« PreviousContinue »
avoid food in the cooking of which Life, that our readers need only be much fat or oil has been subjected directed to his pages. to a high temperature, as in frying Sugar.- Sugar exists abundantly in butter or fard. Melted butter, in vegetables, and in some animal buttered toast, pastry, suet-puddings, substances, notably milk and liver. fat hashes and stews, are afflictions Dr Pereira has compiled the followto the dyspeptic; and although the ing table, which exhibits the proporoil which is eaten with salad does not tion of sugar in 100 parts :assist the digestion of the salad, as Barley-meal,
5.21 many writers and most salad-eaters
8.25 maintain, it is assuredly far more Wheat-flour,
3. 6 digestible than any fat or oil which
3.28 has been cooked, probably because it
1.45 contains no free volatile acid.
0.29 Besides the fats and fixed oils, there
2. O are certain volatile (essential) oils
62. 5 employed as condiments. These are
11.61 contained in the leaves and seeds of
Fresh ripe pears,
6.45 sage, mint, thyme, marjoram, fennel, Gooseberries,
6.24 parsley, anise, and carroway; to which
18.12 may be added mustard, horse-radish, Apricot,
16.48 water-cress, onions, leeks, and various spices. The volatile oil contained in
9. 0 each of these substances stimulates That sugar is nutritious no one the system, but does not incorporate doubts. Although easily digested, itself with the organism, and is soon there are persons with whom it disejected, retaining its characteristic agrees, and in some dyspeptics it proodour.
duces flatulency and acidity. There Starch.—The gentle housewife, fa- is no tissue into the composition of miliar with starch only in its rela- which it enters as a constituent, untions to the wash-tub, will be probably less we make an exception in favour surprised at meeting with it among of muscle, in which Scherer has disarticles of food, yet under the various covered a substance, by him named names of amylum, fecula, farinaceous inosite, having the chemical compomatter, and starch, this substance, sition of sugar (C2 H“ ), but havwidely distributed over the vegetable ing none of its characteristic properkingdom, ranks as an important ali- ties, and existing, moreover, in exmentary principle. It must, how- tremely minute quantities. The sugar ever, be cooked for man's use. It is we find in the blood and milk is not never found in the blood, nor in the derived from the sugar we eat; that tissues, so that we are certain it is is transformed into fat, lactic acid, and transformed during the digestive pro- other substances. The sugar of the cess; and some of these transforma- blood is formed by the liver, and is tions have been detected, first as it formed from albuminous substances passes into dextrine, and thence into in their passage through the liver, sugar, and most probably fat. It is the quantity being wholly indepenclassed as respiratory, or heat-pro- dent of any amount of sugar taken in ducing, by Liebig and his school, on the food, and being the same in grounds we have already seen to amount when none is taken in the be erroneous. The various starchy food.* substances-sago, tapioca, arrowroot, Because sugar forms part of no and tous les mois, have been so amply tissue, and is a carbohydrate, it is treated of by Professor Johnston in classed by Liebig among heat-making his admirable Chemistry of Common foods. But we not only saw ample
CLAUDE BERNARD's discovery of this sugar-forming function of the liver has been recently attacked by FIGUIER, LONGET, and others; but the discussion, after exciting considerable sensation, may now be said to be finally closed in BERNARD's favour. See his masterly Leçons de Physiol. Expérimentale, 1854.5; and the Mémoires on both sides in the Annales des Sciences Naturelles, 1854-6.
reason for rejecting such an idea the housewife to see starch placed when we considered the general ques- on the same list, it will necessarily tion—we must even more peremp- exasperate the members of Tempertorily reject it, now that we come to ance Societies to see their hateful grapple with the details. Against alcohol elevated to that rank. They the supposition of sugar having no are accustomed to call alcohola poison, plastic property, it is enough to op- to preach against it as poisonous in pose the fact that many insects feed large doses or small, concentrated or solely on sugar and saccharine juices; diluted. Nevertheless, in compliand in them, therefore, it is clear that ance with the dictates of Physiology, something more than heat is evolved and, let me add, in compliance also from sugar. Lehmann also bids us with the custom of physiologists, we remember that in the egg a small are forced to call alcohol food, and quantity of sugar exists, and this very efficient food too. If it bé not quantity increases, instead of dimi- food, then neither is sugar food, nor nishing, as the development of the starch, nor any of those manifold chick proceeds ; whereas, if sugar substances employed by man which only served for purposes of oxidation, do not enter into the composition of it would be oxidised and disappear his tissues. That it produces poisonas development advanced.
