Cover image for The food bible
The food bible
Wills, Judith.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Editions, [1998]

Physical Description:
320 pages : color illustrations ; 26 cm
General Note:
"A Fireside Book."

Includes index.
Food for a balanced diet -- Food as medicine -- Food for the time of your life -- Food for weight control -- Food for health and pleasure -- Food at a glance.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RA784 .W645 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
RA784 .W645 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



The Food Biblepresents the facts consumers need to eat well throughout their lives and demonstrates how to combine healthful ingredients to create delicious meals. From an invaluable look at the "super-foods" that provide essential nutrition and protection against serious diseases, to special plans for weight control, to suggestions for satisfying a wide range of needs and taste preferences,The Food Biblefeatures:* Dozens of tips on what to eat -- and what to avoid -- if you suffer from allergies, digestive problems, insomnia, PMS, arthritis, and other common ailments* No-nonsense evaluations of seven popular dieting methods; three customized dieting plans; and a four-week course in getting and staying slim* 100 recipes, with complete nutritional breakdowns, for everything from snacks and soups to main courses and desserts* At-a-glance reference charts covering more than 350 foods and including information on fat, calorie, and cholesterol content, fiber and sugar content, and much more

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Anyone seeking modification of lifestyle or body dimensions will find much useful guidance in Wills' analytical book. She clearly prefers a vegetarian approach to daily food consumption, but she recognizes that not everyone can be satisfied or even fully healthy if such diets are followed too thoughtlessly. Wills sorts out all the vegetarian alternatives, from rigorous macrobiotic to simple avoidance of red meats, and she categorizes the benefits and the shortcomings of each. For those who regard food as a form of medicine, Wills documents ailments and the foods that help overcome them. Detailed tables summarize nutritional and health benefits in a wide variety of foods, including even alcoholic drinks. Wills also includes meats in her tabulations, helping sort out both the advantages and the shortcomings of meat-oriented diets. Recipes emphasize dishes designed for weight loss. --Mark Knoblauch

Library Journal Review

Wills (Take Off 10 Years in 10 Weeks, Putnam, 1997), a British nutrition expert, has written one of the most comprehensive nutrition books recently published. She covers the latest scientific research on balanced diets, food as medicine, weight control, and food for health and pleasure. More than 350 food charts provide fat, calorie, fiber, cholesterol, and sugar contents. Common food-related ailments are listed, with suggested food solutions. Foods are listed for different stages of life, and healthy cooking for different lifestyles is discussed. One chapter, on foods for gaining weight, is unique. Food preparation and safety are also discussed. This is an excellent nutrition reference book, except for a few places; e.g., for osteoporosis, Wills notes that foods high in oxalates may hinder absorption of calcium but then lists chocolate as one of the best sources of calcium. Over 100 healthy recipes, including some for vegetarians, are included. Recommended for all nutrition reference collections.‘Loraine F. Sweetland, IPS Information Problem Solvers, Crossville, TN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



