THE League of Nations has done quite enough mischief in matters political. It seems to be a singularly ill-starred body. It is animated by the best intentions, but the result of its activities are deplorable. Unfortunately, that does not only apply to matters political, such as the Abyssinian affair and various other disappointments produced by that futile organization.
I have just received a little volume entitled “The Problem of Nutrition–(Volume 2)–Report on the Physiological Bases of Nutrition”, drawn up by the Technical Commission of the Health Committee of the League of Nations at the meeting held in London (November 25th to 29th, 1935), revised and amplified at the meeting held at Geneva (June 4th to 8th, 1936).
In the introduction of the so-called volume which is a pamphlet of 27 pages, we read “For 10 years, the Health Organization of the League has been engaged in the study of nutrition in relation to public health.” Then comes an account of 10 years activity which might just as well be passed over because activities do not count by intentions or length of years but only by results. There is an imposing number of professors who apparently have contributed to the findings of this body.
The findings may be very scientific but unfortunately they lack commonsense. We are told exactly how many calories we should consume at various ages, how many calories pregnant women and nursing women should consume, there are figures relating to the protein requirements, and so forth and so on.
It really tries ones patience to read such rubbish. No sane individual can regulate his own diet or anybody elses diet by calculating out the calories, vitamins, etc. Such theoretical nonsense can only be proposed by professors who live in laboratories and they ought to be ashamed to write such stuff.
The fatuous body issuing this publication then proceeds to “general directions”. In these we get a glimmer of sense. We read, for instance, “white flour in the process of milling is deprived of important nutritive elements. Its use should be decreased and partial substitution by lightly milled cereals and especially by potatoes is recommended.
The consumption of an excessive amount of sugar is to be condemned, as it tends to lessen the proportion of protective foods. Milk should form a conspicuous element of the diet at all ages. Fresh vegetables and or fruit should always be constituents of the normal mixed diet.
The fact that white flour and white sugar are one of the most prolific producers of disease is notorious. If one puts rats on a diet of white flour and white sugar, they will all die within three weeks. If one puts them on a diet of whole wheat, they will live and flourish. Instead of saying plainly that white flour is a dietetic poison, the ridiculous Committee merely recommends reduction of use and substituting “lightly milled cereals” which means cereals which do not contain the entire berry of the wheat.
It recommended flour which is deprived of a considerable proportion of the most valuable food-stuff of all, bran, which incidentally happens to be the cheapest of all foods.
There is no nutritive science. He who tries to regulate his intake by means of the fatuous information supplied by the professors of dietists, will fail. Three of the highest nutritional authorities I know suffer all three from serious digestive troubles. One has had serious gastric and duodenal ulcers, and has undergone a short circuit operation, and the other two are in a singularly deplorable state.
If the Committee had simply told people that they should live on the most natural food in the most natural form obtainable, and shun refined and manipulated food of every kind, they would have done something worth while. No one should take any notice of the League of Nations