Catalogue


Terrors of the table : the curious history of nutrition /
Walter Gratzer.
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, c2005.
description
ix, 288 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0192806610 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, c2005.
isbn
0192806610 (alk. paper)
standard identifier
9780192806611
restrictions
Online version licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
5892728
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [260]-269) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2006-04-01:
Gratzer (King's College, London) has written a thorough and interesting history of nutrition. He begins by chronicling the fight against scurvy, beriberi, rickets, and various other nutritional diseases. Many well-known scientists played a role in this fight and in the struggle to understand nutrition: Galen, Lavoisier, Count Rumford, von Liebig. The author also traces the history of the discovery of vitamins and the problems of vitamin deficiency. In a particularly interesting section, he shows how quackery and ignorance during the 18th and 19th centuries caused severe health problems for many people. One of the most interesting parts of the book is the last chapter, which is devoted to the present era. In it he talks about several of the modern diets such as the Atkins and South Beach diets. The book offers many interesting insights about food additives, good and bad fats, problems of excess sugar, and so on. An appendix is devoted to a more technical discussion of many of the topics, and there is a long bibliography and several photos. Overall, an excellent history of nutrition. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. General readers; lower- and upper-division undergraduates; faculty; professionals. B. R. Parker emeritus, Idaho State University
Reviews
Review Quotes
An irresistible cavalcade of cranks and charlatans.
'...its breadth and liveliness make this an excellent introduction to the one science that touches all of us daily and intimately.'
"Reels out a historical pageant of science and pseudoscience teeming with remarkable characters who have advanced (and retarded) knowledge about what makes humans thrive."--Jane and Michael Stern, New York Times Book Review "A history of nutrition, a tale that 'encompasses every virtue, defect and foible of human nature.' As mankind tries to figure out what it should eat, 'reason contends with superstition, mountebanks prosper and savants quarrel among themselves.'"--Wall Street Journal "Gratzer writes with the assurance of a scientist and the ease and eloquence of a talented and practiced author. He's got a precise vocabulary and pulls many sweet turns of phrase. And he writes about Petri dishes and chicken dissections with equal readability. But his best trait may be his simple common sense, as when he advises readers to follow the Second-World-War mantra, now seldom heard, that 'a little of what you fancy does you good.'"--Hannah Myers, New York Press "Plenty of pages anyone can sink his teeth into. There are wonderfully harrowing chapters about beriberi and rickets, and how cures for them were discovered by dedicated researchers. Gratzer chronicles the illogical and often downright bizarre misinterpretations of diet and nutrition through the centuries."--San Diego Union-Tribune "Its breadth and liveliness make it an excellent introduction to the one science that touches all of us daily and intimately."--Time Out New York
"Reels out a historical pageant of science and pseudoscience teeming with remarkable characters who have advanced (and retarded) knowledge about what makes humans thrive."--Jane and Michael Stern,New York Times Book Review "A history of nutrition, a tale that 'encompasses every virtue, defect and foible of human nature.' As mankind tries to figure out what it should eat, 'reason contends with superstition, mountebanks prosper and savants quarrel among themselves.'"--Wall Street Journal "Gratzer writes with the assurance of a scientist and the ease and eloquence of a talented and practiced author. He's got a precise vocabulary and pulls many sweet turns of phrase. And he writes about Petri dishes and chicken dissections with equal readability. But his best trait may be his simple common sense, as when he advises readers to follow the Second-World-War mantra, now seldom heard, that 'a little of what you fancy does you good.'"--Hannah Myers,New York Press "Plenty of pages anyone can sink his teeth into. There are wonderfully harrowing chapters about beriberi and rickets, and how cures for them were discovered by dedicated researchers. Gratzer chronicles the illogical and often downright bizarre misinterpretations of diet and nutrition through the centuries."--San Diego Union-Tribune "Its breadth and liveliness make it an excellent introduction to the one science that touches all of us daily and intimately."--Time Out New York
'The stories are replete with sex, religion, suicide, an occasional murder and a riveting cast of characters.'Marion Nestle, Nature
