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A number of supposedly scientific objections to the fast are offered from various sources but not from any source that is entitled, from actual and broad experience with the fast, to speak with authority. I have not met with a single objection to fasting that was not based upon a lack of knowledge of fasting or upon a mere half-truth. Evils sometimes attributed to fasting are accountable for by other causes. There are many attempting to conduct patients through long fasts who do not know how to do so. Fasting is simple and, when properly done, is always beneficial. Those who condemn fasting should first understand it and should have had sufficient experience with it to enable them to know what they are talking about.
In preceding pages many of the commonest objections have been met and disposed of in discussing various parts of our subject, so that but few objections remain for us to discuss at this place.
The old opponents of fasting were open and frank in their attacks upon it. They declared that it weakened the heart, caused the stomach to atrophy, caused adhesions in the stomach, caused the gastric juice to turn upon and digest the stomach and made similar unfounded objections to its use. It was contended by them that a fast of six days would cause the heart to collapse and the patient would die. These old opponents denied that any benefits could come through fasting, but that it constituted a great and immediate danger.
Time and experience proved all of these objections to be unfounded and we hear no more of them. Even in cases of death from starvation, nothing has been found to justify the old notion that if we do not eat the gastric juice will "eat up the stomach." The heart does not collapse, even in the longest fast, and this objection has been removed from the encyclopedias.
The present day opponent of fasting is a different type of man and offers a different type of objection to its use. The present attack upon fasting is underhand. The attacker comes in the guise of a friend. It is now the practice to admit that fasting is often beneficial and then to attempt to kill it by talking learnedly of its imaginary dangers and saying nothing of its benefits. Warnings about the dangers of fasting come from those who know least about it and who have had no experience with it.
Men like McCollum, who have had no experience in caring for patients and who have a wholly wrong conception of the essential nature of so-called "disease" and are unable to rightly interpret symptoms, offer theoretical objections to fasting which grow out of their failure to rightly interpret the developments during a fast.
We are gravely warned of the dangers of decomposition of the digestive juices, particularly the bile, during the fast, and are told that the coating of the tongue is proof of this. They tell us also that there is an excess of decomposition products in the urine during a fast.
The fact is that there can be no more decomposition products entering the body from the digestive tract when this is empty than enter it when it is full of decomposing food. There is a gradual decrease in the amount of such products in the urine as the fast progresses, until finally, they cease altogether to appear in the urine. The sluggishness of the intestines during the fast may result in a temporary increase in the amount of such products during the early days of the fast, but even this can be so only in a few patients.
The digestive juices are all antiseptic and resist decomposition. Bile is antiseptic and aids in keeping the intestine and colon aseptic. It does not decompose readily. It is frequently regurgitated into the stomach and vomited so that there is no possibility of its decomposing and poisoning the body. The supposed evidences of bile decomposition grow less and less as the fast progresses until finally they completely disappear.
Dr. J. H. Kellogg was long one of the chief foes of fasting. He compiled a number of objections, most of which have been met in preceding pages. There are frequent references to the benefits of fasting in his New Dietetics and also much discussion of the damages produced by fasting. He says: "It is certainly irrational to suppose that great benefit can come from prolonged and painful resistance of a natural instinct with which the body is endowed by Nature for its protection by securing the prompt and regular meeting of its essential requirements. Hunger is a sensation through which nature serves notice upon the consciousness that the energy resources of the body are running low and need to be reinforced; in other words, that food is needed. Thirst is a sensation which notifies intelligence of the need of water. On purely a priori grounds it would seem to be highly unreasonable that man should use his intelligence to thwart this means of automatic defense of the body against injury.
"Argument could be offered in favor of water fasting as well as of food fasting. Indeed, why should not one restrain himself from gratifying the sense of air hunger which prompts constant rhythmic action of the lungs? Air hunger, water hunger, and ordinary hunger are simply nature's demands for supplies of different kinds of foods which the body needs for its protection and the maintenance of its functions."
This objection to fasting reveals that Dr. Kellogg knows nothing at all about fasting and the claims of those who advocate fasting. We all agree fully with the above statements. Nobody advocates continued abstinence from food in the face of hunger.
Dr. Kellogg overlooks the essential fact that the instinct that fails to call for food or that produces repugnance to food, or that causes the stomach to vomit food, or the intestines and colon to hurriedly expel it in a diarrhea, is equally as reliable as the one that calls for food. This man who pleads for the reign of instinct in eating, advocates a carbohydrate diet--"abundant carbohydrate feeding"--in fevers, where there is lacking both the desire for food and the ability to digest it. He feeds despite the most obvious protests of instinct. His insistence upon sugar in some form, even in the most violent stages of "disease," is due, in great measure, to his fear of germs; which, he says "will not grow or at least are not virulent and active in producing toxins in the presence of sugar."