From Section One Food for a balanced diet The experts are always telling you that you ought to eat a balanced diet. In fact, you've heard the message so often you probably know it by heart - eat less fat and more fruit and veggies and fiber. But what exactly does that mean, and how do you know you're achieving the correct balance? Most of us, for example, still fall well short of eating enough healthy carbohydrates; and many of us who try to follow a diet very low in fat may be doing just as much harm to our health as those who eat a high-fat diet. Then there's the advice to eat at least "five a day" of fruit and vegetables. What is a portion? And which fruits and vegetables can be included? Most people haven't got a clue - because no one has ever told them. And what about the other nutrients you hardly ever hear about? For instance, did you know that many of us eat far more protein than we really need, and that too much can be bad for you? That some fats are vital to our well-being and aren't all that easy to find in a typical diet? And that many of us in the US fall short of at least some of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need? Here you will find out all you need to know about the things the experts don't usually bother to tell you, in a way you can understand. The following two pages show a perfect day's eating for an average woman, containing all the carbohydrates, fat, protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc. that are needed, in all the right quantities. Using this as our blueprint, we go on to show how you can achieve your own perfect diet. Your diet won't necessarily look the same (an average man needs about 30% more calories, for instance), or indeed contain more than a couple of the same foods, because your needs, lifestyle, and preferences may be different. That's the beauty of food - there is so much available in so much variety that you can eat "a balanced diet" without compromising your own needs. Section One sets out the foundation of your own diet for health and well-being, and shows how to give your body the fuel it needs for life. THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF A HEALTHY DIET To form our blueprint, the photographs on these pages show a perfect day's eating for an average woman, according to official FDA nutritional guidelines, containing all the carbohydrates, fat, protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc. that are needed, in all the right quantities. Taken together, the breakfast, lunch, main meal, and snack (together with 7 fl oz (200 ml) low-fat 2% milk and unlimited water to drink) give a total of 2,225 calories; 69 g total fat (28% of daily energy intake); 17 g saturated fat (6.8% of daily total energy intake); 18.6 g polyunsaturated fat (7.5% of daily energy intake); 28.2 g monounsaturated fat (11.4% of daily energy intake); 67 g protein (12% of daily energy intake); 334 g carbohydrate (60% of daily energy intake); 38 g fiber; contains only 1,251 mg sodium and gives 100% or more of the Reference Daily Intake for all the other major vitamins and minerals. Breakfast 1 cup (240 ml) orange juice, 2 oz (50 g) 100%-natural cereal with raisins and dates, 2/3 cup (85 g) fresh raspberries, 5 tablespoons low-fat 2% milk, 2 slices whole-wheat bread, 2 teaspoons low-fat spread, 1 1/2 teaspoons honey. Lunch 1 1/4 cups (175 g) cooked weight brown rice combined into a salad with: 3/4 cup (50 g) cooked chickpeas, 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 g) pine nuts, 2 tablespoons (25 g) cooked baby corn, 1/4 cup (80 g) tomato, 1/3 (25 g) watercress, 1/3 cup (25g) raw baby spinach, all tossed in 1 tablespoon olive oil and balsamic vinegar or lemon juice or wine vinegar. Snacks 1 large banana (approx. 6 oz/175 g weighed with skin, 5 oz/120 g without skin) 2 tablespoons (15 g) shelled almonds 1/2 cup (50 g) ready-to-eat dried apricots 1 oz (30 g) unsalted crackers Evening meal 3 oz (85 g) salmon fillet, lightly broiled, 1/2 cup (50 g) sliced red bell pepper, 1/3 cup (50 g) broccoli florets, 1/4 cup (25 g) scallion, sliced, 1/4 cup (25 g) snow peas stir-fried in 2 teaspoons (8 g) sesame oil, tossed in lime juice and black pepper, served with 3/4 cup (100 g) cooked weight whole-wheat noodles, 1 cup (125 g) cantaloupe (orange-fleshed) melon, 1 (30 g) dinner roll, 2 teaspoons (5 g) low-fat spread. Energy-giving carbohydrates Your body's most constant and basic requirement - apart, perhaps, from water - is energy. Energy to breathe, to move, to function, to power itself, for repair and growth. Like machines, we need an outside source of energy, but our fuel has to come from what we eat and drink. That energy is measured in kilocalories (popularly just called calories). When you expend energy you "burn up" calories, and when you eat you consume calories. The amount of energy or calories your body needs in a day depends on your size, age, proportion of muscle to fat, activity levels, and