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November 14, 1977

Abuse of the Supplemented Fast

JAMA. 1977;238(20):2179. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280210071032

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The marketing of "protein supplements" for weight reduction without prescription or provision for medical care is a source of concern to physicians who believe strongly in the value of supplemented fasting for treatment of morbid obesity. Those of us who are involved in the management of supplemented fasting programs and who are aware of their problems as well as their benefits are especially distressed by this increasing abuse of a medical treatment.

It was not until 1971, after considerable laboratory and clinical investigation, that we felt qualified to offer supplemented fasting to patients in need of immediate weight reduction (those at least 22.5 kg overweight). Recognizing the slowness and inefficacy of most reducing regimens and the hazardous effects of total fasting, we designed what has proved to be a comfortable, safe method of rapid weight loss for use by a selected patient population. Unfortunately, as with other weight-reduction techniques, the