Kellogg says "Statkewitsch studied the effects of fasting in a large number of animals--cats, dogs, rabbits, pigeons, frogs, lizards, and other animals--and found that after prolonged fasting the cells of the heart, liver, muscles, kidneys, pancreas and other glands were the seat of degenerative processes. These processes were most marked in the muscles and the glands."
His objections to fasting are largely based on the damages produced in the starvation period. All the evils attributed to fasting, which are enumerated in the works of laboratory experimenters, are the results of starvation. This is to say, these results are found in animals that have died of starvation, the destructive changes all having occurred after the exhaustion of the body's reserves. Laboratory experimenters are in the habit of thinking that starvation sets in with the omission of the first meal, whereas, starvation does not begin until after the return of hunger. Many of Kellogg's assertions with regard to the effects of fasting are directly contradicted by numerous capable laboratory investigators. Those who fail to differentiate between fasting and starving and who are unaware of the important fact that actual vital tissue damage belongs to the starvation period make many absurd statements about fasting. Kellogg speaks of five days without food as a period of starvation. To him fasting and starving are synonymous.
Although opposed to fasting, Kellogg makes the following admissions of benefits received from it:
1. "Surplus body fat may be disposed of."
2. "Any accumulation of surplus or 'floating' nitrogen or waste which may be present will rapidly disappear during a fast."
3. "Fasting creates an appetite by producing an imperious demand for food, and perhaps at the same time increases the ability of the tissues to assimilate food. This effect of fasting may be an advantage in certain cases, particularly when it is desirable to produce a rapid gain in flesh by subsequent overfeeding."
4. "There is some evidence that a prolonged fast may in some instances produce a sort of rejuvenescence in some of the tissues." (He denies that there is any evidence that this is so in man. He can deny this only by shutting his eyes to the wealth of evidence that exists).
5. "The observation has been made that after a prolonged fast, when the body has been built up by proper feeding, there is apparently present an unusual degree of vigor and an enhanced sense of well-being." He tries to escape the implications of this admission by adding: "It is to be noted, however, that a similar observation is often made following recovery from typhoid fever, or some other acute wasting disease in which the patient has been greatly reduced. It is to be further noted, also, that notwithstanding this apparent rejuvenation accompanying convalescence from fever, the life expectancy of such persons is only one-half that of the average person of the same age. Hence, there is ground for believing that notwithstanding the apparent improvement resulting from the fast as well as from the fever, a certain constitutional damage is done, the effects of which become apparent later."
In typhoid and other acute ills, there are present powerful toxins which induce damages. There are also, in most cases, the powerful drugs of the physician as well as the forced feeding. Damages resulting to the body in such a state, which show up later, are not properly attributed to the wasting of the body, while the toxins and the drugs are ignored. Dr. Kellogg should show that the life expectancy of typhoid cases is cut in half where no drugs, serums and food are employed. He should also show that fasting cuts short one's life expectancy.
He says that "many persons have passed through the ordeal of a long fast and have survived, and in some instances there has been evidence of a notable improvement in health following the fast."
The two chief objections to the fast are: (1) it produces "acidosis" or decreases the alkalinity of the blood; and (2) it weakens the patient, and lessens his chances of recovery while rendering him more liable to other "diseases."
Fasting not only does not reduce resistance to "disease," but, on the contrary, increases resistance. Resistance is the product of pure blood and an abundant nerve force. Fasting, because it increases elimination and conserves nervous energy, adds to these qualities. I have known fasters to be subjected to all kinds of unfavorable influences, but I have yet to see any "disease" develop as a result. I know that "disease" recovers much more rapidly in fasters than in those who eat. The following words of Geo. S. Weger, M.D., agree perfectly with my own experience with fasting:
"In all my personal experience with fasting, I have yet to see a case of tuberculosis develop as a result of it. On the other hand, I have seen many patients recover from tuberculosis who made their first improvements after a fast followed by moderate feeding."
