"As far as I can judge, children were more robust and healthy, and less sensitive to external influences than they are at present, but I doubt if there mental faculties were so acute, which might be due to the less exciting lives they led, to the less early educational pressure and to the more wholesome and plain food. Especially the bread, which, being made at home, of pure wheat flour, much less white and finely ground, was far more nutritious and sustaining; in fact, men could almost live on it alone. There were none of those "prepared" foods, whose value as food has generally been impaired or destroyed by the preparation they have undergone."
One hears those same, or similar, views expressed today but that paragraph is copied from a book originally published in 1906 about "Sussex in Bygone Days". The author, Nathaniel Paine Blaker, was reminiscing about his childhood. He was born in 1835 and became Consulting Surgeon at the Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, dying in 1920. I have been lent a copy of the "New Edition, extended and largely re-written" which was published in 1919. It makes interesting reading.
I wonder what the author would say about the food we buy these days with all the E numbers and additives?