The Word of Wisdom:
A Modern Interpretation
By John A. Widtsoe and Leah D. Widtsoe
Deseret Book Company
Copyright 1950 by John A. Widtsoe and Leah D. Widtsoe
Deseret News Press
Printed in the United States of America
Table of Contents
1—The Word of Wisdom
2—Need of Health Information
3—”The Order and Will of God”
4—”Evils and Designs”
9—”Out of the Ground”
10—”All Wholesome Herbs”
11—”In the Season Thereof”
13—”Wheat for Man”
14—”Corn for the Ox”
17—”Prudence and Thanksgiving”
The Word of Wisdom, a code of health dealing primarily with human nutrition, was promulgated as a divine revelation in 1833 by Joseph Smith, the “Mormon” Prophet. It is a part of the religious system of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which declares that the care of the body is a sacred duty; and it has been practiced measurably by members of the Church with very favorable results.
Three objectives have been kept in mind in the preparation of this book. First, to make clear the meaning of the Word of Wisdom in terms of modern knowledge. Second, to show that the learning of the last century confirms the teachings of the Word of Wisdom. Third, to furnish some information for the guidance, through proper nutrition, of those who seek to retain, improve or recover their health.
The Word of Wisdom is not another food fad, of which there have been thousands in the world’s history. It is a simple, rational dietary system conforming to general human experience and to accurate scientific knowledge; and is an important guide to physical welfare. Those who are well should practice the Word of Wisdom as a prevention of disease. Those who are ill should not only practice the Word of Wisdom, but should also seek professional help from the well-trained and reliable physicians of this day. The recent advances in the science of human nutrition are gradually being included in the curricula of medical schools; and the medical profession is aware as never before of the importance of proper nutrition in the maintenance of health and the curing of disease.
More than a generation ago the authors of this book sought out and studied with the world’s leaders in the sciences underlying nutrition, and have been connected at various times since then with the scientific and practical aspects of the subject. Out of this life-long, intimate association with the Word of Wisdom and the sciences back of it have come two main convictions: that this health code promotes human welfare; and that the full accord of the Word of Wisdom with advancing science is a convincing evidence of the divine inspiration of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
The books listed at the end of each chapter offer opportunities for more detailed study of the subjects herein discussed as parts of the Word of Wisdom.
Latter-day Saints and all others would do well to acquaint themselves with the truths, positive and negative, taught and implied in the Word of Wisdom, and to practice its precepts so that disease may be prevented. Thereby they would win the fundamentals of life’s happiness.
Grateful acknowledgment is made of the assistance rendered by many friends in the preparation of this book. Elders Joseph Fielding Smith, Joseph F. Merrill, Charles A. Callis and Albert E. Bowen of the Council of Twelve, and Prof. N. I. Butt and Dr. Vasco M. Tanner of the Brigham Young University, and Richard L. Evans, of the Improvement Era, have read the manuscript and given valuable suggestions. James H. Wallis, Glyn Bennion and Hugo D. E. Peterson have given much assistance in the proof-reading of the book.
Preface to Revised Edition
In this edition the contents of the book have been made to conform to the knowledge gained during the last decade of unprecedented increase in human advancement. Few changes have been made; much newer knowledge has been added. The newer knowledge however has only confirmed more emphatically the principles set forth in the revelation known as the Word of Wisdom.
“Yea, flesh also of beast and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly; and it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in time of winter, or of cold, or famine.”
The chief nutritional value of the flesh of beast and fowl is that it furnishes much needed protein (as the animals have prepared it for themselves from the grains and vegetation of the soil) in the human diet. However, there is a condition attached to their use as stated in the above quotation.
Building Foods or Protein. Protein is the name given to the food constituents which are used in the body to build cell structure and thus produce growth in the young; and to repair or renew the tissue torn down by the stress of daily life at all ages. The very name protein indicates its importance for it derives from a Greek verb meaning “to take first place.” After water, protein forms the greatest component part of all body tissues and is an indispensable part of every living cell. Therefore it must be supplied in the food daily for health.
The component parts of protein are simpler substances, all containing nitrogen and called amino acids. There are twenty-three different amino acids and the number of different combinations possible with two or more of them is greater than the number of words possible from the 26 letters of the alphabet. Their number runs into the quintillions. Chemists have estimated that at least 2,432,902,008,176,640,000 different combinations are possible, with each protein differing from others because of the different amino acids composing it. Therefore, as starch or carbohydrates in digestion break down into the sugar groups composing it, protein in digestion becomes again the different amino acids of which it is composed.
