which Dr. Lee expounds on the critical difference between whole-food sweeteners and refined ones. From Let’s Live magazine, 1952. Reprinted by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research.

Diet Frights—Sign of the Times

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: “How long will it be before we realize the simple truth that the health of every individual depends upon his nutritional status?” So writes Dr. Royal Lee in making the obvious—yet still criminally ignored—correlation between the emergence of heart disease, cancer, and other “modern” diseases and the introduction of industrial food processing and refining, which turned white sugar, white flour, and hydrogenated fats into the foundation of our food supply. “Is any satellite, atomic bomb or guided missile so likely to jeopardize our health as the certainty that insidious food tampering assuredly sucks away, like greedy quicksand, at the very foundation of our health?” Dr. Lee asks ominously. From Let’s Live magazine, 1958.

The Direct Effect of Malnutrition on Tissue Degeneration

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: In this 1949 address to the Seattle chapter of the American Academy of Applied Nutrition, Dr. Royal Lee touches on some of the major findings of early nutrition history that are still, incredibly, ignored to this day. Topics include the importance of calcium, phosphorus, and raw protein to tooth health; the total destruction of nutrients in bread caused by bleaching; the connection between vitamin E deficiency and heart disease; the dependency of connective-tissue integrity on adequate vitamin C levels; and the various lesions of B vitamin deficiencies. Dr. Lee explains that most of the health problems caused by nutrient deficiency are the result of the consumption of overcooked and processed foods and concludes with perhaps the most important edict for good health: “We must take the trouble in our homes to prepare our foods from the basic materials as far as possible, even to the extent of growing our vegetables and fruits on properly composted soil if we can. The dividends will be quite possibly twenty years added to our life span, to say nothing of the life added to our years.” 1949. Reprinted by Selene River Press in Lectures of Dr. Royal Lee, Volume I

Diseases of Faulty Nutrition

By Sir Robert McCarrison, MD

Summary: Dr. Robert McCarrison is a bona fide giant in the history of nutrition. As a member of Britain’s Indian Medical Service in the early twentieth century, he conducted some of the first feeding studies investigating the effects of vitamin-deficient diets on test animals, and his 1921 book Studies in Deficiency Disease remains a classic on the physiological consequences of malnutrition. In this essay from 1928, Dr. McCarrison focuses on the “minor manifestations” (or, in today’s terms, subclinical symptoms) of vitamin deficiency, which he rightly names as harbingers of serious illness that any good doctor should be familiar with. He also admonishes his medical colleagues for fixating on bacteria as causes of disease, noting that it is malnutrition that sets the stage for infection in the first place. “Obsessed with the idea of the microbe,” he writes, “we often forget the most fundamental of all rules for the physician—that the right kind of food is the most important single factor in the promotion of health, and the wrong kind of food the most important single factor in the promotion of disease.” From Transactions of the Seventh Congress of the Far Eastern Association of Tropical Medicine, 1928.

Do You Want to Lose the Hair on Your Chest?

By Dr. Royal Lee and unknown author

Summary: Two articles featuring quotes and commentary by Dr. Royal Lee that contrast the incredible nutritional value of butter with the equally incredible lack of nutritional value of “oleomargarine” (what we call simply margarine today). In particular, the relationship between vitamin E and pubescent development is discussed, with Dr. Lee reminding readers that “sex development demands vitamin E, and butter is our main source in the American diet.” Dr. Lee presents photos of boys and girls demonstrating the failure of sexual differentiation to occur as a result of nutrient starvation. He also discusses the vital roles of the vitamin F and D complexes—both found naturally and in their entirety in butter but not in margarine—in assimilating and distributing calcium in the body. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 59, 1948. Multiple original sources. 

Dr. Brady’s Health Talk

By William Brady, MD

Summary: Dr. William Brady was a medical doctor with a popular syndicated newspaper column in the 1940s and ’50s. Here he discusses the link between physical degeneration and nutritional deficiencies resulting from the consumption of refined and processed foods. While we tend to think of the poor as most prone to malnutrition, Brady points out, in his characteristically biting manner, that it is actually the wealthy in America who are most susceptible. “Most Americans, particularly the well-to-do class, suffer from poor nutritional condition and are too dumb to realize what ails them,” he writes. For “anyone who purports to be informed,” Brady recommends as required reading the books Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, by Dr. Weston Price, Studies in Deficiency Disease, by Sir Robert McCarrison, MD, and The National Malnutrition, by Dr. D.T. Quigley. Sound advice still. From the Lincoln Sunday Journal and Star, 1950. Reprinted by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research.

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. 