ous effects when concentrated and In the Chemistry of Common Life, taken in large doses, is perfectly the subject of sugar is treated in de- true ; but that similar effects follow tail, which renders, repetition here when diluted, and taken in small superfluous. Two questions only need doses, is manifestly false, as proved be touched
on, Is sugar injurious to by daily experience. the teeth? Is it injurious to the Every person practically acquaintstomach ? To answer the first, we ed with the subject knows that conhave only to point to the Negroes, who centrated alcohol has, among other eat more sugar than any other human effects, that of depriving the mucus beings, and whose teeth are of envi- membrane of the stomach of all its able splendour and strength. To an- water-i.e. hardens it, and destroys swer the second is not so easy ; yet, its power of secretion; whereas dilutwhen we learn the many important ed alcohol does nothing of the kind, offices which sugar fulfils in the or- but increases the secretion by the ganism, we may be certain that, if stimulus given to the circulation. injurious at all, it is only so in excess. An instructive illustration of the The lactic acid formed from sugar difference between a concentrated dissolves phosphate of lime, and this, and diluted dose is seen in Bardeleas we know, is the principal ingre- ben’s experiment on dogs. He found dient of bones and teeth. By its dis- that forty-five grains of common salt, solution it becomes accessible to the introduced at once into the stomach bones and teeth, and as sugar affects through an opening, occasioned a sethis, its utility is vindicated. But a cretion of mucus followed by vomitsurer argument is founded on the in- ings; whereas five times that amount stinct of mankind. If we all so eagerly of salt in solution produced neither eat sugar, it is because there is a na- of these effeets. The explanation is tural relation between it and our simple, and will be understood by organism. Timid parents may there any one who has seen the salt fore check their alarm at the sight sprinkled over a round of beef conof juvenile forays on the sugar-basin, verted into brine, owing to the atand cease to vex children by forbid- traction exercised by the salt on the ding commercial transactions with water in the beef : this attraction no the lolypop merchant, and cease to longer exists when the salt is in solufrustrate their desires for barley- tion. We might multiply examples sugar by the horrid and never-appre- of the differences which result from ciated pretext of the interdict being the use of concentrated and diluted “ for their good.”
agents, or from differences in the Alcohol.- If it astonished the read- quantities employed, as when a cerer to see water and salts classed as tain amount of acid assists digesalimentary principles, if it puzzled tion, but, if increased, arrests it.
But the demonstration of such a compensation, it was soon found that position is unnecessary, as no well- the monthly consumption of bread informed physiologist will deny it. was so strikingly increased, that the The singular fallacy of concluding beer was twice paid for, once in that whatever is true of a large money, and a second time in bread. quantity of concentrated alcohol is He also reports the experience of the equally true, though in a proportion- landlord of the Hôtel de Russie at ate degree, of a small quantity of Frankfort during the Peace Congress : diluted alcohol, lies indeed at the the members of this Congress were basis of the Total Abstinence preach- mostly teetotallers, and a regular deing. But we need scarcely tell the ficiency was observed every day in physiologist that the difference of certain dishes, especially farinaceous effect is absolute : a difference in dishes, puddings, &c. So unheardkind, and not simply in degree. of a deficiency, in an establishment
On the other hand, it is need- where for years the amount of dishes less to dwell on the dangers which for a given number of persons had so unhappily surround the use of al- well been known, excited the landcohol. Terrible is the power of lord's astonishment. It was found this “tricksy spirit;" and when that men made up in pudding what acting in conjunction with ignor- they neglected in wine. Every one ance and sensuality, its effects are knows how little the drunkard eats : appalling. So serious an influence to him alcohol replaces a given amount does it exercise on human welfare, of food. that we may readily extenuate the The general opinion among physiotoo frequent fanaticism of those zeal- logists is, that alcohol is only heatous men who have engaged in a producing food, and that it thereby league for its total suppression. So saves the consumption of tissue. glaring are the evils of intemperance, Moleschott says that, although formthat we must always respect the ing none of the constituents of blood, motives of Temperance Societies, alcohol limits the combustion of those even when we most regret their ex- constituents, and in this way is equiaggerations, and their want of care valent to so much blood. He who and candour in the examination of has little can give but little, if he evidence. They are fighting against wish to retain as much as one who is a hideous vice, and we must the prodigal of his wealth. Alcohol is more regret that zeal for the cause the saving's bank of the tissues. He leads them, as it generally leads par- who eats little, and drinks alcohol in tisans, to make sweeping charges, moderation, retains as much in his which common sense is forced to re- blood and tissues as he who eats more, ject. All honour for the brave and and drinks no alcohol.” * But the sincere ; all scorn for the noisy shal- physiological action of alcohol is still low quacks who make a trade of the unexplained; we know that it does cause !