Ten of the amino acids are absolutely essential for health of the body and cannot be made within the body as can some of the other less important amino acids. Therefore they must be supplied in the food if one would be well. The foods containing these amino acids are called complete protein. Others are called incomplete protein or proteins of lesser biologic value. Another division of proteins is into the animal proteins and vegetable proteins-the name indicating their source.
Proteins are found in all natural foodstuffs, but of varying digestibility. For instance, the proteins in wheat are not as useful for some animals as are the proteins in corn. (See pages 232, 235.) The difference in the proteins is due to the different combinations of the amino acids of which they are composed. This whole subject is being studied intensively in several laboratories and much new information may shortly be expected which will clarify numerous obscure problems in nutrition. Meanwhile, the fact remains that proteins are indispensable for the maintenance of life.
Of the animal proteins, “fresh eggs and clean milk have the highest value” 3 for they contain the 10 essential amino acids. Dr. Bogert states: “Eggs are superior to muscle meat in their nutritive value and 3 to 4 eggs-more when possible-should be purchased weekly for each individual before buying meat. An egg a day is highly desirable especially for children.” However one should not eat too many eggs for they are acid forming as is meat and tend to cause putrefactive bacteria in the bowels though not to the same extent as does meat. (See page 245.) Next in value are the so-called “organ meats”-liver, kidney, heart, brains-which are also richer in vitamins and minerals than the muscle meat. Chops, steaks, roasts, contain less of the essential amino acids, but are good protein foods if used “sparingly.”
Meat, fowl, fish, eggs, milk, and cheese are foods rich in protein-the white of egg and lean meat being nearly pure protein. The proteins in these animal foods are easily and completely (97%) digested (when properly prepared) and in most cases are valuable as healthful articles of diet. Milk, cheese and eggs are most valuable and should form the bulk of the protein requirement. In many ways these have the added advantage that they do not require the taking of life.
Eggs are listed as complete protein though they contain about 74.0% water. The 26% of dry matter is made up of protein and fat in about equal proportions. The fat, however, as also the vitamins A, B, D, E, and G, and the minerals occur in the yolk. The white of egg is rich in vitamin G or B2, hence eggs are one of the most valuable of protein foods.
Milk also is listed as a complete protein but it contains other valuable food substances. It is a well balanced food, with about 87 % of water, the remaining 13%; being divided into about 3.5% protein; 3.9% fat; 4.9% carbohydrate or milk sugar; and 0.7% mineral matter including calcium and phosphorus-all of them so greatly needed by the body for growth and repair. Milk also contains vitamins A, D, B2 or riboflavin, and some B1 or thiamin, especially if cows are fed on green pasture. The carbohydrate of the milk, lactose or milk sugar does not ferment as other sugars do and thus is a preventive of digestive disturbances. Another advantage of milk is that the lactic acid organisms in the milk will in time cause it to sour and these organisms prevent the formation of putrefactive bacteria in the bowels. The whey, which remains after the curd or cheese is separated contains the milk sugar and most of the minerals of the milk and is an excellent food. It should be used either as whey-lemonade or orangeade-or evaporated to form a palatable cheese, widely used in European nations. It could, with profit to the health, be more often used in this country. The Norwegian cheese made from whey is called prim-ost.
Vegetable proteins are found in all plant tissues in varying amounts but they usually lack one or more of the essential amino acids and are therefore called incomplete proteins. However, the proteins of nuts, soybeans, wheat (especially wheat germ), cottonseed flour and meal are all complete proteins and are the foods to be used largely when meat is excluded from the diet. Dried peas, beans and lentils contain as much protein as lean beef and even the cereal grains contain much protein; but since vegetable proteins are rather dense and solid m character, they are digested less rapidly and completely than animal proteins. They also may lack one or more of the essential amino acids. Atwater reports the percentage digestibility of cereals to be 85 %; of dried legumes 78 % ; of vegetables 83 % ; and of fruits 85 % . This lower digestibility of vegetables as compared with animal protein does not of itself affect the value of vegetable protein in supporting human life if the vegetables are chosen wisely. The fact that most vegetable proteins are lacking in some of the essential amino acids is the reason why it is difficult to obtain maximum nourishment from vegetables alone. The vegetable proteins most valuable for their amino acid content are noted above. When certain incomplete proteins are mixed they seem to assist each other toward complete nutrition. Gelatin and white of egg are incomplete proteins, but when mixed with other proteins produce good results.