many other factors. However, the Food and Drug Administration and the US Department of Agriculture have laid down guidelines - called Reference Daily Intake (RDI) and Daily Reference Values (DRV) - which help meet most individuals nutritional needs. RDIs replace the term "RDAs" (Recommended Daily Allowances), which were introduced in 1973 as a reference value for vitamins, minerals, and protein, while DRVs are for the energy-producing nutrients (fat, carbohydrate, protein, and fiber) and are based on the number of calories consumed per day. The table below lists reference values, which should cover the energy needs for most healthy people in the US. Energy needs for children, teenagers, pregnancy, lactation, and the elderly differ and are discussed in Section Three. (In these days of metrication, energy is also sometimes measured in kilojoules, and 1 kilocalorie = 4.18 kilojoules.) In order to maintain a reasonable and stable body weight, energy (food) intake and energy expenditure need to be balanced. Too little intake and too much expenditure can result in weight loss an being too thin; too much intake and to little expenditure can result in weight gain (from the surplus calories converting themselves into body fat) and eventual obesity. More about maintaining the correct energy balance appears later in Section Four, Food for Weight Control. All food and drink containing calories can supply you with energy, in the form of carbohydrate, fat, protein, or alcohol. Hardly any foods contain only one of these elements - the main exceptions being oils, which contain nothing but fat, and sugar, which contains nothing but carbohydrate. Most foods are a mixture of more than one element (along with combinations of the vitamin and minerals). For example, bread is high in carbohydrate, but also contains protein and fat; whole milk contains carbohydrate, fat, and protein, each in reasonable quantity; meat is a mixture of protein and fat; and so on. The Food Charts at the end of the book give the protein, fat, and carbohydrate content of about 400 items, along with the other elements important for good health. Reading the next few pages will help you interpret these charts. Although all types of calorie - be they from carbohydrate, fat, protein, or alcohol - supply you with energy, the majority of your energy supplies should come from carbohydrate. The wheel chart opposite shows you the proportions of each of the energy-giving nutrients that a healthy diet should contain, based on DRVs. In the US, the new DRV for carbohydrates is 60% of total caloric intake; this has changed from the old RDA of 55%. Yet some international authorities recommend even lower levels for carbohydrates (e.g. UK 47-50%) which may seem quite low, however; the UK does have a 5% allowance for alcohol that we do not have in the US. If the World Health Organization (WHO) says 55-75% of our total caloric intake should be from carbohydrates, then s certainly an increase up to 60% (this is done by reducing fat and protein intake and is further discussed on pages 15-21) of intake is likely to be both good for your health and achievable. There are two main sorts of carbohydrate - starches and sugars. At the moment, around 60% of the carbohydrates that we eat are starches and about 40% are sugars. Starchy foods are plant-based foods, such as breakfast cereals, bread, potatoes, legumes, pasta, and rice. Vegetables also contain starch in varying amounts; most fruits contain none, the main exception being bananas. The carbohydrates in these foods are called polysaccharides and are known as complex carbohydrates. Sugars are either intrinsic, such as those found in fruits (the carbohydrates in almost all fruits are sugars) and vegetables (usually a mixture of both sugars and starches), which are part of the cellular structure of the food, or extrinsic (sometimes called "free"), such as those found in table sugar, honey, fruit drinks, cakes, cookies, confectionery, and so on, and which are not bound into the cellular structure of the food but are "refined", depleted of fiber, or added during manufacture. Milk contains an extrinsic sugar, lactose, which is not normally grouped with the other extrinsic sugars for nutrition purposes. It is the complex carbohydrates and intrinsic sugars that should form the bulk of your healthy diet. The WHO suggests that at least 50% of the calories in your diet should come from complex carbohydrates. These are the plant foods that not only supply your body with an easily converted form of energy, but that also contain a whole range of other vital nutrients. They also have few health drawbacks and can therefore happily fill the energy gap left when we cut down on fats (see pages 1519). Carbohydrates also "spare" protein from being converted into energy, which can be important if protein needs are high or intakes poor. The more unrefined the carbohydrate that you eat, the better for your