Thursday, May 6, 2010

Reasons to Be Glad You Can't Afford Luxury Food

The rich may get their pick of the most desirable food, but it hasn't always been the best thing for them. Consider the effect of finely polished white rice on the Japanese diet as explained by Trevor Corson in The Zen of Fish:

"... rich people in Japan and other countries preferred the taste of bright white rice, and so they paid extra to have their rice polished. Sadly for them, the Japanese diet contained little besides rice bran to supply vitamin B1. People who ate polished rice condemned themselves to emotional disturbances, impaired sensory perception, weight loss, heart failure, and even death-- the results of beriberi, or vitamin B1 deficiency. About 350 years ago, as more Japanese acquired wealth and and moved from the countryside to cities, the consumption of highly polished rice increased. So did recorded instances of beriberi. One food historian reports that for a time, it was considered Japan's national disease."