Grains, fruits and vegetables are valuable as food for other than their protein content; they are also rich in vitamins and minerals. A properly selected low meat or wholly vegetarian diet, if supplemented with milk, cheese and eggs, will support life completely. The above conclusion is fully borne out by experiments carried out by men of the highest professional training and integrity.
That excessive animal protein m the diet is undesirable was proven by a most notable investigation in this country. It was conducted in 1903 and 1904 by Dr. Russell H. Chittenden then Director of the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University. He and four of his professional colleagues, with thirteen men detailed from the Hospital Corps of the United States Army, and eight university students trained in athletics, were placed on a diet low in animal protein, in some cases it was wholly vegetarian. The metabolism of these men was followed with detailed scrutiny. The men remained in good health or improved in health, and showed an increase in physical vigor and strength. Dr. Chittenden concluded from these exhaustive experiments that the ordinary daily intake of animal protein may be reduced one-third or one-half with distinct bodily benefit; that “too great indulgence in flesh foods may have its serious side”; and that all good foods may be used safely in moderation.
Experiments of equal or greater importance have been conducted for nearly half a century by Dr. Martin Hindhede of Denmark. Under his leadership in the Danish Institute of Nutrition, numerous notable experiments have shown conclusively the beneficial effects of a low protein diet, and also the possibility of subsisting on an exclusively vegetarian diet with resulting increased mental and bodily health.
During the first World War Dr. Hindhede had the opportunity of carrying out the greatest large scale nutrition experiment in the modern world’s history. The war blockade compelled Denmark which imported cattle and hog feeds, to slaughter and sell four-fifths of its hogs and to reduce the dairy cattle by 34%. The farm products thus saved were made a part of the new dietary of the Danish people. A low meat, that is a low protein diet, became necessary. A “war bread” was made from whole rye flour, mixed with about 15% of wheat and wheat bran. By governmental order, under Hindhede’s advice, each person (from October, 1917, to the end of the war) was allowed a daily diet, carefully weighed out, of very little meat, small amounts of butter and milk, and substantial quantities of the above bread, with cereals and potatoes and a few other vegetables. Alcoholic beverages were forbidden; tea and coffee were unavailable. Ordinarily, the average person would turn up his nose at such a diet. Within a few months, the beneficial effects of this diet upon the national health became evident. During the year of the experiment the Danish death rate fell nearly one-fifth, and became the lowest ever known in Europe. When, in October, 1918, the influenza epidemic broke out, Denmark was the only non-combatant nation in Europe with a death rate, during and after the course of the disease, below the pre-war mortality records. A look at the actual figures following the influenza epidemic will be interesting.
|DEATH-RATE PER 1000 LIVING|
|Denmark||13.3||13.1||(Fall of 2 per cent)|
|Norway||13.5||16.7||(Rise of 24 per cent)|
|Sweden||14.1||18.0||(Rise of 27 per-cent)|
|Holland||13.6||17.1||(Rise of 26 per cent)|
|Spain||23.0||33.6||(Rise of 46 per cent)|
|Switzerland||15.2||19.0||(Rise of 25 per cent)|
Abstinence from alcohol, tea and coffee, no doubt was a great factor in winning these remarkable results, but careful statistical studies have shown that the simple, natural diet was a prime factor in reducing the normal death rate and in giving the nation resistance against the influenza scourge. In like manner a good diet of natural food will protect the body against most diseases today.
From these experiments, and many others that might be quoted, it may be held that when necessary man can live well on vegetable protein alone, but that flesh foods in moderation need not be prohibited. However, great care and wisdom must be used in the choice of foods, especially if animal foods are excluded from the diet. (See Vegetarianism, page 135) An understanding of the basic facts of dietetics is of first importance, and is the spirit of the message of the Word of Wisdom: “To be used with prudence and thanksgiving.”
The following table of selected analyses of protein con-tent together with the brief table on page 127 illustrates the presence of protein in a few ordinary foodstuffs. The percentages vary, but protein is always present.
|Proteins||Fats||Calories per lb.|
|Beans (navy, dried)||22.5||1.8||1605|
|Beans (soy, dried)||33.0||21.0||1993|
There are also small amounts of inorganic minerals in flesh foods, usually under one percent. Note that the highest protein content is in the legumes—especially soybeans. Also that nuts contain more protein than meat.
