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JAMA 100 Years Ago
September 8, 2010


JAMA. 2010;304(10):1130. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1092

The enhanced cost of living in all civilized countries has directed attention to the less expensive forms of food. It has been said that the production of wheat is not keeping pace with the increase in population and that some more productive substitute must be found for it. Meat, likewise, for reasons not to be discussed here, is becoming relatively scarcer, and consequently so much more expensive as to portend at no distant time its compulsory partial abandonment as an article of diet by the poorer portion of the population. A more extensive use of fish has been suggested as one way out of the difficulty. As reported in our London Letter, at a recent meeting of the Sanitary Inspectors' Association in London, Sir James Crichton-Browne remarked on the value of fish as food, especially for the poor; from a physiologic standpoint; it ranks second only to meat, containing somewhat less of protein but often more fat, while being far less expensive. Salmon is found the equal of lean meat in food value, and a pound and a half of cod is equal in nutritive value to a pound of lean beef, while the cost is very much less. Improved transportation facilities and methods of distribution make fish available as food to a much wider extent than formerly. At present, on account of fashion, prejudice, taste, etc., many of the coarser kinds of fish are tabooed, although of equal or greater nutritive value than those that are more popular. With present measures of conservation of fish and fisheries extended, along with the conservation of our other natural resources, and with proper encouragement in the use of this form of nitrogenous food, there would be an enormous development in the fishing industry and an accompanying economic saving to the people, while still maintaining the public health by a high plane of living in the presence of a waning meat supply.

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