Great numbers of people believe that most diseases come from wrong food. As a result innumerable dietary fads and fancies attract them. Really, the body is a chemical plant which manufactures some of the substances it absolutely must have to survive. Fundamental mineral substances cannot be manufactured by the body. Vitamins cannot be manufactured by the body and must be taken in food or otherwise, since the body depends on them for health and growth.
Dietary deficiencies naturally occur most often among people who get insufficient food but also among those who get the wrong foods. The most common dietary disorder is overweight or obesity.
At present the vitamins which human beings must have for health include vitamin A and carotene, which is its precursor; thiamin and riboflavin and niacin which are parts of the vitamin B complex; also vitamin C and vitamin D, vitamin K, folic acid and vitamin B12.
The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council has prepared a table of recommended daily dietary allowances for persons of both sexes, various ages, during pregnancy and nursing, for sedentary persons, physically active persons, and for heavy workers. Calorie intake varies from 2000 daily for sedentary women to 4500 daily for male heavy workers. Women’s needs increase during pregnancy and nursing of their babies. Children’s needs vary with their ages, weight, sex and activity also.
The lists of substances to be assured in the diet include good proteins, calcium, iron, the vitamins. Also needs must be met for water, salt, iodine, phosphorus, copper, vitamin K and folic acid. Simple tables can be secured from the United States Public Health Service and other governmental agencies.