Since deficiencies are widespread, we might well ask why this is so. Without going into a long explanation, let us examine what happens when whole wheat grain is turned into white flour. The following table shows the percentages of essential nutrients and fiber lost during processing. The figures are from work done by Henry A. Schroeder in the U.S. and by M.O. Bruker in Germany, both MDs.
Vitamins B1, B2, and B3 72-81%
Vitamin B6 72%
Pantothenic acid 50%
Vitamin E 86%
Linoleic acid 95%
Alpha-linolenic acid 95%
Selenium 16 %
Polished rice has lost between 26 and 83% of each mineral present in brown rice. Corn starch has lost between 31 and 100% of each mineral present in whole corn. Sugar has lost between 83 and 100% of each mineral present in raw sugar. Fat-free milk has lost all of its manganese and most of its selenium, as well as its vitamins A, D, and E.
Over half of the calories in normal American diets come from foods from which much of the mineral, vitamin, essential fatty acid, and fiber content has been removed – 17% from sugar, 20% from refined cereals, 3% from alcohol, 18% or more from refined fats (see Chapter 40, Why Calorie Counting Fails). This is the primary reason for deficiencies: the regular consumption of processed foods lacking essential nutrients.
Other Affluent Populations
Judging from the incidence of degenerative disease, the nutritional status of Europeans and affluent people around the world is about the same as ours. People in poorer nations are better nourished than the majority of the affluent. The former consume less food, but their foods are less processed and more nutrient-dense. Affluent populations have the luxury of choosing foods that undermine their health.