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The Day's food in war and peace
([ca.1918])

Lesson IV: [Conservation of fat and sugar],   pp. 41-53 PDF (3.5 MB)


Page 43

Every patriotic person is willing to make the sacrifice required to release
any needed fats and sugars for the Allies and for our fighting forces, but
the 
practical difficulty before the housekeeper is to know how to do it without
unnecessary trouble and discomfort. The problem may seem easier to her 
if she understands clearly how these two groups of foods are used in the
body 
and what substitutions may be made without seriously changing the health-
fulness and attractiveness of the diet. 
FATS. 
There are several unusual things about the value of fats as food. 
To begin with, fats are a much more concentrated body fuel than protein,
starch, and sugar. An ounce of fat yields the body more than twice as much
heat or energy for the work of the muscles as does an ounce of any of the
others. When we put butter on our bread we add about twice as many 
calories to its energy value as if we spread it with an equally thick layer
of rich jam. If we finish a hearty meal with pastry rich with fat, we are
much more likely to eat more than we need than if we choose fruit instead.
On the other hand, if a person is undernourished, adding fat or oil to his
diet builds up the energy value of the food without making it seem too much.
There is another interesting difference between the food value of certain
kinds of fat and that of most other foods. The fat in milk and eggs and,
to 
a less extent, pork, suet, and other meat fats contain minute amounts of
a 
recently discovered substance whih is extremiely important. Without a suffi-
cient amount of this substance young animals"are not able to grow as
they 
should and older ones do not keep in health or recover from disease or injury.
No really satisfactory name has been found for this substance. It is known
in the laboratory as "fat-soluble A." We do not yet know exactly
how much 
there is In the different food materials or how much the body needs, but
It is 
safe to say that it is most abundant In the fat' of milk and eggs and entirely
lacking in the yegetable oils. 
Curiously enough, the only vegetable foods in which it has been found In
adequate amounts are the green leaves, like those of lettuce, spinach, dande-
lion, and turnip tops. This seems to indicate that the vegetables need It
for 
their growth just as animals do, and that the herbivorous animals get'their
supply from the leaves they eat, passing it on to their young in the milk
or 
storing it in certain parts of their own bodies. Omnivorous animals, like
men, 
get theirs either from the green leaves or from the organs and fats of the
animals they eat. The plants are able to construct the substance for their
own needs, but animals can not do so. They must have it supplied in their
food. 
The practical point is that we must not allow both of these sources to be
absent from our diet. Healthy grown persons may safely do with only a very
little of the foods containing the fat-soluble A, and may substitute vegetable
fats for butter and suet, providing they occasionally use milk or cheese
or eat 
liberally of the leaf vegetables. More is needed by growing children and
older 
persons who are recovering from wasting disease, wounds, or other injuries.
This is one of the reasons why in Germany, where milk and butter are scarce
and food control is rigid, children and invalids are allowed more generous
amounts than others. 
There are distinct differences in the special growth-promoting properties
of 
the margarines which are now 'on  the market. Some are prepared from the
more oily portion of beef fat,.this being churned with milk. These butter
sub- 


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