sustain and increase the force of the No real gain can be achieved by body; we know that it supplies the any cause when it eludes or perverts place of a certain quantity of food ; the truth ; and whatever temporary but how it does this we do not know. effect, in speeches or writings, may It is said to be“ burnt” in the body, arise from the iteration of the state- and to make its exit as carbonic acid ment that alcohol is poison—a poison and water ; but no proof has yet in small quantities, as in large—al- been offered of this assertion. Some ways and everywhere poisonous, the of it escapes in the breath, and in cause must permanently lose ground, some of the secretions; but how because daily experience repudiates much escapes in this way, and what such a statement as manifestly false. becomes of the rest, if any, is at preAlcohol replaces given aniount of sent a mystery. ordinary food. Liebig tells us that, Iron.—We are passing from surin Temperance families where beer prise to surprise as we in turn arrive was withheld and money given in at substances undoubtedly claiming
* MOLESCHOTT: Lehre der Nahrungsmittel, p. 162.
rank among alimentary principles, be diminished, digestion is retarded;
, which nevertheless the ordinary con- if increased beyond a certain point, ceptions of men are far from familiar digestion is arrested. There is reason, with. After water, chalk, starch, and therefore, in the vulgar notion, unalcohol, are we now to celebrate the happily too fondly relied on, that vinenutritive qualities of iron ! Even gar helps to keep down an alarming
That metal circulates in our adiposity, and that ladies who dread blood, forming indeed an essential the disappearance of their graceful element of the corpuscles-existing outline in curves of plumpness expandin all pigments—in the bile, in ing into “fat,” may arrest so dreadful various other places-notably in the a resultby liberal potations of vinegar; hair, where it is in proportion to the but they can only so arrest it at the far darkness of the colour. The quantity more dreadful expense of their health. of iron in the blood is but small, The amount of acid which will keep varying in different individuals, and them thin, will destroy their digestive different states of the same individual; powers. Portal gives a case which those who are of what is called the should be a warning: “A few years sanguine temperament have more than ago, a young lady in easy circumthose of the lymphatic temperament; stances enjoyed good health; she was those who are well-fed have more than very plump, had a good appetite, and those who are ill-fed. It is in almost a complexion blooming with roses all our animal and vegetable food, so and lilies. She gan to look upon that we do not habitually need to seek her plumpness with suspicion ; for it; but the physician often has to pre- her mother was very fat, and she was scribe it, either in the form of “steel afraid of becoming like her. Accordwine," or in that of chalybeate waters. ingly, she consulted a woman, who
Phosphorus and Sulphur are also advised her to drink a glass of vineindispensable, but they are received gar daily : the young lady followed with our food. Acids are received her advice, and her plumpness diminwith vegetable food; but they are ished. She was delighted with the also taken separately, especially the success of the experiment, and conacetic acid, or vinegar, which, accord- tinued it for more than a month. ing to Prout, has either by accident She began to have a cough ; but it or design been employed by mankind was dry at its commencement, and in all ages—that is to
substances was considered as a slight cold, which naturally containing it have been em- would go off. Meantime, from dry it ployed as aliments, or it has been became moist; a slow fever came on, formed artificially. It is owing to and a difficulty of breathing; her their acids that fruits and vegetables body became lean, and wasted away; are necessary to man, although not night-sweats, swelling of the feet and necessary to the carnivora. Dr Budd of the legs succeeded, and a diarrhea justly points to the prolonged abstin- terminated her life.” Therefore, young ence from succulent vegetables and ladies, be boldly fat! never pine for fruits as the cause of the scurvy graceful slimness and romantic palor; among sailors. Lemon-juice is now but if Nature means you to be ruddy always given to sailors with their and rotund, accept it with a laughfood ; it protects them from scurvy, ing grace, which will captivate more which no amount of vinegar, however, hearts than all the paleness of a ciris sufficient to effect. We make cool- culating library. At any rate, uning drinks with vegetable acids ; and derstand this, that if vinegar will our salads and greens demand vine- diminish the fat, it can only do so gar, as our cold meat demands pickles. by affecting your health. Takenin moderation, there is no doubt We have thus touched
the that vinegar is beneficial, but in ex- chief Alimentary Principles, and in cess it impairs the digestive organs; the next paper will review the Comand, as we remarked a little whilé pound Aliments, or those articles of ago, experiments on artificial diges- Food and Drink which constitute tion show that if the quantity of acid and vary our diet.
