With some observations on the Influence of Dietary on the
Physical Development and Well-being of the People of Bengal.


THE investigations that have been engaging the attention of the staff * of the
Physiological Department of the Medical College, Calcutta, have, we hope,
shed a considerable amount of light on the nutritive value of Indian food-stuffs,
and particularly on the nutritive value of jail dietaries in Bengal. They will also
be found to have a very distinct bearing on the much discussed problems of

     The work recorded in this memoir has been carried out on the initiative and
at the expense of the Sanitary Department of the Government of India. The im-
portance of the subject of jail dietaries had been fully recognised by the Govern-
ment of India. They had already caused certain enquiries to be made, which
will be referred to, but had deferred further action until a suitable officer became
available for the purpose of estimating the nutritive value of the different food-
stuffs in the dietary of prisoners.

     The present enquiry is limited to the jails of Bengal. The Work began on the
1st February 1908 and has been going on practically continuously (so far as other
official duties permitted) for the last eighteen months..


     It would not serve any useful purpose to go very deeply into the history of
all the work that has been done on jail diets at Home and in India. Certain
important papers will be referred to in so far as they are of interest in the
light of present investigations; but all the work hitherto done has been based
on the assumption that the chemical analysis of food-stuffs afforded a direct
measure of their nutritive value. Further, the diet scales laid down for Indian
prisons have all been calculated on the result of chemical analyses and not on the
actual nutritive value of the food materials, i.e., the percentage of their proximate
principles that is capable of being absorbed by the intestinal tract of the prisoners

* Three Assistant Surgeons were employed on the enquiry, viz.:—
    Satis Chandra Banerji, L.M.S., Assistant Professor of Physiology.

    Lal Mohan Ghoshal, L.M.S.
    Madan Mohan Dutta, L.M.S.     Demonstrators, Physiological Department, Medical College, Calcutta..