Foreword to “Rebuilding Health: The Waerland Method of Natural Therapy”

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: Ebba Waerland was a natural foods advocate and healer from Sweden who gained international fame during the mid-twentieth century. The Waerland dietary system—named after her husband, physiologist Are Waerland—emphasized whole, natural foods over processed, nutrient-deficient ones, and it was very successful and popular in Europe. For the U.S. edition of her 1961 book, Rebuilding Health, Ms. Waerland asked American nutrition giant Dr. Royal Lee to write the foreword, which is presented here. In it Dr. Lee laments the assumption by modern civilization that industrially processed food is harmless—that “in some miraculous way, [the body] can transmute demineralized, devitaminized foods into healthy tissue.” A short biography of Ms. Waerland, from the book’s jacket, is included along with Dr. Lee’s foreword. From Rebuilding Health: The Waerland Method of Natural Therapy, 1961. Reprinted by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Health

Foreword to “The Real American Tragedy”

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: Processed food is not food—no matter how much we tell ourselves it is. If there’s one statement that sums the opinion of early nutrition researchers, that’s it. When industrial food processing burst onto the scene in the late nineteenth century, it began fundamentally changing the stuff that had always nourished human beings. Harsh mechanical and chemical methods destroyed the power of our food to nourish us; and to make matters worse, artificial substances of untested effect were added to the mix. This destruction of America’s food supply is one of the great ignored crimes of history and the subject of C.E. Burtis’s 1960 book The Real American Tragedy. In the book’s foreword, presented here, leading nutritionist Dr. Royal Lee describes a telltale pattern observed repeatedly by nutrition’s first investigators: wherever processed foods were introduced, cancer, heart disease, tooth decay, and other “modern” diseases—virtually unknown previously in the population—soon followed. While this fact is utterly ignored today, it was entirely evident to Dr. Lee and his colleagues that a preponderance of processed and artificial foods in the diet is the main reason for America’s poor health. From The Real American Tragedy, 1960. Published by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research.

Fundamentals of Nutrition for Physicians and Dentists

By N. Philip Norman, MD

Summary: Weston Price. Harold Hawkins. Percy Howe. Melvin Page. Royal Lee. What do these giants of early nutrition science have in common? They were all dentists—firsthand witnesses to the explosion of modernity’s most common disease, tooth decay. In their search for the cause of the epidemic confounding their profession, these practitioners discovered a startling fact: those patients with the worst oral health tended to have the worst overall health as well. Digging deeper, each researcher discovered that the reason for both tooth decay and the other degenerative diseases afflicting their patients was the same—malnutrition, brought on by a diet of industrially processed and adulterated foods. In this rousing 1947 article, New York City Hospital physician and nutritionist N. Philip Norman lauds the maverick dentists for their groundbreaking work while lambasting both mainstream dentistry and medicine for virtually ignoring the connection between diet and disease and allowing deranged foods to destroy the health of America. “The medical and dental professions failed to oppose the wholesale adulteration of our food supply, thereby allowing the insidious extension into our food culture of processed foods whose nutritional value was never questioned until after the damage was done.” From the American Journal of Orthodontics and Oral Surgery, 1947. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 33. 

Health of the American People

By Congressman David S. King

Summary: In this powerful 1959 speech before the U.S. House of Representatives, Utah Congressman David King warns our government that “the progressive deterioration of the condition of our health has been confirmed,” blaming the negative trend on the country’s chemically-laden and overly processed food supply. “There are many approaches to the prevention and treatment of…complex diseases,” King says, “but there appears to be one common denominator as the basic cause of degenerative diseases. That one factor is malnutrition.” Representative King calls for the creation of a congressional commission to officially investigate the adulteration of America’s foods as well as the fluoridation of public water supplies. Unfortunately—and predictably—the congressman’s calls went ignored. From the Congressional Record of the 86th U.S. Congress, 1959. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 111.

High Blood Cholesterol and Its Control

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: While cholesterol has been demonized by modern medicine, wise health practitioners know that it is, in fact, an essential component for the proper functioning of the human body. In this 1956 article, Dr. Royal Lee describes cholesterol’s vital role as a “sealing compound” in controlling the diffusion of substances across cell and blood vessel walls. Dr. Lee condemns hydrogenated fats and refined vegetable oils in particular for disturbing the normal cholesterol balance in the body, one probable cause of their effect being the massive loss of nutrients—including the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K and the essential-fatty-acid complex vitamin F—incurred during refining. From Natural Food and Farming, 1956.

Honey in Nutrition

By William Miller

Summary: An excellent overview of the value of raw honey. Author William Miller compares the nutritional qualities of this extraordinary food, manufactured by bees for millions of years, to those of refined sugar. His conclusion? They’re complete opposites nutritionally, with honey providing vitamins, minerals, and other factors critical for life and white sugar providing nothing more than empty calories. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 119, 1955. Original source unknown.