"Real vital resistance is very rarely lowered by fasting. Temporary muscular weakness should not be classed as lowered vitality. Indeed, I have seen many cases of infection of different kinds recover completely on a fast. Take for example an advanced case of sinusitis after five or six painful operations--frontal, ethmoidal and antrum--with surgical drainage and irrigation two or three times a week, continued over a period of two to five years, with no relief or amelioration of symptoms. After almost unendurable suffering, such patients are, as a rule, thin, and physically and mentally depressed. When they make complete recoveries after a prolonged fast, as the great majority of them do, is this not sufficient proof that fasting somehow or other raises the power of the organism to overcome infection, rather than that fasting renders them more susceptible? What is true of sinusitis is equally true of other infections, even those so situated anatomically that they cannot be surgically drained and must therefore be absorbed."--In Defense of Rational Fasting.
We have long insisted that fasting increases resistance to infections. This claim has usually been met by the counter claim that resistance is lowered by fasting. Mr. Pearson tells us that after his complete fast, mosquito bites caused no itching and no swelling, and that no amount of exposure would cause a cold. It is almost impossible to have a cold in the last days of a prolonged fast and immediately thereafter.
Animal experimenters have shown that resistance is increased in some animals, decreased in others (pigeons, for example), and unaffected in others. These results cannot be of great aid to us in studying the effects of fasting upon resistance in man.
Morgulis tells that "A subject still very imperfectly known, but one which merits a most careful investigation, is the increase in resistance to infection revealed by organisms which are recovering from inanition. Roger and Jause report such an increased tolerance towards bacilli coli in rabbits which had undergone a preliminary fast of five to seven days. The inoculation with bacterial culture took place three to eleven days after the fast was broken. In each case the control rabbits succumbed to the infection, while all the rabbits which had previously fasted survived the inoculation. These experiments, however, need verification."
The rejuvenating effects of fasting upon the blood have been noted in a previous chapter. It was there shown that fasting does not produce hypoalkalinity. Dr. Weger says concerning the effects of the fast in improving the blood condition:
"We quite agree that considerable iron and proportionately other necessary elements may be consumed during a prolonged fast. However, the needful materials in the body are not lost to the same extent that the unusable waste is lost. It should not be forgotten, as previously stated, that the human body has within itself the power to use and refine the materials it has on hand during a reasonable fasting period.
"The writer has witnessed in a case of anemia, actual rejuvenation of the blood during a twelve-day absolute fast, during which time the red blood cells increased from 1,500,000 to 3,200,000, hemoglobin increased from fifty per cent to eighty-five per cent, and the white cells reduced from 37,000 to 14,000.
"This is but one instance of many that have impressed the value of fasting where to some practitioners it might have been contra-indicated. If the body, because of its crowded nutrition, cannot assimilate vitamin bearing food, it can be brought into condition to do this by a purifying fast."--In Defense of Rational Fasting.
Another objection offered to fasting is purely theoretical and is based on the reigning theories in biochemistry. That these theories are correct has not been shown and there are serious objections to them. At any rate, the developments we should expect if these objections are valid, do not show up during the fast. The objection is this: "All the energy of our bodies comes from either fat or glucose. In order to produce energy all other foods must be changed into fat or glucose, one or the other. But here is the important fact; when blood-sugar or glucose is burned alone, by itself, energy is produced with maximum efficiency. But when fat is burned alone, it is burned incompletely, and yields as by-products acetone and harmful acids, which accumulate more and more as long as fat continues to be burned without sugar. This is what happens when a person attempts to 'fast,' that is, tries to go without food."
If this objection is valid, it would certainly be impossible for us ever to observe gains in strength and energy in fasting patients. Either this objection is wrong, or else all who have seen gains in strength in fasters have been seeing the same kind of things seen by the drunk watching "pink elephants" on the wall.
We refute this objection, not alone on the grounds of experience, but also upon theoretical grounds. First, there is no rapid exhaustion of the body's sugar reserve as this objection implies, when a fast is undergone; second, the fasting body produces a daily supply of glycogen from its stored reserves. The physiologists, Zoethout and Tuttle, say "during starvation (fasting) the blood sugar falls but little below the normal level (although it is being constantly consumed) and the liver still contains some glycogen; this is due to glyconeogenesis."--Textbook of Physiology. Glyconeogenesis is the term applied to the formation of sugar in the animal body out of materials other than carbohydrates. Amino acids, after these have been de-aminized, may be transformed into sugar. This is to say that the portion of the amino acid that is left after the amines have been split off may be transformed into sugar. Glycerol, formed by the digestion of fat, may also be converted into glycogen. Apparently the fatty acids--palmitic, stearic, butyric, etc.--cannot be made into sugar.
