By Don C. Matchan (and Dr. Royal Lee)
Summary: This report on a 1962 lecture by Dr. Royal Lee—essentially about the connection between illness and refined cooking oils—was a rally call for the American people to eschew the processed foods that were (and still are) destroying their health and return to a diet of nutritious, whole foods. In the article Dr. Lee excoriates the leaders of conventional nutrition at the time for actively promoting the consumption of processed foods, specifically calling out the head of Harvard’s Department of Nutrition, Dr. Frederick Stare, for accepting a million-dollar grant from food-processing giant General Foods. Dr. Stare, who also received funding from Coca-Cola and the National Soft Drinks Association, was largely responsible for the deception that refined sugar is harmless, saying it was “not even remotely true that modern sugar consumption contributes to poor health.” Later, Stare and his department would also lead the charge in discrediting Dr. Robert Atkins and other proponents of low-carbohydrate diets. From Herald of Health, 1962.[The following is a transcription of the original Archives document. To view or download the original document, click here.]
Rancidity and Disease
Dr. Royal Lee Says There’s Connection Between Spoiled Oils and Illness
The adverse effects of rancid oil, devitalized food, and sugar on the body, as well as the beneficial effects of vitamin C, sea salt, protein, and sesame seed, were explained by Dr. Royal Lee during the eastern convention of the National Health Federation. Dr. Lee was introduced by Harold Edwards as “America’s best known nutritional leader and pioneer in the natural health movement, writer, manufacturer, and inventor.”
“It’s a basic principle that we should eat natural foods,” Dr. Lee asserted. “[Yet] there has been tremendous opposition to use of natural products. Millions are spent telling us there’s nothing wrong with our diets. Dr. Frederick Stare, head of the nutrition department at Harvard, is a spokesman for those interested in making us believe processed foods are nutritious. That department received a million dollar grant for research recently from General Foods. One would think a great university would be above that sort of thing.
“We hear a lot about chemicals. A very fine book on this subject is Dr. Bicknell’s Chemicals in Food. Another good book, recommended by the AMA [American Medical Association] journal for doctors, is Vitamins in Medicine.
“A chemical is a substance that has been isolated, identified, and purified. White sugar is chemically pure sugar. It provides only calories. It destroys critical amino acids. Don’t forget the difference between food and chemicals. Once reduced to chemicals, [food] has lost its food value.
“Most of us must develop a deficiency disease before we’re interested in learning about nutrition. The human body will stand a lot of punishment. But every newspaper tells of someone dropping dead of heart disease. The death rate is 700,000 to 800,000 annually. And ninety percent of these cases are curable.
“People who develop heart disease think they’ve had hard luck. It’s nature’s penalty for what we ate. There are a lot of preventable diseases. Heart attacks are almost unknown in India and China. Yet during the Korean War 76 percent of the American soldiers autopsied were revealed to have had coronary disease. Infectious diseases have been greatly reduced, but degenerative disease is on the increase. Those making and selling refined foods are fighting for their [commercial] life, and that is the reason for the propaganda that today’s foods are nutritious.
“Refined, synthetic foods, grown on poor soil with a lack of cobalt, are causing disease, and this is fact. People eating imitation foods start having imitation bodies. They call in cancer or heart disease. Cooking proteins destroys parts of the amino acids, and the body cannot use that protein. Tissues start disintegrating.
“Rancid oil is cooked oil. Why the common cold? It is a result of rancid oil in food. The major source is packaged and processed cereals [made] from corn and rice. Rancid oil causes cancer. Much cream is rancid and moldy before it arrives at the creamery. And through homogenizing, stale milk can be mixed in with fresh milk, and “new” milk can be produced. Rancid oil is the most potent liver poison I know.
“In laboratory experiments rats developed cancer from rancid wheat germ oil. If you buy bulk oil, don’t get over a month’s supply, and keep it under refrigeration. Cold-pressed oil does not get rancid until the top is removed the first time. When moist air reaches the oil, rancidity starts. Wheat germ oil in a gelatin capsule is protected from moist air and does not go rancid for at least ten years. But look out for oleo and sour cream butter—they can be rancid, and you won’t detect it by taste. When sweet cream butter gets rancid, you can taste it.
“If you grind feed for pigs and let it stand a month before feeding, the hogs will start dying of pneumonia. Senator Robinson of New York twenty years ago learned about the effect of white bread. He was getting stale bread from a bakery, and subsequently his hogs started dying of pneumonia. He set up test lots, one group being fed the white bread, the other not. Those not eating white bread did not develop pneumonia.
“If we eat the right kind of foods, viruses won’t bother us. Vitamin C is important in building resistance. How is vitamin C destroyed? Solomon’s Manual of Pharmacology, in a paragraph titled “Fluorosis and Scurvy,” reports that P.H. Phillips in 1933 ‘found that guinea pigs receiving fluoride develop a scurvy-like condition on diets containing several times the amount of ascorbic acid that protects normal animals, and the adrenal glands hypertrophy. Fluoride probably inactivates [an] enzyme reaction that involves ascorbic acid. Bone marrow hyperplasia and atrophy and severe hypochromic anemia have been reported for long-continued administration [of fluoride] to dogs.’