Disadvantages of Meat as Food. Meat dishes are easily prepared, are very appetizing, and permit of a pleasing variety in the menu. If ease of preparation and digestion were the chief consideration, one could say offhand that animal foods should form the bulk of the protein supply. But the physiological effects of excessive meat eating show that meats should be eaten in great moderation.
During digestion, chemical changes occur in the stomach and intestines which make a part of the food soluble so that through the intricate process known as assimilation, it may be absorbed into the blood stream. Many products of meat metabolism are distinctly acid (uric acid and others) and may cause serious harm to the body if excessive in quantity. Besides, the waste products from meat are disposed of through the action of the liver and kidneys, therefore, excessive meat eating may place an undue strain upon these important organs. Excess of uric acid and the putrefaction of proteins in the bowels often contribute in causing rheumatism, gouty conditions, stones in kidney and bladder and the less severe attacks of headache, fatigue and a decreased resistance to infections.7 It is well substantiated that kidney diseases increase in communities with an increase of meat in the diet above that desirable for good health.
The undigested portion of all food is passed through the intestines into the colon or large bowel. If too much meat is eaten this undigested portion may decompose and this intestinal putrefaction is usually attended with discomfort and ill health. The claim is made by one competent authority that “almost all the ills to which human flesh is heir have been ascribed at one time or another to this source.”
Intestinal poisoning from excessive meat eating is not uncommon. This has been shown by numerous experiments. For example, Dr. Pavlov, world famous physiologist, in a delicate operation, directed the blood of a dog from the intestine to the heart, without passing through the liver. As long as the dog was fed vegetable food, he lived on as usual, but when he was fed flesh foods he suffered convulsions and died. This would indicate that in the decomposition of animal protein poisonous products are formed which are removed to some extent by the liver. Carnivorous wild animals are characterized by large livers. Man has a relatively small liver.
It has been shown experimentally that rats fed a high protein diet are subject to nephritis or kidney disease.” Moreover, the heavy meat eater does not as a rule eat sufficient amounts of the other necessary foods. Milk and its products are seldom used and only a small supply of vegetables. This, as has been shown in earlier chapters, is a dangerous practice; especially since an excessive use of meats, always acid-forming, disturbs the acid-alkaline balance of the body. (See pages 116-119.) The ingestion of the necessary minerals and vitamins is also diminished when meat forms a large part of the dietary. (See chapter 9; also Dr. Rose’s experiment on page 254.)
Feeding meat to children is questioned by many safe authorities on nutrition, even though it is recommended by many doctors. Naturally, children need more easily digested and assimilable protein food than adults, since they have constant need to form new body substances. This is best met by the use of milk, eggs, cheese and the wholesome proteins of whole-grain products, legumes, and the many vegetables. These should form the basis of the child’s protein needs. Dr. Mary Swartz Rose claims that not till a child is eight or nine years old should meat be eaten regularly and then a very small amount and it must not supplant milk.11 Where the income is small, children must be given special consideration in all dietary matters so that they may receive sufficient protein in other than meat proteins. (See page 191.)
It must be emphasized again that while there must be some protein in the food every day, it may be other than meat protein. It is unwise to eat meat and economize in milk, cheese and eggs. However, in summer when the consumption of meat should be eliminated, great care should be exercised to secure enough protein from other sources.
How Much Protein is Necessary? One may well ask: how much animal or vegetable protein should be eaten to keep well? Food chemists and dietitians agree with few exceptions, that as a general guide about one-sixth of the food eaten should be protein, and that this amount should be subdivided into animal and vegetable proteins. One-third of this should be animal protein and two-thirds protein from vegetable sources. Thus only about 1/18th of the food need be animal protein—and that may be from the animal derivatives—milk and eggs.
The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council in 1948 recommended that the normal daily need for protein in the diet should be 1 gram (28.35 grams equal 1 ounce) of protein per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight. A liberal allowance as stated by Dr. Sherman is 70 grams for the average man of 70 kilos, 60 grams for the average woman of 56 kilos of body weight.’2 In other words, a man weighing 154 pounds needs 3 to 4 ounces of protein daily and a woman weighing less needs slightly less, unless she is pregnant or nursing a baby, then her need is increased. The maximum amount would be 5 ounces daily. Only % of the protein need be meat or complete protein. The % may be from grains, legumes and other articles in the diet. The League of Nations standard is that 1-A 0 of the total calories in the diet should be protein. Everyone may be his own guide in this respect.
