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Miller's Chemistry, Vol. III., pp. 899-916; Johnston's The Chemistry of Common Life; Edward Smith's Foods (International Scientific Series); Fox's Sanitary Examination of Water, Air and Food; Bennett's Nutrition and Health; Pavey's Food, Fothergill's Manual of Dietetics; Holbrook's Food and Work; Goodfellow's Dietetic Value of Bread; Bellows's Philosophy of Eating; Ethics of Diet.



Professor of Chemistry in Wesleyan University.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentiemen:-The subject assigned for our consideration this evening is Food Supply as related to the present condition and the future welfare of society. Will you allow me to present a few facts and figures as they appear from my point of view, which is that of chemist rather than physician, economist or moralist? Or rather, will you let me tell you some things which studies in the chemical laboratory have brought to my attention and which may perhaps be suggestive to you who are interested in hygiene, in sociology and in ethics?

In so doing I wish to speak of:-

First, the nutritive ingredients of food and the ways. they nourish our bodies.

Second, the fitting of our food to our actual needs for nourishment, in other words, food and health.

Third, saving and waste of food; that is the pecuniary side of the subject.

Fourth, the food supply of the future.

Finally we may draw a few inferences regarding some of the sociological and ethical problems in which we are all so deeply interested.

In order that we may get through before you are too much wearied, I will pass as lightly as may be over the first three topics. It is not easy to dismiss them with a word, however, for they are interesting and weighty, and people in general know all too little about them.

Food constitutes the chief item of the living expenses of the people of this country and of Europe. The health and strength of all are intimately dependent upon their diet. Yet the most of us understand very little about what our food contains, how it nourishes us, whether we are economical or wasteful in buying and preparing it for use, and whether or not the food we eat is rightly fitted to the demands of our bodies.

The result of our ignorance is great waste in the purchase and use of food, loss of money, and injury to health. The reason for this ignorance is simple enough. Fifty years ago no man knew what our bodies and our foods were composed of; how the different nutritive ingredients of the food served their purposes in nutrition; how much of each of the ingredients was needed to supply the demands of people of different age, sex and occupation; and how best to adjust the diet to the wants of the user. We do not to-day know as much about these things as we ought. For that matter, we never shall be able to lay down hard and fast rules to apply to all cases, because of the differences between individuals in respect to their demands for nutriment and the ways in which their bodies can make use of different kinds of foods. But the research of the past twenty-five years has brought a great deal of definite information. Nearly all of the exact inquiry in this direction has been done in Europe, and the greater part of it in Germany. We are only beginning in the United States.

The statistics which I shall use here are based mainly upon the results of European inquiry and on some studies of food and dietaries carried out under my direction in the chemical laboratory of Wesleyan University. In the course of the latter studies, which have been made in connection with the Storrs Experiment Station, the Massachusetts Bureau of Labor, the United States Department of Labor, the United States Fish Commission, the Smithsonian Institution, and the World's Fair Commission, nearly a thousand specimens of food materials have been analyzed, and estimates have been made of the amount and composition of the food used by somewhat over one thousand persons, mostly wage workers, with a few college students and men in professional life, in some fifty families and boarding-houses, chiefly in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Of course the American data are extremely meager, and while the European are very extensive, even they are much less complete than is to be desired.

Let us, then, give our attention to our first topic. For this we must take a different view of food from

that to which we are accustomed. We must consider, not the food as a whole, but the nutriment it actually contains, which is a very different thing. We must take account of its chemical composition, its nutritive ingredients, their actual cost in food as we buy it, and the ways in which they are used to nourish our bodies. We must talk, not of beef and bread and potatoes, but of nutritive ingredients and their potential energy.

A pound of lean beef and a quart of whole milk contain about the same amounts of actually nutritive material. But the pound of beef costs more than the quart of milk, and its nutrients not only differ in number and kind, but are, for ordinary use, more valuable. than those of the milk. This illustrates a fundamental fact in the economy of foods, namely, that the differences in the values of different foods depend upon both the kinds and the amounts of the nutritive materials which they contain. Add to this that it is essential for health that the food shall supply the nutrients in the kinds and the proportions required by the body and that it is likewise important, from a pecuniary standpoint, that the materials be obtained at the minimum cost, and we have the fundamental principles: of food economy.

Those who are interested in this special subject may find explanations of the chemical terms, and accounts of analyses of food materials, and studies of dietaries and food consumption, in the Reports of the Storrs Experiment Station for 1891 and 1892, which are published in the Reports of the Connecticut Board of Agriculture for those years. It will suffice to say here that we estimate the nutritive values of foods from their proportions of protein, fats, carbohydrates and their potential energy or fuel value.

The terms protein, proteids, and albuminoids are used somewhat indiscriminately for the nitrogenous compounds in plants and in the animal body. The myosin which forms the basis of lean meat and of the flesh of fish, the ossein of bone, albumen of egg, casein of milk, gluten of wheat, and the like, are protein compounds. Of the fats we have examples in butter, olive

* To be obtained of Hon. T. S. Gold, Secretary Conn. Board of Agriculture, West Cornwall, Conn.

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