Hippocrates is reported to have stated that "there are many other ills different from those of repletion but no less dreadful arising from deficiency of diet." The history of medicine contains many references to observations which supported the theory that there is a relationship between diet and certain diseases such as beriberi, scurvy, night blindness, osteomalacia and rickets, known by various terms in different languages.
With the advent of bacteriology and its brilliant discoveries, however, the idea that disease can be brought about by lack of something in the diet was difficult to comprehend, especially in the light of the many diseases which were shown to be of bacterial origin. It was not until the fundamentals of an adequate diet were demonstrated by means of animal experiments that a relationship between faulty diet and the so-called deficiency diseases could be demonstrated. Pernicious anemia, diabetes and goiter will not be discussed