Applied Trophology, Vol. 7, No. 9: Foods for Special Dietary Uses and Good Nutrition

Contents in Volume 7, Number 9 (September 1963):

  • Foods for Special Dietary Uses and Good Nutrition.

The following is a transcription of the September 1963 issue of Dr. Royal Lee’s Applied Trophology newsletter, originally published by Standard Process Laboratories.


Foods for Special Dietary Uses and Good Nutrition

Foods for special dietary uses, as compared with foods generally, cover a wide range of nutritional uses. As defined by the U.S. government, they include dietary supplements used for fortifying or supplementing one’s regular diet, or foods for supplying particular dietary uses that exist by reason of age. Of particular interest to professional men, however, are those special foods that (according to the government) are “for supplying particular dietary needs which exist by reason of physical, physiological, pathological, or other condition, including but not limited to the conditions of diseases, convalescence, pregnancy, lactation, allergic hypersensitivity to food, underweight, and overweight.”

Concerning foods for special dietary uses, U.S. Food and Drug Commissioner George P. Larrick states:

“Apart from vitamin and mineral content, some foods for special dietary purposes are used in the management of diseases, such as diabetes and certain types of heart conditions. Others are used for infants, the aged, the obese, the allergic, and the pregnant.”

Good Nutrition

Quite properly, the U.S. government recognizes the wide range of beneficial uses that these special foods can fulfill. They are not drugs. However, they frequently play a vital role in the health of a given individual. Detractors of foods for special dietary uses (including certain apologists for “empty calorie” and “foodless” food commercial interests) sometimes claim that they are not of value because the “ordinary” diet presumably supplies one with everything needed. There is no such thing as an “ordinary” diet, however, one’s nutrition being strictly an individual matter. And, many people in the U.S. do not consume in their daily diets nutrients adequate either in quality or quantity for best nutritional health. For these individuals, foods for special dietary uses can contribute significantly to better health through good nutrition.

The U.S. government has repeatedly emphasized the vital importance of good nutrition for achievement and maintenance of health. For example, the U.S. government publication, Yearbook of Agriculture (1959) states the following (page 4) (recommended for nutritional reading by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration):

“Knowledge of nutrition has been developed to the point where we know that the human body must get some half-hundred different substances from food. These substances collectively are called nutrients. Each nutrient has specific functions, and each is needed, although in many instances several nutrients must work together closely to perform the assigned services for the body.”

Vitamins are included among the nutrients essential to human health. Concerning them, this government publication states (page 26):

“Vitamins, although they are required in minute amounts, are essential for growth and reproduction, formation of antibodies, coagulation of the blood, resistance to infection, formation of intercellular substances; and integrity of bones, teeth, skin, blood, and nervous tissue. They also function as coenzymes for innumerable chemical reactions concerned with the metabolism of food, on which the nutrition of the body depends.”

The science of nutrition is relatively new. Thus, although research performed with natural foods has revealed some of the nutrients necessary for good health, it is recognized that there are also undiscovered and unidentified substances in natural foods that are necessary for good nutrition. In this connection, the government Yearbook cited above states (page 162):

“Some day—and the day may not be far off—a white-coated scientist is going to look up from his data books or his laboratory bench and tell himself, with no more excitement than his scientist’s caution allows, ‘This is it.’

“It will be a new vitamin or a new growth factor that he and perhaps many other laboratory workers have tried for a long time to find or identify exactly.”

“This new vitamin, or a food factor, will be a link between the first findings in nutrition years ago and today’s research. It will push farther back the frontiers of man’s knowledge. It will benefit people or animals or both. It will be as exciting as the solution of a mystery story and perhaps as outstanding as Dr. Jonas Salk’s discovery of vaccine for poliomyelitis.

“It may rank alongside the discovery of vitamins A, C, D, and the B complex vitamins, which were complete mysteries before 1920 and minor mysteries between 1930 and 1955, when their chemical structures were discovered.

“For there are still discoveries to be made of unidentified substances in foods.

“Natural food, such as milk, meat, eggs, vegetables, and cereals, contain at least several important nutrients and substances whose identity we still do not know. We call them unidentified factors. The list of them has been dwindling steadily as our knowledge has grown, but the ones remaining seem to be important in nutrition.

“How do we know that unidentified factors exist?

“To find out, we start with a purified diet that contains all known nutrients in ample amounts in the form of a mixture of pure proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fat. We feed it to an experimental animal and keep a record of the results. If we can get better results—such as improved growth or reproduction— by adding any natural food to this diet, we can be fairly certain that an unidentified factor is present in the natural food.”

Page 167:

“When scientists develop further information on the present unidentified factors in food, people will benefit.”

The government Yearbook states (page 1):

“Food contributes to physical, mental, and emotional health. Food nourishes our bodies…People always have known they must eat to live—children to grow normally and adults to keep strong. But food can do more than satisfy physiological hunger and carry psychological and social values. Modern science shows that all of us, regardless of purse, can add years to our life and life to our years if we apply knowledge about nutrition to our selection and use of food…Brain and nerve are nourished by the same bloodstream that builds brawn and bone. Persons of every age and in every occupation require food of kinds and amounts that enable their bodies to maintain the best possible internal environment for all of the cells and tissues.”

“Our growing knowledge about nutritional needs and the nutritive characteristics of various foods is helping us to choose diets that can help keep us well and permit our inherited abilities to develop and function fully.

“Nurture determines the extent to which we can achieve the upper limits of well-being set by Nature. While no one would want to underestimate the influence of modern medicine, good housing, and other environmental conditions in promoting health, everyone can be sure that food comes first.” (Emphasis added)

Much Poor Nutrition

It is unfortunate, but true, that many persons in the United States fail to have proper nutrition. In this connection, the above U.S. government publication states (page 192):

“Many studies indicate that many families do not have diets considered best for the maintenance of good health and physical well-being.”

The U.S. government publication Principles of Good Nutrition also states that “many people still consume diets poor in essential food elements.” This publication notes (page 2):

“But poor or ‘borderline’ diets are likely to result in retarded growth and development, bad teeth, increased susceptibility to illness and a constant sense of fatigue.”

The government Yearbook cited above states (page 323):

“Improvement of the diets of American adults will come when more of them realize than do now that some changes in our patterns of eating are needed.”

Foods for Special Dietary Uses

Scientific experimentation and research have resulted in the development of foods for special dietary uses that can provide concentrated and natural specific nutrient fractions of foods, intended to correct specific nutritional deficiencies. Depending upon the individual need or requirement involved, these special foods can, in a given instance, provide a significant contribution to better nutrition and good health.

Heather Wilkinson

Heather Wilkinson is the Archives Editor for Selene River Press.

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