The "Corpus" of Hippocrates not only lists many drugs, mainly of vegetable origin, but gives considerable space to a discussion of the regulation of the diet. However during the evolution of medical treatment much greater emphasis has been placed on drugs than on nutrition. This is not surprising, since as man sought food to satisfy his hunger he encountered a variety of substances which had a more or less immediate effect on the normal functions of the body. Many of these were prepared or concentrated so that they could be used to alleviate suffering or to combat disease.
The recognition of specific nutrients in the prevention of disease was impossible until a little over a hundred years ago because until that time all foods were assumed to supply a single universal nutrient. It is only within recent years that all the nutrients necessary for optimum nutrition have begun to be