Many Latter-day Saints, in attempting to live the Word of Wisdom, become so preoccupied with the substances they should avoid that they overlook the principles they should follow.
The positive principles of the Word of Wisdom are found in D&C 89:10-17.The following is from a July 1979 Reader's Digest advertising insert produced by the Church:
"The Word of Wisdom foreshadows modern health research to a remarkable degree. Not only does it counsel against tobacco, but also against liquor, and `hot drinks' - interpreted by the Church to mean coffee and tea.
"Long before modern dietary discoveries, it advised foodstuffs that supply Vitamins A, B and C, protein, calcium, iron and other vital nutrients: all wholesome `herbs,' as vegetables were often known in those days, and fruits in season."
The revelation on the Word of Wisdom counsels that meat and fowl be used "sparingly." (D&C 89:12.) Some researchers believe that a diet high in meat is linked with higher incidences of colon cancer and inflammation of the intestine. Many meats also are major sources of cholesterol - unheard of in Joseph Smith's day - that can clog the blood vessels and damage the heart.
The Word of Wisdom counsels, "All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground." (D&C 89:16.)
Dozens of books and articles in medical journals, general magazines and newspapers are now flooding the market with information about the positive effects of reducing the amount of meat in daily diets and the benefits of utilizing grains, vegetables and fruits.
Such recent findings indicate that the Word of Wisdom is based on principles of sound nutrition and diet, principles that the Lord, through revelation, made known to Joseph Smith 156 years ago.
The Word of Wisdom is known as a principle with a promise, and that promise is achieved through obedience: "And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones; . . . theyT shall run and not be weary and shall walk and not faint.' " (D&C 89:18, 20.)