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Volume 38, No. 2

Nutrition Against Disease by Roger J. Williams, PhD

With great pleasure I re-read Roger J. Williams, Nutrition Against Disease for the NOHA class on November 18th. It became abundantly clear why a series of classes on this book was the inspiration for the founding of NOHA in 1972.

Williams describes the tremendous variability in all our organs, enzyme systems, etc. and develops the "genetotropic" concept showing that differences in heredity result in great differences in nutritional needs. An ideal world would be optimal nutrition for all cells. He describes his early work with yeast cells and what would happen if ideal conditions were provided:

"This means that a single small cake of compressed yeast, starting on a Monday morning with all the air, water, and nutrients it needed would, by the next Monday morning weigh more that a billion tons!"

This thought stimulated our discussion of the "population problem" which is, of course, the most basic problem in worldwide nutrition. We do not want to continue with the Malthusian positive checks of "war, pestilence, and famine". Williams hopes we will "explore humane methods to keep the population within manageable proportions."

He describes the "nutritional chain of life" and lists forty nutrients that are absolutely essential to life, which must be supplied in our food. He emphasizes the problem of processed foods, which give us "naked" or "seminude" calories with the complementary nutrients removed.

His fifteen chapters and prolific reference notes are excellent. We could have a NOHA class on each one. Many NOHA speakers have been experts in the subjects of these chapters so that the interrelationships are fascinating.

In closing, here are a few notes from our discussion of one chapter, "The Fight Against Obesity."

Williams concentrates on the health of the appestat which is in the hypothalamic region of the brain, and which controls our desire to eat and our feeling of satiety. He sites research showing that one meal a day results in obesity even from the same amount of food. The liver converts the food to lipids (fat) and the appestat is "damped" from this experience. Also, lack of exercise has a crippling effect on the appestat mechanism. Rats in a very warm room in a very small cage invariably become obese. When the appestat mechanism is working properly, increased work results in increased appetite and increased food consumption. This occurs within a "normal range of activities". However, below that zone in the "sedentary zone" lower activity causes increased eating, resulting in obesity. "In the course of evolution no provision has been made for periods of relative inertia." Activity is very important! We related this to Covert Bailey’s lecture last spring. He pointed out that in order to metabolize fat, we need certain enzymes, which are developed in our muscles by aerobic exercise.

In our class Williams’ book stimulated us to think of other NOHA lecturers in addition to him, and how their work also relates to Nutrition Against Disease.


review by Marjorie Fisher

Article from NOHA* NEWS, Winter 1986

*The American Nutrition Association was formerly known as the Nutrition for Optimal Health Association [NOHA].

For informational purposes only - not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, nor an endorsement by the American Nutrition Association®. Use permitted for non-profit and non-commercial uses or by healthcare professionals in their practice, with attribution to www.AmericanNutritionAssociation.org. Other use only with written ANA℠ permission. Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the ANA℠. Works by a listed author subject to copyrights as marked. © 2010 ANA℠