'The stories are replete with sex, religion, suicide, an occasional murderand a riveting cast of characters.'Marion Nestle, Nature
'This volume, packed with fact, is an engaging and detailed history. Gratzer writes in a style that suits that wealth od wryly entertaining anecdotes he imparts. It is bumper fare.'Carol Cooper, The Lancet
'This volume, packed with fact, is an engaging and detailed history.Gratzer writes in a style that suits that wealth od wryly entertaining anecdoteshe imparts. It is bumper fare.'Carol Cooper, The Lancet
1. The Ravages of War 2. The Scurvy Wars 3. In the Beginning 4. Dawn of the Scientific Age 5. The Savants' Disputes 6. The Poor, the Rich, the Healthy and the Sick 7. Cheats and Poisoners 8. Paradigm Postponed: The Tardy Arrival of Vitamins 9. The Quarry Run to Earth 10. Fads and Quacks 11. The New Millennium: Profits and the higher quackery 12. Appendix: The hard science
'The stories are replete with sex, religion, suicide, an occasional murder and a riveting cast of characters.'Marion Nestle, Nature'This volume, packed with fact, is an engaging and detailed history. Gratzer writes in a style that suits that wealth od wryly entertaining anecdotes he imparts. It is bumper fare.'Carol Cooper, The Lancet
This item was reviewed in:
PW Annex Reviews, October 2005
New York Times Book Review, December 2005
Choice, April 2006
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Combining the history and science of nutrition with tales of the heroes, heroines and charlatans who have told us what we should - and shouldn't - eat, this book chronicles diseases such as scurvy and rickets, as well as exploring current issues caused by bad diets, such as obesity and diabetes.
Long Description
Terrors of the Table is an absorbing account of the struggle to find the necessary ingredients of a healthy diet, and the fads and quackery that have always waylaid the unwary and the foolish when it comes to the matter of food and health. Walter Gratzer tells the tale of nutrition's heroes, heroines and charlatans with characteristic crispness and verve. We find an array of colourful personalities, from the distinguished but quarrelsome Liebig, to the enterprising LydiaPinkham. But we also find the slow recognition that the lack of vital ingredients can cause terrible illnesses - scurvy, rickets, beriberi. These diseases stalked the poor in the West even into the 20th century, and scandalously remain in poorer parts of the world today. The narrative stretches from classicaltimes to the modern day and gives a valuable historical perspective to our current understanding. It also highlights some of the problems faced by the developed world regarding health today - in particular diabetes and obesity. And despite our far greater understanding of what our body needs, there are still many who would fall for fads and fancy diets - some dangerous, others just daft.Of course, the story of nutrition does not end there. We have discovered the key vitamins and minerals our body needs, but research continues on the connections between diet, health and disease. The body's biochemistry is complex, and there are no easy answers, no magic formula, that applies to all individuals. The safest and most rational course would seem to be a sensible, moderate, and varied diet, not forgetting that 'a little of what you fancy does you good'.
Long Description
Walter Gratzer here offers a marvelous smorgasbord of stories taken from the history of nutrition, providing an engaging account of the struggle to find the ingredients of a healthy diet, and the fads and quackery that have waylaid the unwary. Gratzer recounts this history with characteristic crispness and verve. The book teems with colorful personalities, a veritable who's who of medical history, from Hippocrates to Pasteur, plus such intriguing figures such as Count Rumford, who argued that since plants got their food from water, soups would make the best meals for us. Gratzer highlights the brilliant flashes of insight as well as the sadly mistaken leaps of logic in the centuries-long effort to understand how the body uses food. We see the ingenious experiments used to reveal the workings of the stomach, the chemical analyses that uncovered the nature of proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins, and the slow recognition that malnutrition lay behind such terrible diseases as scurvy, rickets, beriberi, and pellagra. Along the way, we read about the invention of the tin can (which originally had to be opened with a hammer and chisel), learn why ancient Egyptians had thicker skulls than Persians, and find out about today's fads and fancy diets--some dangerous, others just daft, such as the blood group diet, where you plan your meals around your blood type (people who are type 0 are supposed to eat more meat). Spiced with colorful anecdotes from the history of medicine and with sharp portraits of the scientists who advanced our understanding of diet and digestion, Terrors of the Table is a must read for anyone interested in food and health.