How and Why Synthetic Poisons Are Being Sold as Imitations of Natural Foods and Drugs

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: It is obvious why companies would opt for selling synthetic vitamins (made in a laboratory) over natural ones (found only in food): the former have a considerably higher profit margin. But just how synthetic vitamins became equated with natural ones is downright perplexing, given that there are such obvious and important differences between the two. In this profound report, Dr. Royal Lee presents some long-ignored distinctions between vitamins as made by nature and vitamins as made by human beings. For one, he points out, a natural vitamin is never a single compound, but rather it is a conglomerate of substances—or a “complex”—that work together to deliver a nutritive effect to the body. A synthetic vitamin, on the other hand, is merely one compound in such a conglomerate that has been deemed, somewhat arbitrarily, the “active” ingredient of the complex. Moreover, such an active ingredient, when produced in the lab, is never an exact replica of its natural counterpart but instead is often a mirror opposite of it, with very different and possibly toxic biochemical functioning. That these facts continue to be ignored—that synthetic vitamins are not recognized as crude and incomplete imitations of natural ones—is truly one of the great scandals of modern nutrition. Published by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research1948.

How Our Government Subsidizes Malnutrition and Disease

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: In this revealing booklet, Dr. Royal Lee describes how institutional policies in the USA were designed to protect the processing and refining—and thus the devitalization—of our food supply. He shows how the producers of processed dairy, grain, fruit, and meat induced the Food and Drug Administration as well as the American Medical Association (AMA) to overlook and even endorse their deadly products. In one astonishing case, Dr. Lee presents an ad paid for by the American Institute of Baking and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in which the AMA’s Council on Foods assures readers that “White Bread Is Wholesome”—this at a time when many of those readers, doctor members of the AMA, were privately reporting harmful effects of white bread in their patients. “Few people in the United States are aware,” Dr. Lee writes, “of the ‘iron curtain’ maintained in this country to prevent the food consumer from knowing that he is being sold fraudulent foods, foods that have had the better part of their nutritional value removed or destroyed to facilitate the commercial handling of the foods and to enable big food enterprises to unfairly overpower, by price competition, the smaller ones.” For anyone wondering why modern human beings suffer so much chronic disease and ill health in general, this work leaves little doubt where the blame lies. Published by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, 1949. Multiple original sources.

It Can Happen Here

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: In this reprint from the magazine Nature’s Path, Dr. Royal Lee rips food processors for adding poisonous additives and preservatives to their products and selling them as harmless to an unsuspecting public. Nitrates in meat, bleach in flour, and aluminum exposure are highlighted. “Are we…witnessing the crumbling of our civilization by reason of the compromise with principle that is being made by the guilty parties who have so thoroughly sold the public health down the river?” Lee asks. “‘Just a little poison in the flour’….’Nitrates in meat never hurt anybody’….’Aluminum toxic? Are you crazy?'” Just a few examples, Lee says, of how large-scale poisoning of the population has been glossed over in America. From Nature’s Path magazine. Reprint 30F, 1951.

Letter to the Directors of the American Academy of Nutrition

By Dr. Royal Lee

Summary: Dr. Royal Lee, writing on behalf of the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, urges the directors of the American Academy of Nutrition to adopt an official code of principles. Among the principles he suggests are addressing head on controversial subjects such as the pasteurization of milk and fluoridation of water as well as actively countering the trend toward “counterfeit foods” such as corn syrup (glucose), hydrogenated foods, and artificial colors. This is Dr. Lee’s public policy in a nutshell. The Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, 1957.

Margarine: A Counterfeit Food

By Kenneth de Courcy

Summary: This reprint of a 1957 article on margarine production epitomizes two fundamentally opposed philosophies of food production that emerged from the Industrial Revolution. On the one hand, large scale manufacturers strove to deliver food to consumers at the lowest cost possible, using novel chemical and thermal methods to preserve and manipulate foodstuffs regardless of the effect on the foods’ nutritional quality. (Indeed, industrial food processing was the reason the vitamins were discovered in the first place, the inadvertent removal of the then-unknown nutrients leading to mysterious epidemics across the globe.) Nutritionists, on the other hand, decried industrial adulteration of the food supply, citing copious evidence that eating foods in as natural a state as possible is critical for the growth, upkeep, and immunity of the human body. In this article the author, an advocate of commercial food manufacturing, sells margarine as a sort of modern super food, with a nutritional value “as high as that of butter” simply because the two contain the same amount of fat and calories per ounce. Such sophistry is what allowed food manufacturers to run roughshod over America’s food supply, as noted by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, which reprinted the article so its audience could see margarine precisely for what it is—a “counterfeit food” made from “refined, rancid, and otherwise unfit food sources.” From World Science Review, 1957. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 106.