Subject: Dangers of unprocessed cereals on teeth

From: (ariadna a solovyova)

Date: 1996/08/21

Newsgroups rec. food. cooking, alternative, sci .med.nutrition

I did a little research on frugal (mainly nutritional) caries prevention (can send the results to anyone who’s interested), and eating a lot of barely processed grain doesn’t seem like such a good idea anymore.

One great book that I stumbled upon was "Nutrition and Disease" by Edward Mellanby, M.D., London, 1934. This doctor discovered experimentally, in dogs, wonderful effects of fish oil and "elimination of cereals" on carious teeth. He then tried these two diets on children, in a 26—week clinical study, with these results: "1) the addition of vitamin D [as fish oil] greatly diminished the spread of caries and caused increased arrest of this process; 2) that the removal of cereals together with the addition of vitamin D ****virtually suppressed all dental caries**** and increased the healing process" (p. 25); "Although the latter diet contained no bread, porridge or other cereals, it included a moderate amount of carbohydrates, for plenty of milk, jam, sugar (!), potatoes and vegetables were eaten by this group of children".

Mellanby provides illustrations showing growth of secondary dentin in these children’s teeth. He didn’t know what substance in cereals was cariogenic. Inspired by his book, I searched MedLine and found some abstracts (I can send them to anyone who wants them) of studies on phytic acid and phytates in grains: they inhibit mineral absorption: so, e.g., African tribes with grains as their main staple have much higher incidence of caries than those who subsist mainly on potatoes and yams. Sprouting, soaking, leavening, and other types of processing can reduce or even eliminate the phytates. Of course, heating destroys some nutrients, while fermenting and sprouting increase the grain’s nutritional value in many ways.

Of course, different people have different nutritional requirements; but those prone to mineral deficiencies would do well to sprout their grains at least some of the time.

Mellanby, Edward
  Nutrition and Disease the Interaction of Clinical and Experimental Work

Nutrition and Disease. The interaction of clinical and experimental work.
MELLANBY. Sir. Edward. G.B.E.
pp. xix. 171. Oliver & Boyd: Edinburgh, London, 1934. 8o.