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"If you want to know your past life, look into your present condition; if you want to know your future, look into your present action." - Kamakshi

Intro Nutri Science

  • Date Submitted: 01/30/2015 05:23 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 43.6 
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This is the first of four invited articles planned to provide a short introduction to the history of our science and a possible text for courses in the subject. Given the space limitations, I have concentrated on work most directly related to discovering nutritional needs and the qualities of foods in supplying them. Our science has greatly relied on developments in analytical chemistry and general physiology, but there are already histories that cover these subjects.
It would have been possible to give brief references to more names and papers, but it would, I believe, have made for more tedious reading. I have preferred to select topics that were breaking new ground, and seemed to inspire other work. No two authors would make the same choices in this situation.
I have also tried to portray the problems as they were seen by workers at the time, and to follow a chronological course, without referring prematurely to modern explanations of phenomena. In most instances the original historical reference to a paper is given, but it is often supplemented with a more easily available review of the subject that also contains additional references. Where a quotation comes from a book or a long article, the Editors have given special permission for the exact page(s) on which it occurs to be listed.
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Before 1785 many scholars had published their ideas about how the food we ate was used in our bodies, but it was only with the so-called “Chemical revolution” in France at the end of the eighteenth century, with its identification of the main elements and the development of methods of chemical analysis, that old and new ideas began to be tested in a quantitative, scientific way. There is one exception to this generalization that we will return to later. It is understandable that modern workers should have little knowledge of the work of the late eighteenth century scientists who carried out this “revolution,” and therefore little appreciation of...


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