Did you ever wonder whether broths are nourishing? Well, I found the answer in a hundred-year-old magazine. Here’s the question posed by a reader and the response:
Q: I should like to ask you about the advisability of giving canned broths to invalids and children. I am speaking particularly of a child fourteen months old that is taking broths every day. Are such broths as nutritious as if freshly made? Is there any nutritive value left in the used meat?
Mrs. A.K.H., Mass.
A: Broths are usually made from meats, sometimes with the addition of vegetables, and contain only those food materials which are soluble in hot water, or, like starch, diffusible in water. Sugars and meat bases, such as creatin, are soluble in water. A part of the mineral substances in the foods is also soluble. The nutritive value of broths is necessarily limited. It is the opinion of many physicians and physiologists that the food stuffs in broths, especially the nitrogenous bases, are not equal in value to the ordinary proteins which are not soluble in water. It is a common opinion that the food materials in broths are more easily assimilated and therefore are preferable in many diseased conditions to more nutritious foods, which the impaired digestive apparatus is unable to utilize. I should regard broths of any kind as a poor substitute for milk for a child of fourteen months. Canned broths, when they are first made, are perhaps as desirable as home-made broths. They are likely to dissolve some of the tin from the container, and soluble tin salts are not particularly useful in the stomach of a child. It is not possible, in my opinion, to nourish a child on broths of kinds. It should be milk.
Good Housekeeping ( June, 1919)