The importance of diet in the prevention and treatment of pellagra is generally accepted. It is not yet clear, however, whether we are dealing with a specific dietary deficiency or whether the deficiency is of a more general nature, important primarily in lowering the body's resistance to disease. Medical opinion in the South is still divided, though the weight of evidence at present available supports the conception of a specific deficiency.
This confusion in our ideas of the relation of diet to the disease is a natural one, in view of the number of theories that have been advanced to explain the relationship. The "spoiled corn" theory, though developed in Italy, was advocated in this country1 after the recognition of the disease here. While American investigators found no evidence of a specific relation of corn to the incidence of the disease, emphasis on this theory served to confuse the
SANDELS MR, GRADY E. DIETARY PRACTICES IN RELATION TO THE INCIDENCE OF PELLAGRAI. A STUDY OF FAMILY DIETARIES IN LEON COUNTY, FLORIDA. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1932;50(3):362–372. doi:10.1001/archinte.1932.00150160013003