“Dr. Wiley wrote that foods and poisons are opposite. We can’t live without food, and we can’t live with poison. Poison should not be added to food. Propionates in bread should not be permitted.
“Another thing not good for the body is corn syrup. Dr. Wiley pointed out it is likely to cause diabetes. The University of Pennsylvania proved it does. Wiley tried to stop the use of corn syrup. It’s a breakdown of the molecular structure of corn starch, or glucose. It is as easy to make glucose from sawdust as from corn. Hepatitis is caused by [such] glucose.
“Cereals are damaged by time after they’re processed. A test for the wholesomeness of bread is to grind some whole grain, make bread, and offer it to a dog. If you offer the dog baker’s bread at the same time, he won’t touch the baker’s bread. Back in 1926 the sales manager of a large flour mill told me flour loses 10 percent of its vitality per day after the wheat is ground. The only answer for wholesome bread is to grind the wheat and bake it yourself.
“When Napoleon was defeated by the British army, the British soldiers’ mess amounted to only 1 pound of wheat a day. In the Hunza country, where people live on cereals, there is zero arthritis.
“People say it costs too much to go to the trouble of getting honest foods. Well, you won’t live without ’em! [Yes] it costs more to make honest foods. [But compare natural corn with] hybrid corn, which is refined before you take it off the stalk. It’s as if you bought an automobile and pushed it home without an engine—an ornament, with no power plant.”
Dr. Lee said he believes milk, “like citrus juices, is overpromoted. It may have a place, but not an indispensable place.”
“What to do for protein? Soybeans are a wonderful source. In China they make soybean curd. There’s a trick about legumes. They have varying amounts of enzyme-inhibiting factor, making them hard to digest unless properly prepared.
“Soak the soybeans and refrigerate. After four hours, change the water, soak, and refrigerate again; go through this process four times at four-hour intervals. To make Chinese curd, blend the beans and strain the hulls that didn’t get chopped up. Add a little potassium carbonate—enough to curdle it; drain off the whey, and wash with tap water. You can make cheesecake using Chinese bean curd instead of cottage cheese. Or it an be molded into patties and fried. Fried foods [made] using fresh oil won’t cause indigestion. We have a leaflet telling about soy and Chinese curd; it’s available by writing us (Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, 2023 West Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee 3, Wisconsin).
“Other good protein sources are raw nuts (make nut butter with liquefier), sesame seed, and flax, though it gets rancid if it stands overnight after grinding. Sesame seed has a unique place in diet. It’s a stamina-builder, preferably in the form of butter. The Romans used sesame seed and honey as emergency rations for soldiers. The Turks always have some sesame seeds. Extracts of sesame seed are valuable in the treatment of some diseases, possibly even leukemia. (Ed. Note: Dr. Lee’s Vitamin Products Company imports sesame seeds from South America, where ashes are used in drying. These seeds are brown and somewhat bitter.)
“Flax is good but gets rancid quickly. It is high in vitamin F, helps blood pressure conditions, and is useful in treating prostate trouble—a form of vitamin deficiency. I have seen the vitamins in wheat germ bring back a patient’s second heart sound in ten minutes. These vitamins will stop fibrillation or murmur. It takes a week for the murmur to return, and if you eat whole grain bread, it’ll never come back.
“If you have a deficiency condition, it’s a good idea to search for a food pattern and correct the deficiency permanently. Keep a diary of what you eat for a week.”
Natural sea salt was recommended by Dr. Lee, who said an experiment with pigs revealed 8 percent faster growth [in animals fed sea salt] than animals fed regular salt.
“Tests on humans showed the same type of results,” he said. “Arthritis has been helped with sea salt. We need manganese, and sea salt is a source of trace minerals containing [just] about everything. I have seen the protein content of wheat doubled by adding sea salt to the land at 200 pounds to the acre.”
Dr. Lee described processed cheese as “another abomination. Today’s processing methods make it possible for manufacturers to buy spoiled cheese, mix it with gum, and repackage it.
“It doesn’t cost to get good foods, it pays,” he reiterated. “India has virtually no tooth decay. In this country it is rampant. In the 1933 The Merck Index said of dental caries: “Can be prevented by diet.” Now those words are deleted, and these words have been substituted: “Caries are caused by unknown microorganisms.”
In reply to a question from the audience, Dr. Lee said he sees “no place in nutrition for steamed bonemeal.”
Also, carcinogens in wax are water-soluble and milk companies are no longer using it in their cartons, he said.
By Don C. Matchan. Herald of Health, February 1962.
[Copy on cover of magazine this article originally appeared in]:
Herald of Health
“Dr. Royal Lee: There’s a Connection Between Rancid Oil and Disease”
“What Cooking Does: Parts of Amino Acids Destroyed”