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October 23, 1915


JAMA. 1915;LXV(17):1462. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02580170050014

The essence of the successful method for reducing weight in those suffering from obesity lies in keeping the intake of energy below that of the output. Theoretically, complete fasting constitutes the most prompt method of accomplishing the end sought. It is a well-recognized fact, however, that starvation prolonged over a period of more than a few days, either voluntarily or as an incident of disease, may lead to unpleasant symptoms. Headache, nausea and dizziness portend the existence of conditions that are not exactly normal, and frequently they can be made to disappear promptly by the ingestion of even a little food. Most modern "treatments" for obesity, therefore, consist in underfeeding rather than complete fasting, particular care being directed to conserving the protein of the body so that the reduction in weight shall represent essentially a loss of body fat oxidized to furnish energy to the underfed individual.

In the course