Excerpts from United States Senate document #264 of the 74th Congress, 2nd Session,
Published by the U.S. Congress in 1936
No longer does a balanced and fully nourishing diet consist merely of so many calories or certain vitamins or a fixed proportion of starches, proteins and carbohydrates. We know that it must contain in addition something like a score of mineral salts.
It is bad news to learn from our leading authorities that 99% of the American people are deficient in these minerals, and that a marked deficiency in any one of the more important minerals actually results in disease. Any upset of the balance, any considerable lack of one or another element, however microscopic the body requirement may be, and we sicken, suffer, shorten our lives.
Do you know that most of us today are suffering from certain dangerous diet deficiencies which cannot be remedied until depleted soils from which our food comes are brought into proper mineral balance?
We know that vitamins are complex chemical substances which are indispensable to nutrition, and that each of them is of importance for the normal function of some special structure in the body. Disorder and disease result from any vitamin deficiency.
It is not commonly realized, however, that vitamins control the body’s appropriation of minerals, and in the absence of mineral’s they have no function to perform. Lacking vitamins, the system can make some use of minerals, but lacking minerals, vitamins are useless.
The alarming fact is that foods (fruits, Vegetables and grains) now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contain enough of certain minerals are starving us – no matter how much of them we eat. No man of today can eat enough fruits and vegetables to supply his system with the minerals he requires for perfect health because his stomach isn’t big enough to hold them.
You’d think, wouldn’t you, that a carrot is a carrot – that one is about as good as another as far as nourishment is concerned? But it isn’t; one carrot may look and taste like another and yet be lacking in the particular mineral element which our system requires and which carrots are supposed to contain.
Laboratory test prove that the fruits, the vegetables, the grains, the eggs, and even the milk and the meats of today are not what they were a few generations ago (which doubtless explains why our forefathers thrived on a selection of foods that would starve us!).
The truth is that our foods vary enormously in value, and some of them aren’t worth eating as food…
Our physical well-being is more directly dependent upon the minerals we take into our systems than upon calories or vitamins or upon the precise proportions of starch, protein or carbohydrates we consume.
This talk about minerals is novel and quite startling. In fact, a realization of the importance of minerals in food is so new that the text books on nutritional dietetics contain very little about it. Nevertheless, it is something that concerns all of us, and the further we delve into it the more startling it becomes.
This discovery is one the latest and most important contributions of science to the problem of human health.
Senate Document No 264 is available from
The United States Government Printing Office in Washington.