Davis, Adelle


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Davis, Adelle

An American nutritionist (1904–1974) whose books continue to be widely read and followed despite containing major misinformation (e.g., eating too little fat causes obesity), unsupported assertions (e.g., that mental and social ills like alcoholism, crime, suicide and divorce could be cured with the proper diet) and dangerous recommendations (e.g., 100,000 IU of vitamin A can be safely consumed for months). Davis died of myeloma, which some linked to her high consumption of calcium carbonate from the Dolomites, which was laced with heavy metals.

Despite her university education in nutrition and her advanced degree in biochemistry, her writing was rife with factual errors, including: Americans eat too little protein; massive consumption of milk prevents cancer; massive doses of vitamin E during pregnancy prevents miscarriage, mental retardation and birth defects; calcium is a tranquiliser; magnesium can control epilepsy; inositol controls baldness; renal failure responds to potassium supplements; bruises are a sign of vitamin C deficiency; and PABA (para-amino benzoic acid) supplements can cure Rocky Mountain spotted fever and other rickettsial infections. The 1969 White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health labelled her the single most harmful source of false nutritional information.