As copious wheat eaters, “Western people possibly ingest toxins in a quantity never before seen,” writes Valentino Palpacelli, in Staple Food, Natural Toxins and Related Diseases. This well-researched book suggests that fungus in food, especially in certain grains like wheat and corn, produces toxins that impair the immune system and cause illness, including cancer and cardiovascular disease.
The author admits that his position—that fungal toxins cause more harm to the body than pesticides and preservatives—is an unproven hypothesis, but his arguments are convincing. Extensive references in the text point to abundant research. He cites numerous dietary studies from around the world, one of which identifies refined wheat flour as the cause of increased dental problems.
With a doctorate in food biotechnology, Palpacelli is well qualified to present a food toxin theory. An agronomist, an expert in crop production and soil management, and the owner of a food analysis laboratory, he has written articles on killer yeast and mycotoxins. Included among his list of low-risk foods are most fruits, vegetables, and rice. In addition to reducing toxin intake, he suggests that taking dietary supplements can also help eaters avoid toxins.
The textual material consists of three sections, each with multiple subsections. The third section contains seven appendices, including one on oxygen-ozone therapy. Two graphs compare suspected fungal toxins in traditional diets with those in significantly more toxic Western diets. A careful reexamination of historical illness indicates that food fungus might have been a cause of diseases—Black Death, for example—due to fungal weakening of the immune system.
While dozens of color photographs will increase interest, readers will, however, have difficulty determining what exactly the moldy food is on the front cover. Several excellent comparisons paint pictures in the reader’s mind, such as an analogy that equates the structure and function of a cell with a medieval city. Though Palpacelli frequently explains technical information, lay readers may not recognize some of the words, such as phycotoxins.
More careful editing would have prevented many of the book’s errors. Sentences are occasionally confusing, as when Palpacelli writes about “the social riots that brought to French Revolution.” At times, words are missing and there is an excessive use of parentheses throughout. Contrary to the book’s general formatting, a number of paragraphs have only single spaces between them. A subsection titled “Individual Cases of Persons Eating Too Many Mycotoxins” includes only one case.
This book will encourage readers to think about and evaluate dietary recommendations. Like many people throughout history, Palpacelli questions authority, and this often leads to new discoveries.