What, then, becomes of those acetone bodies about which we hear so much? That they do show up in a fast is not denied. But we have a different explanation for them. One of the surest signs that the fast is nearing its end is the disappearance of acetone from the breath, urine and excreta. The presence of acetone is part of the ketosis that fasting is said, in some quarters, to produce.
Ketosis is the presence in the blood of certain end-products of fat-metabolism, known as ketones. There are three ketones--acetone, aceto-acetic and beta-oxybutyric acid. The presence of these bodies in the blood is said to produce acidosis and damage the body. The damages that these ketones produce are never described and those who have had most experience with fasting have never seen them. It would be interesting to see a catalogue of the evils that flow from the presence of these bodies. Dr. Gian-Cursio, who says he has never seen any evidence of harm from the presence of these bodies, and who thinks of them as evidences of normal adjustment to the fasting state, says that "their absence would be cause for alarm."
These same bodies are present in certain stages of diabetes and from this fact, it is reasoned that they are harmful. It is the rule that when there is ketosis, the blood is slightly alkaline so that the acidosis that is imagined is not actually present. It is even denied that diabetic ketosis is the same as fasting ketosis. We are certain of one thing; namely, that the diabetic faster is able to oxydize sugar. Benjamin Harrow, Ph.D., professor of chemistry, City College, College of the City of New York, says: "The fact that in starvation and diabetes, acetone bodies accumulate in an appreciable degree has led to the view that they are abnormal metabolic products. This view must be revised, for the evidence is accumulating that these substances are indeed normal metabolic products." Thus the more advanced physiologists and bio-chemists do not regard the older theory as any longer tenable.
It is claimed that the sick must eat to "keep up their strength," that food cures "disease," and that it increases resistance to "disease." If food cures the sick, how did they become sick? If feeding increases resistance to "disease," how do the well-fed fall ill? If fasting lowers resistance, how do so many fasters recover health? If food builds strength, how do the well-fed grow weak? If fasting, per se, robs the faster of his strength, how do so many fasters grow stronger? If food is essential to recovery, how do fasting patients ever recover? Why do not all fasting patients die? Why do they have more comfortable and less protracted illnesses and shorter convalescences? Why do they recover without complications and sequels? If people who are taxed to death by excess food become sick, how will more feeding help them? Why does feeding make them worse? Why does temperature run up and discomfort grow more pronounced after eating? What are the diseases that are caused by fasting? Will somebody please give us a catalogue of them? Dr. Shew declared that abstinence does not cause disease, that even the person who dies from starvation dies from debility rather than from disease.
A patient in a sanatorium with which I was connected a few years ago was too weak to walk up the steps at the time he entered the institution. He was placed upon a fast and did not taste food of any kind for eighteen days. Before this time was up he was able to run up the steps. If food gives strength why was he so weak while eating and why did he gain strength when he ceased to eat? I had one patient who was too weak to walk up the steps at the beginning of a fast, but was forced to crawl up the steps. After a week of fasting, he was able to walk up the same steps.
Food is not nutrition. Overeating with continued wasting of the body is an every day experience of life. Reduced eating with gain in weight and health is becoming a more common experience as people learn that gluttonous indulgence is not conducive to health of body and clearness of mind. The most important element in nutrition is the living, active body that utilizes the food, and not the dead, passive food that is utilized. When the body is not in a condition to carry on the processes of nutrition, it is worse than idle waste to feed it. Such a patient should fast.
Whatever may be the source of vital energy, it is certain that no food can supply any of this energy until after it has been digested, absorbed and assimilated. It requires much vital power to digest, absorb and assimilate food, or to maintain it in a state against decomposition, hence it is worse than folly to urge food upon the patient in cases of debility of the stomach or of the whole body, or when there is no natural demand for food. For, beyond a natural call for food, there is no power to make profitable use of it.
Those who have had the least experience with fasting are the ones who offer the greatest number of objections to it. For example, Dr. J. Haskel Kritzer, makes the ridiculous statement that "in prolonged fasting, the teeth often decay--forming cavities." The fact is that in the most prolonged fasts the teeth do not decay and do not develop cavities. As it was shown in a previous chapter that fasting does not injure the teeth, it will not be necessary to devote more attention to this subject at this place.
One writer objected that there can be no such thing as a fast as the body consumes its own tissues during periods of abstinence from food, but this "objection" is not to fasting--which is to abstain from food. He contended that the "fasting" body does eat, but he forgets the meaning of the word eat.