A FEW WORDS ON SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY, BY ONE WHO IS NO PHILOSOPHER.
I LIKE society. I feel all the hu- valent. Laying claim to no remarkmiliation of such a confession in these able brilliancy myself, I do not take improving times. I know it betrays accurate measure of all my friends' great want of resources within one- capacities, and can make allowances self, great dissipation of mind, miser for any fair amount of dulness. I able frivolity of temperament. I have been quite as much bored, if know it all. I dare not have con- the truth must be told, by well-infessed it even to my most intimate formed men, and very superior wofriends; but I don't mind confessing men, as by anything I can remember. it here, because nobody knows me, I have found recognised geniuses the and it will be a great relief to my feel dullest possible company; and have ings. Yes, I like society; and I spent the most enjoyable evenings must not even shelter myself under with people who confessed themselves the reservation that I mean, by this, to be dunces and nobodies—have fashionable society, or good society, yawned for very weariness amidst the or literary society. I simply mean, crême de la crême;" and laughed I like to see about me the human at small wits of my own calibre, to face, more or less divine; and to hear the great benefit of my digestion, the human voice, even though its ring however derogatory to my taste. Í may sound suspicious in the ears fear I have not even the proper pride, polite of “the best circles.” Yes; I which professes that it had rather sike what is commonly called ordi- have no society than society below nary society. I find nothing in my itself. I have no doubt it is a very feelings, honestly examined, which fine principle, and an excellent rule responds to the popular protests for young people, whose only object against the dull propriety of country in life, of course, is to work their way visiting, on the one hand, or the upwards in the world, and marry heartless glitter of London parties, on advantageously, and make valuable the other. I like going out to dinner connections : we are indebted for it, -to a good dinner, if possible—but I suspect, with many other popular to a bad dinner occasionally, rather sentinients, to that pure and excellent than not go out at all. I like meet- moralist, Lord Chesterfield; but I ing people-clever people, if possible hazard a doubt whether it is quite a -agreeable people above all things; Christian one. And this, again, if but we can't all be clever or agree pushed too far, might be rather inable ; and I am inclined to take so- convenient to oneself. If I am never ciety-as we are obliged to take a to condescend a step in the social good many things in this world—as scale when I ask a friend to dinnerit comes. It strikes me, too, very if I am always to be courting my rich forcibly, that if everybody declined to neighbours, and insinuating myself meet everybody who was not clever into the highest rooms—thus reading or agreeable, it would fall rather hard' backwards the precepts of a social upon some of us : I, for instance, philosophy rather older than Chesshould have no society at all. I am terfield's, though never quite so popunot clever, certainly, and not agree- lar—are all richer people, and cleverer able always; indeed, at times abomi- people, and more desirable people, to nably stupid and disagreeable, as my condescend to me? On what princonscience painfully informs me ; ciple of fairness is this broad barthough, of course, I should be justlý sinister to be drawn exactly below indignant if any one else were to take my name? Why is my precise social that liberty. Yet I should take it status, or my precise intellectual very hard to be scouted as if I were value, to be tacitly adopted, both by a Hindoo (whether Brahmin or Pa- myself and others, as that below riah, makes little difference just now) which all is to be a terra incognitam on account of these infirmities; which, marked, as in the maps of the old geoafter all, are human, and largely pre- graphies, with figures of griffins and