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The "trophic" value of foods.

Authors
  • Williams, R J
  • Heffley, J D
  • Yew, M L
  • Bode, C W
Type
Published Article
Journal
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Publisher
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Publication Date
Mar 01, 1973
Volume
70
Issue
3
Pages
710–713
Identifiers
PMID: 4514984
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Foods must furnish (i) calories, which can readily be measured, and (ii) raw materials necessary for the building and maintenance of metabolic machinery which makes possible fuel utilization. We have called this "beyond-calorie" quality of food its "trophic" value. This concept has more unity than appears on the surface, and is capable of approximate measurement by biological testing as our experiments show. The trophic value of a food cannot be ascertained from food composition tables because only a smattering of the necessary information is commonly furnished. A food cannot support life if it is missing, or deficient with respect to, any one of the necessary nutrients. A tabulation which includes only a few nutrients-e.g., calcium, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorus, and iron-can be woefully misleading, especially if these individual nutrients have been added by way of fortification. THE MEASUREMENT WE HAVE APPLIED TO A NUMBER OF FOODS IS POTENTIALLY VALUABLE FOR COMPARING SIMILAR FOOD PRODUCTS: two grains, two breads, two milk products, or for comparison of the same food grown, processed, or preserved in different ways. By using essentially this method we have found that barnyard eggs are somewhat superior to battery eggs, but that whether they are fertile or infertile makes no difference. We are of the opinion that extensive biological testing of many commercial food products is highly desirable to help promote human health and better internal environments for our cells and tissues.

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