Low Protein Cookery for PKU

Article excerpt

LOW PROTEIN COOKERY FOR PKU. Fourth Edition. By Virginia E. Schuett.

Published by University of Wisconsin Press, 1997. Price: $21.95.

Originally published in 1977, Low Protein Cookery for PKU was a blessing for parents whose children had been diagnosed with phenylketonuria (PKU). PKU was originally named for the way it was first diagnosed: through an overabundance of certain chemicals in the urine. Since that time, we have learned that it is a disease caused by an enzyme deficiency resulting in too-high levels of phenylalanine (found in large quantities in proteins) in the blood stream. Left unchecked, PKU causes mental retardation, sometimes in conjunction with behavioral problems, such as hyperactivity.

Virginia E. Schuett, a nutritionist, was in Madison, Wisconsin, at the Waisman Center's inherited metabolic disease program when she first compiled the recipes that made up the first edition of Low Protein Cookery for PKU. She was required to work closely with parents whose children had PKU. Because their children's development relied on what they ate, she received a tremendous amount of input from them.

The idea that diet could control PKU was first developed in the early 1950s nearly 20 years after its first diagnosis was made. …