THE FOOD FACTOR: Why We Are What We Eat by Barbara Griggs

THE FOOD FACTOR: Why We Are What We Eat

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A natural-food advocate serves up a history of dietary ideas and developments from Galen (who claimed fresh fruits caused fevers) to today's ""nutrition revolution."" Griggs, a consultant for the British magazine New Health, concentrates primarily on nutritional developments in the U.K. and the US. True scientific research on food did not begin until the 19th century, when it was found that scurvy could be prevented by consumption of citrus fruits, and rickets by regular doses of cod-liver oil. The 19th century also, however, saw the invention of the flour rolling mill, which stripped the germ as well as the bran from wheat to produce white flour. This was considered ""superior"" and ""more digestible"" at the lime. Beriberi (hitherto rare in Europe and the US) spread in the wake of White flour. Coincidentally, pellagra appeared wherever milled corn products became the staple. This work is part a history of nutritional detection and part a polemic for natural foods. Grigg relates in detail the efforts of pioneers such as Dr. Joseph Gold-berger--whose efforts led to the cure of pellagra--and various Dutch and British physicians who discovered that beriberi was also caused by a vitamin B deficiency. She also relates the efforts of natural-food advocates to convince a scornful health establishment that processed foods and a heavy meat diet are basically unhealthy. These advocates range from Sylvester Graham (of cracker fame) to, more recently, Gaylord Hauser and J.I. Rodale. As a medical detective writer, Griggs is no Berton RouchÉ or even Paul DeKruif. Her bias for natural organic foods and her tendency to confine her evidence to positive research developments skew the historical aspects of her material. To be fair, however, she has assembled much information that will be new and interesting to many readers.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Viking