Accessory Factors to Adulteration
Food and Chemistry
The French chemist Lavoisier’s work on metabolism and respiration was a first step toward a science of nutrition, proving that foods supply energy to the body. By the nineteenth century, scientists knew that different foods provide different substances, but did not recognize the role they play in human health. Many nineteenth-century scientists and physicians thought that food was simply a mixture of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Scientists first began to wonder about food’s mysterious “accessory factors,” now called vitamins, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
As some scientists discovered beneficial substances in food, others uncovered harmful ones.