Experiments in the feeding of domestic animals have been made in experiment stations and elsewhere during a considerable length of time, and the results have been carefully studied by stock owners. Similar experiments have been made to ascertain the value of different foods and combinations of foods for human beings. These trials have been carried on during a shorter time, and their results have probably been less widely disseminated. Investigations along these two lines follow the same general principles. In some cases the results of investigations concerning the problems relating to nutrition in a food for man can be utilized in stock feeding. The cereals, for example, are used as food for both man and the lower animals, and when their chemical composition is known, it serves in both cases. Potatoes, when not too expensive, are similarly used. Human-food investigations have been carried on in the United States to some extent during the last twelve or fourteen years, but it is only since 1894 that an annual appropriation has been made for the study of the food and nutrition of man. One branch of this food investigation is known as "study of dietaries." The object of these investigations is to ascertain the kinds and amounts of food consumed by people of different occupation, age, sex, and environment. The investigators ascertain what relation exists between the cost and the food value of the different food materials furnished, by finding the amount of available nutrients in each. They also ascertain how much of the food purchased is eaten, and how much is wasted, either on the table or in the kitchen. The periods of investigation vary from a week to four weeks, usually.
*A. P. Bryant, Office Exp. Stations.
The time of study is too short, and the cases which have been studied are too few, to warrant accurate statements on many points.
The United States Department of Agriculture, with the aid of the agricultural colleges and experiment stations, has made a few hundred such studies. The entire number made in this country and others aggregate many hundreds. People in the same financial condition, and performing similar work, are not found to differ materially in their food consumption, except in a few cases. The negroes of the south constitute one of the most notable exceptions to the general rule. They consume large quantities of bacon and cornmeal in their diet, which leaves a consequent deficiency of tissue-building material. It is probable that some of the poorer white people in the south are likewise improperly nourished, as they use a similar diet. These dietary studies have impressed on all the very pleasant and encouraging fact that such institutions as that organized by Booker T. Washington at Tus-kegee, Alabama, and the one at Hampton, Virginia, have modified to some extent the diet of those who have come under their influence. The following cases show the conditions and illustrate the point in question:
"A family, which may be regarded as typical, living on a plantation in Alabama, and coming in no way under educational influences, had a diet consisting of fresh pork, bacon, butter, milk, cornmeal, and sugar. This diet furnished 52 grams of protein and 3,235 calories of energy per man per day. Not very far away lived another family, two of the members of which had come under the influence of the Tuskegee Institute. The diet here consisted of bacon, eggs, milk, butter, wheat flour, cornmeal, sugar, and molasses. The food per man per day furnished 92 grams of protein and 3,270 calories of energy, or nearly twice as much protein, and the same energy, as was obtained by the preceding family.
"In the outskirts of Tuskegee lived a colored carpenter who had learned his trade at the institute, and was quite skillful. His diet contained beef round, mutton leg, bacon, lard, chicken, eggs, butter, milk, wheat flour, corn-meal, rolled oats, sugar, molasses, evaporated apples, and strawberries, - a diet as varied as is found in many families in comfortable circumstances in other regions. The food furnished 97 grams of protein and 4,060 calories of energy per man per day. These results show more energy than is usually found in the food consumed by persons at moderate labor. The protein compares quite closely with that found in the diet of the average mechanic's family. The larger amount of energy is due perhaps to the fact that more muscular work was performed."
Comparatively few accurate studies of the dietaries of farmers have been made. The statistics now at hand indicate that the one-sidedness of diet is greater in the south than in the north, but there is too little of the muscle-forming foods consumed, as compared with the heat and energy producing foods in both localities. By comparing the few dietary studies which have been made among farmers with those made among well-to-do people in the cities and towns, it will be seen that the farmer's diet has rather less protein and more energy-giving food than that of his city cousin. There is no good reason for this.. The well-to-do farmer spends more money for machinery, repairs, and taxes during the year than the professional man or the mechanic spends for repairs, taxes, or rent in the city. The city man can seldom buy as good fresh fruits and vegetables as the farmer can produce in his garden, while the latter obtains them at much less cost. The farmer can usually raise as good winter vegetables as the man in the city can buy. The farmer gets as much muscle-forming material in a bushel of beans as the man in the city, who frequently pays many times the amount they cost the farmer. Sugar, coffee, cocoa, cereals, and, in some cases, flour, must be bought with cash by both.
But the farmer can produce cream to render the cereals and vegetables palatable, and supply his table with butter at much less cost than can be done by the man in the city or town. Pure skim milk is an excellent muscle former, and while it costs the farmer very little, his city cousin finds the price of pure milk is extreme vigilance, and five cents or more per quart. Fresh poultry and eggs cost the farmer very little, but there are times when it takes more money than the man in town can spare to procure these products in the market. Summing the matter up, it would seem, then, that the trouble is not in the difficulty of obtaining these needed nutrients, but in the fact that country people have given too little thought to the needs of the human body. Vegetables are abundant and always at hand. Cereals, breads, and cured meats give too large an amount of starch and fat for the other nutrients present. This is easily remedied. In summer use milk, eggs, and poultry freely. In winter, slaughter animals on the farm for food, pack the meat, and let it freeze. Farmers thus will have all the best cuts at as low prices as others must pay for the poorer ones. Teach the young children to drink milk instead of tea and coffee, and they will be aided greatly in becoming strong and healthy.
Great care should be exercised in combining foods for the different meals, as the way in which they are sometimes combined has a bad effect upon both health and the purse.