Since earliest recorded history, magic qualities have been attributed to certain foods and an aura of mystery has surrounded many of them. As knowledge of nutrition has increased, people generally have become more aware of the importance of food, but they are still susceptible to folklore and faddism in food choices. Most people as they grow older have deep desires to maintain perpetual youth and health. Few have any knowledge concerning the relationships between food and health, and many lack confidence in the medical community's assistance in maintaining their health. Thus, they fall prey to the promises and false premises of the sellers of pseudo-nutrition and food nonsense.
Nutritional quackery is the biggest fraud in the health field. Conservative estimates indicate that US$ 500 million to $2,000 million are spent annually in the USA alone on non-prescribed and unnecessary food supplements and vitamin and mineral products. In recent years new fads in foods have included 'health foods', 'organic foods' and 'natural foods'. In almost any city in the USA, foods described by this terminology are available for sale, usually at several times the cost of regular foods. At least 26 common herbal teas contain toxic ingredients. These teas have already caused a wide range of diseases of the digestive system, blood, the heart, the nervous system and skin. In America at least four people have died from herbal tea poisoning.
Damaging statements have come from misguided enthusiasts and even from some in responsible positions in agriculture and in industry, who are promoting the thesis that poor soils are responsible for a decrease in the nutritive value of specific food crops and animal products, and thus result in serious malnutrition. These ideas continue to be set forth without adequate evidence for them, and in spite of specific evidence to the contrary. These enthusiasts are doing both agriculture and the cause of nutrition harm by undermining public confidence in the nutritive value of agricultural products.
There is no difference in nutritive value between organically grown food and food grown with the aid of chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides. This has been known for many years by nutritional and soil scientists and is based on thorough research. Fertilization, regardless of the type, does not influence the nutrient composition of the plant with regard to its content of protein, fat, carbohydrate, or the various vitamins; these nutrients are influenced primarily by the genetic composition of the seed and the maturity of the plant at the time of harvest.
The following items of diet have all been found to cause "health problems" in various health surveys: tea, coffee, milk, water, orange juice, apple juice, sugar, butter, margarine, bread, bran, bacon, salt, wine, beer, eggs, beef, pork, lamb, chicken, sausages, potatoes and chocolate. It can be assumed that surveys will eventually find a health risk in all known foods.