health. Low-carbohydrate diets high in fats are linked with increased risk of many diseases, including heart disease, some cancers, especially bowel cancer, constipation, and obesity. Unrefined foods or marginally refined foods, such as brown rice, whole-grain bread, fresh vegetables and fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds, contain all or most of the original nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, minerals, and those recently-discovered, exciting compounds called phytochemicals (see page 34). Refined carbohydrates, such as white rice, white pasta, and white flour, contain less of these elements, although they are still worth eating. Many common manufactured starchy products, such as mass-produced cakes, packaged desserts and cookies, have lost much of their natural fibers, vitamins and minerals, and phytochemicals, and may also contain high levels of the less healthy types of fat and extrinsic sugars, and are therefore worth cutting right down on. The USDA's "Dietary Guidelines for Americans" recommends using sugars in moderation - sparingly if your calorie needs are low. This conforms to the WHO's recommendations that extrinsic sugars can be eaten in moderation as part of a healthy diet. Another reason for limiting sugar intake is that high consumption, with inadequate oral hygiene, is a major cause of tooth decay. Another important issue is that a diet high in sugary, fatty foods, such as snack foods, candies, and cakes, may also be low in essential nutrients (as seen above), while contributing high amounts of calories. Many experts agree that the US's everrising consumption of these types of foods is linked to our steadily rising levels of overweight and obesity (see Food for Weight Control). It is all too easy to consume more extrinsic sugars than you would think. Generally speaking the major health hazard from eating too much sugar is tooth decay and most Americans do consume relatively large amounts of sugar (over 100 pounds a year). Considering the fact that extrinsic sugars may provide a high proportion of calories with low nutrient content, which in turn may lead to obesity and promote tooth decay, then moderation is advisable. Foods for fiber One of the major reasons that the unrefined or low-refined complex carbohydrates are so important in our diet is that - along with vegetables and fruits - they are the best sources of dietary fiber. Fiber is now more correctly called NSP, or non-starch polysaccharides. NSP, such as cellulose and pectin, comes mainly from plant cell walls. It passes undigested through the small intestine into the bowel, where it is fermented by bacteria. There are two kinds of NSP - insoluble and soluble. Most plant foods contain both types, but proportions vary. Insoluble fiber is mainly cellulose and is found in all plants. Good sources are grains, especially wheat, corn, and rice, vegetables, and legumes. Insoluble fiber is important for avoiding constipation and hemorrhoids. Taken with sufficient fluids, a high-fiber diet increases stool bulk, speeds the passage of stools through the bowel, and may help to prevent bowel cancer, diverticulitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. It is also important in helping stave off hunger, as (with extra fluids) it helps us to feel full. There are various types of soluble fiber, such as pectin (good sources are citrus fruits and apples), beta-glucans, (oats, barley, and rye), and arabinose (legumes). Several studies conclude that soluble fiber can help reduce LDL blood cholesterol levels (see Heart Disease, page 118 and overleaf). It also helps control blood sugar levels by slowing sugar absorption (see Section Four, Food for Weight Control), which may also help in diabetes. It can also play a role in stopping the absorption of a small amount of fat in the digestive system. Resistant starch (present, for example, in cooked and cooled starchy foods, especially potatoes and cereals) is similar to fiber in that it passes undigested through the intestines until it reaches the bowel, where it may help to bulk out the stools. Lignin is another fibrous compound also found in plant Cell walls, although not a NSR It may be important for health (see Cancer, page 96) and is found mainly in flax seed, whole grains, berry fruits, and some vegetables. How much fiber is enough? In Western countries, most of us still don't get enough fiber in our diets, the average intake in the US of total fiber being approximately 13 g a day. The FDA recommends 11.5 g per 1,000 calories, with 20-30 g as a good average, although for people prone to chronic constipation up to 35 g a day (with extra fluids) may be a good idea. Beyond 35 g a day there are no proven benefits and indeed there may be drawbacks, such as a possible malabsorption of minerals. Continues... Excerpted from The Food Bible by Judith Wills Copyright © 1998 by Judith Wills Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.