The Chemistry Of Food and Nutrition
A. W. DUNCAN, F.C.S.
Those who wish to thoroughly study the science of food are referred to the standard work, "Food and Dietetics," by Dr. R. Hutchison (E. Arnold, 16s.). The effects of purin bodies in producing illness has been patiently and thoroughly worked out by Dr. Alexander Haig. Students are referred to his "Uric Acid, an epitome of the subject" (J. & A. Churchhill, 1904, 2s.6d.), or to his larger work on "Uric Acid." An able scientific summary of investigations on purins, their chemical and pathological properties, and the quantities in foods will be found in "The Purin Bodies of Food Stuffs," by Dr. I. Walker Hall (Sherratt & Hughes, Manchester, 1903, 4s.6d.). The U.S. Department of Agriculture has made a large number of elaborate researches on food and nutrition. My thanks are due to Mr. Albert Broadbent, the Secretary of the Vegetarian Society, for placing some of their bulletins in my hands, and for suggestions and help. He has also written several useful popular booklets on food of a very practical character, at from a penny to threepence each.
Popular literature abounds in unsound statements on food. It is unfortunate that many ardent workers in the cause of health are lacking in scientific knowledge, especially of physiology and chemistry. By their immature and sweeping statements from the platform and press, they often bring discredit on a good cause. Matters of health must be primarily based on experience and we must bear in mind that each person can at the most have full knowledge of himself alone, and to a less degree of his family and intimates. The general rules of health are applicable to all alike, but not in their details. Owing to individual imperfections of constitution, difference of temperament and environment, there is danger when one man attempts to measure others by his own standard.
For the opinions here expressed I only must be held responsible, and not the Society publishing the pamphlet.
Vegetarians, generally, place the humane as the highest reason for their practice, though the determining cause of the change from a flesh diet has been in most cases bad health.
A vegetarian may be defined as one who abstains from all animals as food. The term animal is used in its proper scientific sense (comprising insects, molluscs, crustaceans, fish, etc.). Animal products are not excluded, though they are not considered really necessary. They are looked upon as a great convenience, whilst free from nearly all the objections appertaining to flesh food.