Frank Ruffino
2 min readSep 15, 2020

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THE FATHER OF NUTRITION AND CHEMISTRY

As a nutritional sciences student, when this question was posed I realized I knew very little about the founders of nutrition. With a little research, I came across an article discussing the “Father of Nutrition and Chemistry”, Antoine Lavoisier. Diving deeper into different sources, I came to realize him to be an unbelievably aware individual. Lavosier was born in 1743, which gives a great perspective as to why his ideas were so impressive. At the time, scientists recognized that oxygen was needed for fire, breathing, etc and a product resulted from these, which was called “phlogiston” making this the Phlogiston Theory. While this was of course a good thought, Lavoisier further explored this, and found that weight changes also occurred throughout these reactions, which the Phlogiston theory did not account for. With the help of a few individuals along the way, as well as his large inheritance, he produced the term oxygen and the theory of combustion. Further, and more applicable to my major, Lavoisier questioned the processes food undergoes once consumed, eventually determining that his law of combustion applied here as well. Though this may sound intuitive, at the time it was significant to find the purpose to food and how weight changes due to it.

Lavoisier was a brilliant mind, considering things that were at the time perhaps as foreign as the thought of aliens. This work provided a foundation for scientists following, especially in the early 1800’s, thus leading to the further determinations of things like macronutrients and atoms.

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