Until recently consideration of dietary problems in relation to surgical patients has been of relatively small importance. Quantitative rather than qualitative problems were of chief concern. When to give food to patients after gastric operations or peritonitis was the type of nutritional problem that interested the surgeon. A real knowledge of dietetics was not needed to solve such problems, if they were solved. Actually, true quantitative thinking concerning the problem was seldom if ever done. Measurements were not used, but expressions such as "give the patient a 'light' soft solid diet." Medical consultants were asked for advice when any problems more complicated than these appeared.
Recently, however, nutrition has been found so important in the recovery of patients with various "surgical" diseases that the surgeon himself has been forced to pay more and more attention to the diets and dietary supplements, such as vitamins, that are given his patients. This
THE TEACHING OF NUTRITION—IV. JAMA. 1947;134(3):292–293. doi:10.1001/jama.1947.02880200074013