For fuller discussion of this subject see the article “Meat As Human Food” in the Improvement Era for January, 1943. Read the entire article.
Meat and Work. The actual amount of protein required would differ somewhat in different climates and for people of different occupations. However, let it be understood that people who do heavy work, or indulge in athletic sports do not need more meat or protein. What they do need is an excess of carbohydrates for they are the energy-producing foods. Controlled laboratory and actual experiments in life prove that far more efficiency is gained on a high carbohydrate, low-protein diet. “Efficiency is particularly increased when the protein is furnished largely by milk and eggs.” The old days of the athletes training diet of meat, meat, meat, have vanished in the light of newer knowledge.
The doctrine that meat is peculiarly able to endow men with strength, endurance and courage has long been shown to be fallacious. Vegetarians have often excelled in competitive sports. This was clearly shown in the Chittenden and Hindhede experiments to which reference has already been made. In this respect Dr. Mottram’s statement is enlightening:
“The idea that meat promotes energy above all foods is a myth that lingers on. Possibly the myth has its roots in some old folk lore, for the scientific ground, if there ever was any for it, disappeared years ago. . . . To sum up: Meats are dear foods; they could be partly or wholly replaced by cheese and milk.”
Economy in Meat Eating. The economic phase of meat eating is important. Meat proteins are much more ex-pensive than vegetable proteins. The animal consumes six to eight pounds of vegetable protein, and other valuable foods, to produce one pound of animal protein. This economic waste points to the desirability of the substitution of vegetable for animal protein, especially in hot weather. This is also necessary in view of the increasing population in all countries with the possibility of a diminishing food supply. Meat eating is uneconomical from every point of view. One-third of the American dietary consists of meat. This is too high both from the physiological and the economic point of view. Meat is necessarily expensive since only a small portion of the vegetable protein fed to animals becomes available as human food. Since there is a loss of three-fourths or more of the vegetable protein used in the transformation into animal flesh (and much of that is waste product) it would seem extravagant at least to increase meat consumption. Undoubtedly if the present amount of meat consumed in America were cut in half and used only in winter, better health, greater resistance to diseases, keener zest for life, and truer enjoyment would wait upon the people. The advice that not more than one-sixth or one-tenth of the food budget should be spent for meat instead of one-third as at present, should be heeded. Indeed very many people are finding increased health from excluding meat entirely from the diet, using more milk, eggs, legumes, nuts and whole grain products entirely for the protein needs of the body.
Statistics indicate that in America there is a distinct trend toward the reduction of the consumption of meat, with an increase in the use of dairy products, vegetables, and fruits—a trend towards a more wholesome dietary—and this in spite of the highly advertised campaign for meat eating by the Meat-Packers Institute!
Carnivorous Men and Beasts. The Eskimo and all carnivorous animals live almost entirely on meat and fish with an addition of a good part of blubber or fat, and they maintain good health. What is the explanation? First, it must be remembered that the Word of Wisdom was given to people living in a temperate climate and under civilized conditions. Second, and of more importance, flesh-eating people and animals feed upon all parts of the carcass, the internal organs first, then the muscle meat, and they often drink the blood. They also chew the bones as is proven by their worn-down teeth. From such sources they obtain their minerals and vitamins. Third, they eat their food raw or practically so and thus preserve the vitamins which would be destroyed by cooking. That is, they eat natural foods. Fourth, in season they eat many eggs from sea birds, and milk from reindeer, in countries where they are found. Both the milk and the eggs are rich in calcium and vitamins.
Thus nature provides for the need which exists in sections where meat must be the main food. These Northern people could not in a hot climate eat meat to the same degree, cooked as chops, steaks and roasts, and survive in health over long periods of time, and for generations. Remember also that the Eskimo is an old, old man at 30 years of age!
The cooking of protein generally and meat in particular is important. One fact should be borne in mind heat hardens albumen or protein. Witness the cooking of an egg—the longer it cooks the tougher becomes the white which is almost pure albumen or protein. High or prolonged heat causes protein to become tough and “leathery”; therefore all protein foods should be cooked with low heat, and as long as may be necessary. A temperature of 300°, or less, for baking and only at “simmer” or under boiling for, other cooking processes will insure tenderness and better results generally for all protein foods. They should never be cooked in the pressure cooker for the above reasons.