This same objector, an advocate of much flesh eating, tells vegetarians that they cannot logically fast, for in so doing they are living on a meat diet. He goes so far as to say that the faster is on a largely fat diet and that this is the poorest possible kind of diet. This objection is based on the assumption that the faster consumes his tissues during the fast, rather than his stored food reserves. The fact is overlooked that these stored reserves are identical with the materials with which his tissues are nourished while eating. The difference is that the eater is daily replenishing his reserves, while the faster is not. Wear and waste with repair and replenishment are continuous and almost simultaneous processes in all living structures.
The inconsistency of these objections is apparent in two particulars: 1. there is the demand for plenty of flesh in the diet and the condemnation of fasting because the faster is "on an exclusive flesh diet;" and 2. there is the assertion that flesh alone can adequately supply certain needs of the body coupled with the condemnation of fasting because the "flesh diet" of the faster is inadequate. The fact is that, during even the most prolonged fast, the blood is maintained in all due richness from the storage tissues.
I have considered the colon and the enema during the fast, at the proper places, but must here disprove an unusual objection to fasting, which involves these matters. Kellogg says: "The colon has another function than that of removing food residues. A highly important and essential part of its function is the removal of the body wastes which are excreted by the liver in the bile and also extracted from the blood by the intestine itself; in other words, the colon is an excretory organ as well as a garbage disposal plant. This excretory function has been quite overlooked by the exploiters of the fasting method. They have thought only of the food residues."
Again he reveals a lamentable ignorance of the literature of fasting. It is because of this excretory function that he mentions, that the enema and other means of forcing bowel action are so much in favor. For most of those who employ fasting, forget, like Dr. Kellogg, that the colon is an excretory organ--its chief function they believe with Kellogg, is to secrete toxins into the blood.
Dr. Kritzer says: "As the bowel action is materially lessened during a fast, there is a great possibility for intestinal reabsorption, not only of accumulated fecal matter; but also of the tissue that is being used by the system as a food substitute. Hence, daily enemizing of the bowels is beneficial." He advocates Celery-King tea and Caraway seed tea as the preferred "less drastic means of emptying the bowels."
I, long ago, showed the fallacy of this notion, in my Regeneration of Life. There is no need for the enema or the drugs during a fast. The bowels will always act during a fast, if there is real and not mere theoretical need for action.
There is nothing in fasting to prevent the colon from exercising its excretory function and it does continue to carry on this function. It does not perform any "Hindu tricks" and both secrete and excrete at the same time. We need have no fear of intestinal reabsorption.
Since the first edition of this work was issued, Mr. Frederick Hoelzel, of Chicago, published a brochure on Fasting, Water and Salt, in which, though approving of fasting, he puts forth the claim that it always produces a condition of "hidden edema," a term used to designate a slight excess of salt and water in the tissues.
Hoelzel says: "I have not known of any case of fasting, even when for only five days, where some post-fasting edema was not present. I have also noted edema developing in rats after fasting or protein restriction. A 'wet diet' (with plenty of water), in my opinion, only seems to produce edema more easily in rats than a dry diet because rats eat more freely of a wet diet (made up largely of vegetables) and thus also obtain more salts, etc. There seems to be no exception to the rule that edema will develop after starvation or sufficient protein restriction in humans or rats, excepting that there naturally are expected differences in time and degree of edema production."
I have seen several cases of edema of the feet and ankles following prolonged fasting, but these are rare occurrences. However, Mr. Hoelzel discusses "hidden edema" for which there is no accurate test and of the existence of which we cannot always be sure. The "pitting test," whereby the skin on the legs over the shin-bone, is depressed by the fingers, can reveal edema only after it is no longer hidden. The intra-dermal salt solution (called the McClure-Aldrich test), which consists of injecting a little salt water into the skin and noting how long it takes for the blister to disappear, is claimed to be an improvement over the pitting test, but even this fails to reveal slight edema.
Hoelzel thinks that a more accurate and more valuable test of hidden edema than the pitting test and McClure-Aldrich test is the presence of the following symptoms: "Swollen feet and enlarged ankles; a puffy, bloated face; hypersensitiveness to drafts or to shaving; skin that cuts, chaps or bruises easily; a shiny skin, including a shiny nose; frequent colds; some types of headache; a continuous sense of fatigue and lack of ambition; mental depression; abnormal blushing and shyness; cases of obesity in which the fat is not firm; and some troubles associated with menstruation and pregnancy," or what have you?
