Is cereal healthy for weight loss?

Dr. H. W. Wiley, Chief of the Bureau of Chemistry in the United States Department of Agriculture, in speaking of the substitutes for meat, says: “In so far as actual nourishment is concerned, the very cheapest and best that can be secured is presented by the cereals, viz., Indian corn, wheat, oats, rye, rice, etc. These contain all the nourishment necessary to supply the waste of the body and the energy and heat necessary to all animal functions and hard labor, in a form well suited to digestion, and capable not only of maintaining the body in a perfect condition, but also of furnishing the energy necessary to the hardest kind of manual labor. The waste material in cereals is very small, and, as compared with that in meats, practically none at all. In fact, the ordinary wastes, such as the bran and germ, are among the most nutritive components of the cereals, and both health and economy would be conserved, as a rule, by their consumption, instead of rejecting them as in the ordinary process of milling. The ordinary cereals of commerce contain only about ten per cent of waste, and this is an exceedingly small proportion, as compared with the percentage in meats.

“If meats should be used more for condimental purposes, as in the making of soups, stews, etc., and not more than once a day, as one of the staple articles of the table, it would be better, in my opinion, for the health and strength of the consumer, and especially would it be a saving in the matter of household expenses.

“It is well known that men who are nourished very extensively on cereals are capable of the hardest and most enduring manual labor. Meats are quickly digested, furnish an abundance of energy soon after consumption, but are not retained in the digestive organism long enough to sustain permanent muscular exertion. On the other hand, cereal foods are more slowly digested, furnish the energy necessary to digestion and the vital functions in a more uniform manner, and thus are better suited to sustain hard manual labor for a long period of time.

“The cereals contain all the elements necessary to the nutrition of the body, having in themselves the types of food which are represented by the fats, the nitrogenous or protein bodies, and the carbohydrates. In addition to these, they contain those mineral elements of which the bony structure of the body is composed, viz., lime and phosphoric acid. If, therefore, man were confined to a single article of diet, there is nothing which would be so suitable for his use as the cereals. Starch and sugar are primarily the foods which furnish animal heat and energy, and hence should be used in great abundance by those who are engaged in manual labor. The workingmen of our country, especially, should consider this point, and accustom themselves more and more to the use of cereals in their foods. When properly prepared and properly served they are palatable, as well as nutritious, and their judicious use in this way would tend to diminish the craving for flesh, which, however, it is not advisable to exclude entirely from the diet. By persons whose habits of life are sedentary, requiring but little physical exertion, starch and sugar should be eaten more sparingly.”