The Milk Controversy. Inasmuch as milk is one of nature’s most complete building foods, it may be well to consider its value in that connection.
Milk is an important source of protein (as well as of precious vitamins and minerals), but its value as food for adults is a somewhat controversial subject. There are people who say that milk was intended only for infants and since the Word of Wisdom does not mention milk it should not be used after childhood. Yet nutrition experts agree almost unanimously that it is one of nature’s most valuable foods—especially for children and throughout life. Since the inspired Word of Wisdom says: “Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I the Lord have ordained for the use of man, with thanksgiving” it would follow that the product of the beasts and fowls, milk and eggs, would be acceptable foods also. Naturally and emphatically they must be produced by healthy animals and cared for in a strictly sanitary way. That must be understood—for all food eaten by man, as well as for milk and eggs.
One must remember that not only does milk show a “high co-efficient of digestibility” but it is a protein food particularly well adapted for storage within the body. This is because of its content of necessary amino acids which complement so perfectly those found in whole grains. Yet one hears occasionally the statement that “milk makes mucous” and the saying is passed around from one uninformed person to another. It may do so for a poorly nourished person, or it may seem to do so. There are people who can’t eat wheat in any form or strawberries—makes their eyes swell, or produces hives, etc. Should it therefore be said that “strawberries make the eyes swell” or “wheat gives one hives” and therefore no one should eat them? If one is completely nourished no natural food will cause these ill effects.
One of the distinct advantages of milk is that it tends to cleanse the lower bowel or colon. Meat is very apt to produce intestinal putrefaction which has a “deleterious effect upon health.” The younger the child the greater is this tendency which is a distinct evidence that young children should not eat meat. Milk has the power to check the formation of the putrefactive bacteria in the bowel so this advantage is to be added to the many others. (See pp. 191, 192.)
Milk would naturally be practically a “perfect food” or it would not be ordained as the food for all infant mammals, including man. The mother of each species produces the milk best adapted for their young and if human mothers fed their own bodies properly they would be able to nurse their young as God intended them to do. The so-called “Healthy Hunza”15 mothers nurse their children for three years, and thus give them (with other natural foods) an excellent start for a long life of health and joy in living. They do not know what is a nursing bottle!
If mother’s milk fails here in this country—as it does alas! too often—goat’s milk or modified cow’s milk is the best substitute. It should be certified clean and unpasteurized, if possible, and from cows which produce a soft curd and are healthy above all. Human milk produces a very soft curd when mixed with the infant’s gastric juice; goat’s milk is the next softest, while ordinary cow’s milk has a rather solid curd. That is why cow’s milk for infants must always be “modified” or better still that it may be naturally of a soft curd. (See pp. 190-192.)
Countless feeding experiments have been performed on rats and humans as well which prove beyond a shadow of doubt the unsurpassed value of milk in the diet to promote health.
One of the first classic experiments which led to the discovery of the “accessory food factors” or vitamins as they were named later, was performed by Dr. F. Gowland Hopkins of Cambridge University, England. This experiment happens also to prove the value of milk in the diet. For his work in this field and other scientific achievements, he was later knighted by the king and became Sir F. Gowland Hopkins.
As a chemist he was interested in food composition and body chemistry. In 1912 he fed a good basal diet of chemically pure proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and water (which was then supposed to be entirely adequate for animal life) to a group of rats and they soon died. He took another group and fed them in addition some milk. They grew and throve for twenty-two days, then he withheld the milk and their weight soon declined and they sickened and died. Then he took another group and fed them only the basal diet for twenty days, but before they died he began feeding them milk and they immediately began to grow with increased health throughout maturity. From this experiment, Dr. Hopkins began his long search for the underlying reasons for the change, which led to the later discovery of the vitamins found in milk and all natural foods. The following drawing illustrates these facts.
Note how the growth curve increased in the above drawing when milk was added to the basal diet, and declined when no milk was given. Such painstaking experiments by thoroughly trained scientists in our own country and in many lands have established our present day knowledge of human nutrition.
Another recent and interesting experiment to prove the value of milk for growth and development was performed by Dr. Mary Swartz Rose of Columbia University. It shows the greater value of milk proteins rather than meat proteins. Two groups of rats of the same age, size and weight were used. Group A was fed all they wanted of 100% whole wheat bread and whole milk with a little salt and all the water they would take. Group B was fed likewise with bread and meat—all they would eat.
