Article #6: Fruit - The Ideal Food by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
Tradition has it that man's original diet was fruit. While we have no written history of a period when man lived on a fruit diet, there is plenty of evidence to substantiate the view that he once did so. We do know that fruits have historically constituted an important part of man's diet in most parts of the earth from remote times. Only within recent centuries, and then only in certain parts of the earth, has the notion that fruits have little food value come about.
Most fruits are abundantly supplied with sugar and it is quite possible to gain weight on a fruit diet. Some fruits, like the avocado and most nuts (nuts are also fruits, technically speaking) contain considerable fat. While few of the pulpy fruits are abundantly supplied with protein, some of them do contain a higher percentage of protein than mother's milk. Practically all nuts are rich in protein of high biological value. One does not have to eat animal foods in order to supply himself with an abundance of all the amino acids required.
In the last century a veritable fruitophobia arose both in Europe and America and people refrained from eating fruits because they supposedly caused disease. Fruits were accused of causing various diarrheal diseases, even typhoid and cholera. It is a fact that a large excess of fresh fruit will result in loose stools, but this is not an objection to fruit eating. One has only to cease taking the fruit in excess to have the bowel looseness cease.
The body does not have to contend with sepsis or poison when an excess of fruit is eaten as when excesses of proteins or starches are taken. Excesses of all types are harmful, but an excess of fruit is far less harmful than an excess of bread or flesh. The prejudice against fruits, however, arose not so much out of the results of excess, as out of the faulty combinations in which they were eaten. Fruits are best taken at a fruit meal and should not be combined with starches or with foods rich in protein or fats, including nuts.
In the last century the idea arose that certain diseases such as rheumatism, gout, lumbago, arthritis, etc., were acid diseases. Acid fruits were forbidden on the ground that they helped to produce these diseases. This error about fruits is as dead as are those who promoted it, and it is somewhat surprising to have it revived at a time when our knowledge of foods is so much greater than it was in the last century.
Under the promptings of this revived notion, when people are told that their gastritis, arthritis, etc., arises out of acidity, many mistake this to mean that they arise out of taking acid fruits. They especially reject oranges, grapefruit, lemons, pineapples and similar acid fruits, lest these produce arthritis in them or aggravate the arthritis from which they already suffer.
The fact is that fresh fruits and vegetables, whether burned in the air or metabolized in the body, are alkaline. On the other hand, a diet of flesh, oils, sugar and denatured starches (white flour, polished rice, etc.) provides an excess of acids—sulphuric, etc. Even such acid fruits as oranges and grapefruit are alkaline when metabolized in the body. When fruit is cooked and sugar is added, the fermentation that follows gives rise to acids that add to the acidity of the body. (All canned fruits have been cooked and most have been sugared.)
As important as water is in the processes of life you do not need to drink large quantities of it. Under the usual circumstances of life the water in fruits and salads will supply all the water needed or nearly enough, if these are eaten as they should be. The pure water of fruits and vegetables is much better for physiological purposes than the water supplied by the water systems of our cities and towns.
Fruits appeal to the eyes, the nose and the mouth. Their beauty of color, their richness of aroma, and the deliciousness of their flavors make them ideally suited to man's gustatory delight. There is a rich variety of them and they ripen at various seasons of the year, so that there is but a small part of the year in which they are not abundant. Beginning with the many varieties of delicious berries in the springtime and progressing through the varied assortments of cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, figs and mangoes of the summer season, to the apples, pears, persimmons, oranges and grapefruit of the fall and winter season, nature provides us with a pleasing assortment of delicious foods that may be enjoyed by everyone and that are easily digested by even the most sensitive stomachs. By the exercise of a little intelligent care in selecting and combining these foods, one may be assured of better health.
Home > Lesson 7 - Carbohydrates - Fuel For The Human Body
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