Main Description
From the dawn of civilization, the search has been on for the essential ingredients of a healthy diet. This book tells the strange and dramatic story of that quest-from the four humours of the ancients to the struggle to identify vitamins and our efforts to combat the modern explosion of obesity and diabetes. It is a story peopled with heroes, heroines, savants and a long parade of colourful cranks who have told us-and sold us-what we may eat. Book jacket.
Main Description
Terrors of the Table is an absorbing account of the struggle to find the necessary ingredients of a healthy diet, and the fads and quackery that have always waylaid the unwary and the foolish when it comes to the matter of food and health. Walter Gratzer tells the tale of nutrition's heroes, heroines and charlatans with characteristic crispness and verve. We find an array of colourful personalities, as well as the slow recognition that the lack of vital ingredients can cause terrible illnesses like scurvy, rickets and beriberi, diseases which still remain in poorer parts of the world today. Highlighting health problems such as diabetes and obesity and covering the dangers of fads and fancy diets, this is a book for those interested in science, and nutrition, social history, and the history of medicine.
Main Description
Terrors of the Table is an absorbing account of the struggle to find the necessary ingredients of a healthy diet, and the fads and quackery that have always waylaid the unwary and the foolish when it comes to the matter of food and health. Walter Gratzer tells the tale of nutrition's heroes,heroines and charlatans with characteristic crispness and verve. We find an array of colourful personalities, from the distinguished but quarrelsome Liebig, to the enterprising Lydia Pinkham. But we also find the slow recognition that the lack of vital ingredients can cause terrible illnesses -scurvy, rickets, beriberi. These diseases stalked the poor in the West even into the 20th century, and scandalously remain in poorer parts of the world today. The narrative stretches from classical times to the modern day and gives a valuable historical perspective to our current understanding. Italso highlights some of the problems faced by the developed world regarding health today - in particular diabetes and obesity. And despite our far greater understanding of what our body needs, there are still many who would fall for fads and fancy diets - some dangerous, others just daft.Of course, the story of nutrition does not end there. We have discovered the key vitamins and minerals our body needs, but research continues on the connections between diet, health and disease. The body's biochemistry is complex, and there are no easy answers, no magic formula, that applies to allindividuals. The safest and most rational course would seem to be a sensible, moderate, and varied diet, not forgetting that 'a little of what you fancy does you good'.
Main Description
Walter Gratzer here offers a marvelous smorgasbord of stories taken from the history of nutrition, providing an engaging account of the struggle to find the ingredients of a healthy diet, and the fads and quackery that have waylaid the unwary. Gratzer recounts this history with characteristic crispness and verve. The book teems with colorful personalities, a veritable who's who of medical history, from Hippocrates to Pasteur, plus such intriguing figures such as Count Rumford, who argued that since plants got their food from water, soups would make the best meals for us. Gratzer highlights the brilliant flashes of insight as well as the sadly mistaken leaps of logic in the centuries-long effort to understand how the body uses food. We see the ingenious experiments used to reveal the workings of the stomach, the chemical analyses that uncovered the nature of proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins, and the slow recognition that malnutrition lay behind such terrible diseases as scurvy, rickets, beriberi, and pellagra. Along the way, we read about the invention of the tin can (which originally had to be opened with a hammer and chisel), learn why ancient Egyptians had thicker skulls than Persians, and find out about today's fads and fancy diets--some dangerous, others just daft, such as the blood group diet, where you plan your meals around your blood type (people who are type 0 are supposed to eat more meat). Spiced with colorful anecdotes from the history of medicine and with sharp portraits of the scientists who advanced our understanding of diet and digestion,Terrors of the Tableis a must read for anyone interested in food and health.
Table of Contents
Picture acknowledgementsp. vi
Introductionp. vii
The Ravages of Warp. 1
The Scurvy Warsp. 16
In the Beginningp. 36
Dawn of the Scientific Age: the Road to the Scaffoldp. 48
The Savants' Disputesp. 69
The Poor, the Rich, the Healthy, and the Sickp. 100
Cheats and Poisonersp. 118
Paradigm Postponed: the Tardy Arrival of Vitaminsp. 135
The Quarry Run to Earthp. 162
Fads and Quacksp. 188
The New Millennium: Profits and the Higher Quackeryp. 211
The Hard Sciencep. 248
Further Reading and Referencesp. 260
Indexp. 270
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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