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.

Fat and Its Utilization in Cholesterol Control

By Dr. George Goodheart

SummaryIn 1961 the American Heart Association (AHA) officially endorsed the “diet-heart hypothesis,” the idea that overconsumption of dietary fat increases the risk of heart attack. In particular the AHA condemned saturated fat, a type of fat found primarily in animal foods. Holistic health practitioners balked at the idea of this natural substance causing an unnatural condition such as heart disease and sensibly claimed that, if anything, synthetic fats such as hydrogenated fats and heat-processed plant oils—introduced just prior to the rise of the heart disease epidemic—were likely to blame. These natural healers proved to be prescient, as research in recent decades has shown a correlation between the consumption of hydrogenated fats and heart disease while failing to show such a connection for natural saturated fat. (Ironically, many of the early studies “supporting” the diet-heart hypothesis lumped hydrogenated fats and saturated fat into the same category.) In this article from 1965, famed chiropractor Dr. George Goodheart dispels myths about the diet-heart hypothesis—including the idea that cholesterol is a toxin—and explains why natural fats actually aid proper cholesterol metabolism, not hinder it. He goes on to suggest that overconsumption of refined carbohydrates, not natural fat, is likely the biggest dietary cause of heart disease—a hypothesis explored in scientific detail in the seminal 2007 book Good Calories Bad Calories. From the Digest of Chiropractic Economics, 1965. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research form VH-1 75. 

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.

Fats in the Diet

By Wendell H. Griffith, PhD

Summary: A report from 1957 on the health effects of different dietary fats by Dr. Wendell Griffith, the chairman of the Department of Physiological Chemistry at the University of California Medical Center. Griffith describes the differences between natural fats and those created by hydrogenating vegetable and seed oils, explaining disturbingly that because of the many foreign chemicals created during hydrogenation, “it is virtually impossible to describe chemically some of the commercial hydrogenated plant oils.” The fact that the trans fats created during hydrogenation have since been strongly linked to heart disease would hardly have surprised Dr. Griffith. From the Journal of the American Medical Association, 1957. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 93.

Open Letters Concerning Dr. Frederick J. Stare (Modern Nutrition Magazine)

Various authors

Summary: In March 1957 Modern Nutrition printed the following excerpts from a stunning series of open letters by John Pearmain of the Boston Nutrition Society to Dr. Nathan Pusey, President of Harvard University, regarding “the matter of standards of research under Dr. Frederick Stare,” head of the university’s department of nutrition. Dr. Stare (1911–2002), probably more than any other public figure in U.S. history, was responsible for convincing Americans that sugar and other refined foods are harmless and that whole foods are no more valuable nutritionally than processed ones. “Actually,” he once wrote, “we get as much food value from refined foods that have been enriched as from natural foods, and sometimes more.” Dr. Stare also advised Americans to “eat your [food] additives—they’re good for you” and recommended Coca-Cola as “a healthy between-meals snack.” In the following excerpts, Mr. Pearmain questions the reasons for Dr. Stare’s pronouncements, suggesting it was not the weight of scientific evidence that underlay them but rather the financial might of his department’s funders, which comprised some of the country’s largest food processing companies (including, yes, Coca-Cola) as well as major chemical and drug interests. While these links were carefully kept from the public during Dr. Stare’s lifetime, recently they have begun to come to light, most notably in the 2016 exposé “Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease” in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine. The investigation pieces a paper trail from the Sugar Research Foundation—an industrial benefactor of Harvard’s nutrition department whose advisory board Dr. Stare served on—to research published by Harvard investigators intentionally obscuring evidence against sugar in the causation of heart disease. While the news of influence peddling at America’s most prestigious university came as a shock to many readers, Harvard’s “sugar scandal” is merely the tip of an iceberg of dubious activity by Dr. Stare and his department, as the following letters show. Included after the excerpts is some fascinating commentary by Dr. Royal Lee, a leading proponent of natural food nutrition during the 1950s and strong critic of Dr. Stare. From Modern Nutrition, 1957. Reprinted by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research.

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.

The Menace of Synthetic Foods

“There is only one test for safety and wholesomeness in food,” Dr. Royal Lee proclaims in this succinct overview of his nutritional philosophy. “That is the test of time. The test of a long history of use, over many generations of life.” Dr. Lee expounds on the ill effects of processed foods, which were pushed hastily onto the market by industrial food processors seeking immediate profit. He cites evidence that bleached flour produces headaches, diarrhea and depression; corn syrup causes diabetes; and hydrogenated fats help cause heart disease. Dr. Lee also documents the negative effects of synthetic isolated vitamins, the “jackpot in synthetic foods.” Includes also a report on chicanery regarding food additives at the Food and Drug Administration from one of the most outspoken watchdog publications of its day, Morris Bealle’s American Capsule News. 1957.