One of the shockers of the study was that high income does not insure good nutrition. An analysis of diet and income revealed that 37 percent of the households with upper middle class incomes had diets deficient in one or more essential nutrients.
A 1972 study we made confirms the extent to which choice rather than low budget accounts for poor diet. We asked 364 doctors and 296 of their wives, in five sections of the country, to keep detailed records of what they ate and drank. Upon calculating the results, we found that 12 percent of the doctors consumed less than the Recommended Daily Allowance for vitamin B3; 10 percent did not get enough vitamin C; 32 percent did not get enough calcium; approximately half were not getting enough vitamin E; and 95 percent were not getting minimum recommended amounts of iodine.
The doctors’ wives were doing even worse, and both groups were found to rely far too heavily on refined carbohydrates. Considering the way they eat, it is not surprising that most doctors remain relatively unknowledgeable about the relationship between diet and mental health. Rarely do they ask their “tense” patients, “What do you eat?”
Governmental guardians who constantly assure us we are the world’s healthiest people attempt to perpetuate the myth that “three square meals a day” will provide anyone all the nourishment needed. Dr. C. E. Butterworth, chairman of the Council on Foods and Nutrition of the American Medical Association, recently stated: “All the recommended nutrient intakes considered essential to the maintenance of health in normal individuals can be provided by a balanced diet of conventional foods including enriched and fortified items.”
This “balanced diet” myth conveniently ignores these facts:
American food habits are indeed moving from bad to worse.
Soil and growth conditions vary drastically from one part of the country to another, making it virtually impossible to assess the nutrient values of foods produced.
Refinement and processing rob food of vital substances.
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