He asks: "how many can say that they are not troubled with any of these common ailments? Or that their troubles at least are not due to some degree of salt-water retention?" Hidden edema would seem to be almost universal without fasting, while the above symptoms are removed by the fast.
Hoelzel says that "fasting is not even necessary to predispose one to the development of edema as it develops after simple protein restriction, when this has been sufficiently prolonged. Moreover table-salt is not necessary as many natural and unsalted foods (some vegetables and some types of meat) contain enough natural or mineral salts or unoxidizable crystals to produce edema after sufficient protein restriction. It is now known that carbohydrates can contribute to edema, apparently by being retained as glucose instead of being changed to glycogen."
One certainly does not get an excess of salts nor of carbohydrates while fasting, nor is an excess of water consumed if the demands of instinct, rather than of theory, are obeyed. It is the rule that the sodium-chloride-produced edema is eliminated during the fast. As the protein restriction during the fast is no greater than the restriction of other substances (except water and air) the body succeeds in establishing and maintaining a balance.
Mr. Hoelzel's experience with fasting has been extremely limited and his method is not one of which we can approve. He became a technician in gross anatomy at the College of Medicine of the University of Illinois in 1916, but carried on most of his experiments with fasting in the Department of Physiology in the University of Chicago, where he was granted the courtesy of the use of the laboratory from time to time by Prof. A. J. Carlson, to carry on his independent experimentation.
He tells of fasting fifteen days in the University of Chicago in 1917 and following this with six days of fasting during which time he took cotton fibre soaked in lemon juice to which common salt was added. He used about one-third of an ounce of salt a day. With this as "food" he gained over two pounds a day in weight, storing fifteen pounds or more of salt water in the six days of "fasting." He says: "I stopped after six days because the edema had become obvious in my legs and I was becoming sluggish generally." He recounts another gain of twelve pounds in twenty-four hours after eating two moderate sized meals which contained salt food (ham and cabbage) and a weight increase of two pounds daily after a nine days fast when only salt (10 gms. daily) was taken in addition to sufficient water to satisfy thirst.
This is not an objection to fasting, nor does it prove that fasting produces hidden edema. It is an objection to salt-using and excess water-drinking. The use of salt and salted foods and the consequent drinking of lots of fluid, water-logs the tissues of all who practice it--fasting or feeding. I know of no one (except Ghandi) who advises the use of salt while fasting. Without salt-using and excess water-drinking, no gains in weight, such as Mr. Hoelzel describes, ever take place. Excess water drinking in the absence of salt never registers more than slight temporary gains.
The rapid post-fasting gains he describes do not occur in properly fed cases. The most rapid gains I have seen have been produced by the milk diet, but here again it was a mere water-logging of the tissues from excess fluid intake. Cases fed on fruits, vegetables, and moderate quantities of proteins and carbohydrates do not present the difficulties he describes nor do their tissues fill with excess water. On the other hand, additional protein alone is not always enough to overcome malnutritional edema. It may even aggravate the condition. Simple fasting, of whatever duration, is not open to any of the objections raised by Mr. Hoelzel.
The writer has cared for marked cases of malnutritional edema and has used fasting in these cases with the most gratifying results. One such case had a fast of forty days with results that were all any one could ask for.
Every good thing can be misused and abused. Fasting is as much subject to abuse and misuse as any other thing that man uses. Just as he can and frequently does abuse diet, exercise, sunshine, sex, etc., so he can and often does abuse fasting. Indeed, fasting is often abused by those who know little about it and by those who know all about it and know it all wrong. But the abuse of a thing is no argument against its valid use. One does not cease to drink pure water when thirsty, merely because somebody was drowned in the lake.
At the risk of some repetition, permit me here to list a few things that fasting does not do.
Fasting does not cause the stomach to "shrink up"--atrophy.
Fasting does not cause the walls of the stomach to grow together--adhere.
Fasting does not cause the digestive fluids of the stomach to turn upon it and digest the stomach.
Fasting does not paralyze the bowels.
Fasting does not impoverish the blood nor produce anemia.
Fasting does not produce acidosis.
Fasting does not cause the heart to weaken nor to collapse.
Fasting does not produce malnutritional edema.
Fasting does not produce tuberculosis nor predispose to its development.
Fasting does not reduce resistance to "disease."
Fasting does not injure the teeth.
Fasting does not injure the nervous system.
Fasting does not weaken the vital powers.
Fasting does not injure any of the vital organs.
Fasting does not injure the body's glands.
Fasting does not cause abnormal psychism.
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