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

Lesson VII: [Fruits and vegetables],   pp. 76-87 PDF (3.5 MB)


Page 77

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES. 
CAnOLINE L. HUNT, 
Office of Home Economics, Department of Agriculture. 
Fruits and vegetables are necessary for health because they supply certain
needed substances that are not usually found in any other food materials.
They should have a place in the diet of all those who have passed babyhood
and no pains should be spared to obtain at least a small amount of them every
day. When they are scarce or high priced this may make a serious problem
for the housekeeper. On the other hand, when fruits and vegetables are 
abundant or cheap, they may be used in such large quantities that they save
wheat, meat, sugar, and similar foods and they should be so used when, as
at 
the present time, staple foods must be economized. 
To understand these two different problems, the one presented by scarcity
and the other by abundance, it Is necessary to know something about what
these foods contain. 
WHAT FRUITS AND VEGETABLES SUPPLY TO THE BODY. 
To begin with, fruits and vegetables are more watery than most food ma- 
terials. Even potatoes and bananas contain four times as much water as 
solid material, whereas wheat and other cereals contain eight or nine times
as much solid material as water. 
Fruits and vegetables, as a class, provide also a certain amount of starch
and sugar, which serve as fuel for the body and some protein which serves
not 
only for fpel but also for body building. There are, however, many other
foods 
which contain starch, sugar, and protein in much larger proportions than
fruits and vegetables. Sugar or molasses contains far more sugar than 
grapes, one of the most sugary of the fruits; wlat contains far more starch
than potatoes, the starchiest of the vegetables; meats and even fresh fish,
which are comparatively watery, have a larger percentage of protein than
fresh 
peas and beans, though these are conspicuous among the green vegetables for
the protein they contain. It would, therefore, be quite possible for a person
to omit fruits and vegetables from his diet without running the risk of not
getting enough starch, sugar, and protein. 
On the other hand, these foods contain certain materials in such abundance
compared with the total amount of their solid matter that no other foods
can 
well take their places. These materials Include mineral substances, particu-
larly iron, needed for building the tissues and fluids of the body, and certain
mild vegetable acids useful in preventing constipation. There are also minute
quantities of other substances which are now believed to be necessary for
health, but which have not as yet been given any simple or popular name.
It 
is now generally believed that, if fruits and vegetables are wanting, the
diet 
is likely to be lacking in these important substances. 
Those who best understand the subject of foods agree fairly closely about
the amount of protein that a given person needs and even more closely as
to 
the total amount of fuel he should obtain every day from his food. And 
(77) 


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