Review of Reviews

Food Values

Less Meat and-More Milk, Cheese and Vegetables Are Recommended For Britain

April 15 1941
Review of Reviews

Food Values

Less Meat and-More Milk, Cheese and Vegetables Are Recommended For Britain

April 15 1941

Food Values

Less Meat and-More Milk, Cheese and Vegetables Are Recommended For Britain

AS YET the nutritional value of different foods is not quite such an important topic in Canada as it is in Britain, nevertheless the remarks of Viscount Dawson of Penn, as presented by Public Opinion, are interesting. This eminent physician states:

This generation inherits a strong habit of meat eating. Our Edwardian and Victorian forebears gave meat too prominent a place in their beliefs and in their stomachs, and our farmers are today still staunch believers in the roast beef of old England. That, I suggest, is the reason why beef is put second in importance to the milch cow—not on its merits.

It is true that meat is a valuable source of food, first, because it is a source of first-class protein, and, further than that, it is appetizing, stimulating, and satisfying, and complies with the carnivorous side of our human nature. But I suggest that these virtues of meat can be supplied by smaller portions and smaller amounts than our previous habits have hitherto demanded. Indeed this fact has been gradually growing on the public mind, and is evidenced by the increasing purchase during the last twenty-five years of fifty per cent more milk, sixty-four per cent

more vegetables and eighty-eight per cent more fruit.

When the Minister curtails our meat he does us no harm, provided we have access to certain essential foods. Among those I put whole-meal bread, milk, cheese, potatoes, carrots, leaf vegetables and fruit. Here I would like to say that cheese and meat are to a large extent interchangeable. They both contain first-class protein, in fact cheese has certain advantages in the way of vitamins which meat does not possess. After all, it may be said that the laborer in the old days was very near the truth when he sat under a hedge for his lunch and with his pocket knife in his hand ate a meal of brown bread, fat bacon, cheese and onion.

Basic nutritional value is impossible without an adequate supply of vitamins. We know from the records before us in this country of rickets, beri-beri and scurvy that the risk of these diseases has been removed by small quantities of foods containing almost imponderable quantities of those great activators of nutrition called vitamins.

That is one of many reasons why to my mind we must give milk pride of place. It is the complete food for it contains not only fats and protein and carbohydrate in assimilable quantities, but vitamins— those essential activators of nutrition— and equally essential minerals like iron, calcium and phosphorus.

I think it would be worth while if I refer to the history of the Oslo breakfast. When I was in Stockholm in the summer of 1939 I took the occasion of studying the education for health and housing of the population of Stockholm, where a very progressive policy prevails.

My Swedish colleague, as he was taking me around, said, “We do not use those kitchens now; we give all our children every day the Oslo breakfast.” This consists of whole-meal bread, milk, butter or margarine (the margarine being vitaminized) cheese salad or fruit. They give that cold meal every day to these children. I said to him, “Don’t the children get weary of it?” “Not in the least,” he replied. “They love it and they become lions in the process.”

We have had the same experience in England in the several experiments that have been made in various parts of the country, and to my mind these experiments provide a most eloquent piece of evidence establishing what a large part these ingredients play in our food, and that if we could have these kinds of food we might say all other things will be added unto us.

The distinguished Norwegian professor who conceived this idea argued that it is

not much use making the school meal an imitation of the home meals. His experience was that it was better to let the school meals secure to the children the essential foods with their vitamins and minerals, and in the result he found that with the school meal secure it mattered little if the children were fed defectively at home.

Milk production has a great economic advantage over beef production. If for example, you take one ton of food and give it for the purpose of producing milk, you will get more than twice the amount of food values for human consumption than you would get if a like quantity of food were used to produce beef.

“Now I want to say a word about cheese. I agree that cheese is an invaluable food. It is not only rich in protein and fat. but in the necessary vitamins and in minerals. Cheese is not a bulky food, a fact which again is of considerable importance when the matter of importation is being considered.

May I offer my congratulations on the approaching accouchement of the standard whole-meal loaf? One important point is to see that whole-meal flour is properly milled so that there is not too much roughage in it. That was not always the case in earlier times. The grain must be milled in such a way as to avoid too much roughage—and that can be done now by some of the newer methods—and then you have a valuable food. Let people have bread and milk and potatoes and a moderate amount of protein food, and I am sure all will go well.

Oranges are not only a useful food but have about them a cheerfulness which should not by any means be lightly turned aside.

Eggs are rich in essential nutritive substances, rich in vitamins and minerals. Their usefulness is very great in contributing to many digestible and tasty dishes. Eggs are specially valuable not so much for the country workers as for the sedentary workers in the cities and for the tired and the dyspeptics who are prone to rise up in increasing numbers in these days.

We are quite right with regard to food in placing caloric value first, but there is another factor about food of great importance and that is its digestibility. We have to remember that it is not the food we eat but the food we digest that nourishes our bodies. In fact, if we eat too much we may do our bodies a disservice. There is, therefore, a strong case for eggs, not only because they are digestible, but also because they contribute to making many light dishes which are suitable for and attractive to town workers and tired people.”