2. Food Is An Element Of Nutrition
As stated earlier, food constitutes only a part of the needs of life. It constitutes some of the raw materials which become part of the overall nutritive processes. When the body receives food, it breaks it down mechanically and chemically into components which can be absorbed and synthesized by the organism into special substances to meet the special needs of the organism.
2.1 Food Is an Inert Substance—Merely Raw Materials
Many people believe that foods have different actions in the body. However, this is erroneous. Foods do not act in the body but are, instead, acted upon by the body. To be appropriated the food must lose all its character. It is mechanically crushed, comminuted and mixed with digestive fluids, then chemically reduced to basic components for absorption, synthesis and use.
Let us again review nutrition as Dr. Shelton has expressed it in yet another definition:
Nutrition is a vital process carried on only by a living organism. It is a process of growth, development and invigoration. To eat good food and enough of it, to drink pure water and breathe pure air, in and of themselves, are very desirable, but something more is needed in order to acquire health, strength and vigor. Nutrition is dependent on function. We can have better nutritive function only when we have a capacity for better nutrition.
Food is of value only in its physiological connections with air, water, sunshine, rest and sleep, exercise or activity, cleanliness and wholesome mental and moral influences—in short, all the natural or normal circumstances which we know to be necessary for the preservation of health.
What Dr. Shelton is saying is but a reiteration of what has been emphasized here, that the better your health the better will be your nutrition and the better your nutrition the better will be your health. Every factor and condition of life must be supplied optimally to assure best health.
Again, to highlight its importance, we repeat that food does not use the body or do anything to the body. The body does unto the food and uses it. In creating foods, plant life designed them to be utilized by animals in exchange for a service to the plant. This is symbiosis. Human service to plants is the incidental broadcast of their seeds. Was ever a reward so great for such a small service?
As a nutritionist you must ever keep this in mind: Foods do nothing in the body. They have no powers of cleansing, healing or anything else. Foods have no will or purposes of their own. To be consumed and used is their inherent design.
2.2 Food Use Is Subject to the Body’s Ability to Process, Appropriate, Assimilate, Metabolize and Eliminate
A body that is impaired is unable to properly process and use food. To the extent that the impairment causes withdrawal of functional energies from digestive processes, the body is unable to be fed. When the body’s nutritive functions are in any way impaired, and this will usually be evidenced by depressed or lost appetite, make this a standing rule: do not partake of food. Guide clients away from food. Missing a meal or a few meals is most constructive.
If the body is in any abnormal condition, food should not be taken or given. In fever, pain, emotional upset, fatigue, worry, sleeplessness and many other conditions, the body is unable to muster the needed energies for the processes of digestion, appropriation, and assimilation. In such conditions the body does not create the condition of hunger or give rise to appetency.
2.3 Food Is But One of Many Needs in Nutrition
Our capacity to receive, process and assimilate food is necessary to the nutritive process. In the absence of functional energies in these areas, feeding results in lowered body energies and the waste of foodstuffs. It is passed on to the bowels and the body is worse off for it.
To appropriately receive, digest and assimilate foods, other physiological needs must also be present. Oxygen, water, digestive fluids, nerve energy and a multitude of other factors and influences must favorably coalesce to effect these processes. Should any impairment in the nutritive faculties exist, the interference may prove insurmountable and result in indigestion.
This leads to this inescapable conclusion which you must ever bear in mind: proper nutrition is dependent upon and is affected by the entire spectrum of the organism’s activities and conditions.
- 1. What Constitutes Nutrition? (Definitions And Concepts)
- 2. Food Is An Element Of Nutrition
- 3. Physiological Criteria Foods Must Meet
- 4. Nonfood Nutritional Factors
- 5. Discussion Of Conventional Nutritional Teachings
- 6. Discussion Of Human Eating Habits The World Over
- 7. Negative Nutrition: Harmful Foods And Practices
- 8. A Survey Of Unconventional Dietetic Schools And Their Fallacies
- 9. The Physiological Necessity Of Proper Food Combining
- 10. Nutritional Miscellany
- 11. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: The Paradise Diet by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #2: The Elements Of Nutrition by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #3: Nutrition, A Hygienic Perspective by Ralph C. Cinque, D.C.