Most people have some knowledge of the different components of food, and of their functions, firstly of providing calories, to maintain bodily activity and warmth (it is true that some people seek to reduce their calorie intake rather than to increase it; but there is no such thing as non-calorific food). The second function of food is to provide proteins, to do maintenance work on muscles and other body tissues. These supplies of fuel and maintenance materials must also be supplemented, as it were, by some lubricants, required in small quantities only, but whose absence may lead to serious harm — the vitamins and minerals. Cases of deficiency of these latter components have been known, sometimes with dramatically harmful results. The outstanding cases of vitamin deficiency, however, have been amongst sailors and explorers. Most other deficiency diseases have also arisen among peoples living, for one reason or another, upon stored rather than fresh food — such as the classic case of beri-beri among Asian coolies living on imported polished rice. A poor peasant community, growing its own food, may be in danger of calorie or protein shortage; but it is not likely to be in danger of being short of these small quantities of vitamins and minerals, obtainable from a variety of salads and other fresh foods.
KeywordsMaize Europe Income Photosynthesis Sewage
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