Group A throve and grew throughout forty-six generations (and would have continued had the experiment been prolonged) with an ever-increasing degree of health, vigor and power of reproduction. The last generation was far more healthy and perfect specimens of rat-hood than were those which began the experiment.
Group B grew for a period which would correspond to about 2 years in the life of a human. Then they gradually sickened and died—there never was a second generation. There was a third Group C fed likewise with bread and eggs. This group fared almost as well as Group A.
It would not be wise for humans to try to live on bread and milk even though as Dr. Sherman says, “The dietary should be built around bread and milk.” Man’s needs differ in many ways from those of rats or other animals. Therefore, one may well ask:
What about milk in the human diet? A most enlightening experiment as to its value was performed by Dr. H. C. Corry Mann on 500 English boys in a boarding school not far from London, England. The school was well managed, with sleeping and living conditions excellent, and the diet was supposed to be adequate in every respect. For four years, under Dr. Mann’s direction this group of boys received an extra daily pint of milk and their condition was compared with the other groups in the school. Though the original diet satisfied their appetites yet the extra pint of milk “caused the most remarkable improvement in health and growth.” The boys on the school diet made an average gain of under 4 pounds while the ones with milk had an average annual gain of nearly seven pounds. The average gain in height of the boys on the ordinary diet was 1.85 inches, while the boys with the extra milk gained an average 2.63 inches per boy.17 More remarkable than the gain in height and weight was the change in personality of the boys who received the extra milk. They became more cooperative, less quarrelsome and their gain in mental development was noteworthy. Countless experiments in our own country have produced similar experiences.
The same results may be noted on whole races of people. Amongst the healthiest races of Europe are the Bulgarians, who possess great vitality and who with the Finns and Scandinavians are the tallest peoples of Europe. There are more centenarians among the Bulgarians than any other so-called civilized race. “These people are noted for retaining the characteristics of youth to a late age, for their outstanding vigor and virility even into advanced age, and for unusually long lives. The 1930 census showed that there were more than 1600 Bulgarians over 100 years old to every million of population compared with only 9 persons in America. It’s a safe guess that 90 per cent of the American centenarians are anything but spry, whereas the Bulgarian oldsters are said to be romping around like mere 60-year-olds. Moreover, it is said that baldness and white hair are almost unknown in Bulgaria.”
The diet of these people consists largely of black bread (largely whole rye flour) and sour milk or yogurt which is ordinary milk soured with a special germ called the “Bulgarian bacillus.” Yogurt is very health-giving, for many reasons. See page 258)
Aside from the extra first-class protein and minerals (especially calcium) of the milk is its content of vitamin B, or riboflavin and other vitamins. Dr. Sherman of Columbia University after countless animal experiments found that when vitamin B, is doubled or quadrupled in the diet there is a corresponding gain in positive health and vitality, that the life span is greatly increased, with more and healthier offspring and that the qualities of youth are remarkably pro-longed. With one quart of milk in the daily diet one-half of the riboflavin requirement will be met. Even skim, dried milk or condensed milk adds its quota of riboflavin and minerals.
The healthiest people on earth, the Hunzas of northern India, use goat’s milk and cheese as part of their daily diet. It is most interesting to note also that the use of milk as food is no modern innovation for the Bible speaks often of a “land of milk and honey” indicating that it would be a place where peace and plenty should reign. The ancients evidently used milk.
Who can doubt that clean milk from healthy animals is an excellent food? Of course there may be people who through faulty nutrition cannot take milk (or think they can’t) for one reason or another. It would be wise for them to take evaporated or powdered milk in sauces, soups or simple puddings; if they can’t take whole milk they may take skim or buttermilk or yogurt, which is such a valuable food. It must be stressed also that cheese, especially cottage cheese should be eaten more frequently. They who do not take milk in any form must make sure that they get their full quota of first class protein, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, B, B2, C and D from other sources—but that is often difficult. Mendel points out that milk contains all the known vitamins and while each of the vitamins may be found in other foods, there are few if any which furnish them in such well-balanced proportion as does milk.***** Milk builds bone and muscle better than any other food. Dr. Sherman says that not to be able to eat or drink milk is a “dietetic tragedy.”
Therefore one may understand why an editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association should state:
“The dietary rule of one quart of milk each day for every child is much more than a precept based on individual opinions or drawn by analogy from the results of feeding experiments with lower animals. It now rests on scientific evidence obtained by extensive and intensive experiments directly upon the children themselves.”
