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July 27, 1940


JAMA. 1940;115(4):274-279. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810300014004

Normal limits of any physiologic factor are established from averages of measurements on normal subjects. For example, in determining the normal height of an individual at any given age the height values of normal persons of that age are averaged and tabulated. The same is true for determinations of normal weight or the normal metabolic rate and other measurements at various ages.

Following the same procedure it should be possible to establish the normal in diet by analyzing food mixtures representing self-selected diets consumed over, say, a three day period, using for this study persons of presumably normal health. By including in such studies individuals of different ages and occupations of normal life expectancy and reproductive capacities, it should be possible to determine if there is such a thing as a normal diet. In other words, do normal individuals living continuously in a state of good health instinctively select a