It should be evident that a daily quart of milk will add greatly to the food needs of children and most authorities agree that it should continue throughout life. A minimum of one pint daily is stressed for adults, with the larger quantity preferred if possible.
The use of yogurt as an outstanding milk and protein food should be understood. It is the name given to sterile milk, implanted with a special bacteria called the Bulgarian bacillus. When kept at a temperature of 110-115° for three hours the bacteria feed on the milk sugar developing a tart taste and turning the milk into a custard-like consistency. It is delicious and is superior to milk, in many ways. The bacteria of ordinary sour milk or buttermilk are rendered inert at a temperature of 90° which is less than body temperature—while those of yogurt flourish in the intestines. There they break down milk sugar into lactic acid which has the power to neutralize the harmful putrefactive bacteria in the alimentary tract. They aid greatly in the utilization of calcium within the body and also have the power to make vitamin B complex within the bowels thus adding greatly to bowel health. Is this one reason why the Bulgarians and the Hunzas are so healthy and long-lived? Its use is highly recommended. The yogurt culture may be purchased at Health Stores in most cities.
A comparison of the findings of modern science regarding the eating of meat, with the injunctions of the Word of Wisdom given over one hundred years ago, is most interesting. Two modern scientists (and there are many others) have used almost the exact words employed by the Prophet Joseph Smith. Dr. V. H. Mottram, Professor of Physiology in the University of London, England, says:
“Meat is chiefly of value as a source of protein. . . . It is, however, wise to use it in moderation and to substitute milk and cheese for it whenever possible. This is true from the point of view of individual and national economy as explained above.”
Another distinguished scientist, Dr. Henry C. Sherman, Professor of Chemistry in Columbia University, says:
“The undesirable putrefactive bacteria find a favorable medium in meat. It is partly for this reason that meat should be eaten sparingly (italics ours) and when eaten should always be well chewed so as to reduce it to the smallest possible particles in the hope that its putrefactive bacteria will be largely killed by the gastric juice.”
Moderation in meat eating is taught by nearly all students and experts in nutrition which agrees perfectly with the dictum of the Word of Wisdom.
“In Times of Famine and Cold”. Meats have the power to sustain life for a time if nothing else is eaten, provided that the blood and internal organs—heart, kidneys, liver and brains—are eaten. Under such conditions, the proteins which normally are body builders are burned and used as energy producers. This would be most unwise normally for using proteins to produce energy is as extravagant as it would be to use olive oil in an oil-burning furnace. It is clear therefore that in times of famine meat as food is better than no food.
In hot weather the meat intake should be eliminated and vegetable proteins substituted. Dr. Mottram, speaking of climate and meat eating says:
“Proteins are rather wastefully utilized by the body and a point for the vegetarian is that there is less wastefulness with cereal proteins than with meat proteins. A practical outcome is that in hot weather, or in the tropics, the proteins should be cut to the minimum and vegetable protein practically substituted for animal protein.”(Italics ours.)
Thus again are the teachings of the Word of Wisdom in complete accord with the findings of modern science.
The Word of Wisdom Confirmed. At the time that the Word of Wisdom was given, meat, when it could be obtained, was largely used by all classes. It was generally looked upon as the best and most necessary food for full health. Those who raised their voices in opposition to this view were held to be fanatical, untrustworthy “food faddists.” Alas! Some people hold that opinion today!
It was therefore a courageous departure from accepted practice to teach that meat should be used “sparingly,” and further to suggest that man may live without meat as implied in the words, “they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold or famine.”
The prophetic power of Joseph Smith is emphasized in the recent demonstration by the modern science of nutrition that meat should, indeed, form a minor part of the human dietary, and that, in fact, the plant kingdom contains the necessary food constituents characteristic of meat.
The Word of Wisdom does not contain a prohibition against meat eating, but urges its sparing use. Unfortunately, this advice is not generally observed, and man’s health suffers in consequence. Many people eat too much meat; a few do not eat enough.
The advice in the Word of Wisdom concerning the use of meat is proof of the inspiration of the modern Prophet. How could any man of his own knowledge dare to teach, in the name of God, so long ago—long before the science of human nutrition was born—truths which coincide so startlingly with modern findings? Not one word in the revelation could be changed for the better by the most advanced food chemist of our day!