This section is from the "Impaired Health: Its Cause And Cure" (Volume 1) book, by John H. Tilden. Also available from Amazon: Impaired health its cause and cure: A repudiation of the conventional treatment of disease
Heat is not food; yet it is one of food's most important allies.
A temperature of the body of approximately ninety-eight degrees Fahrenheit is necessary to insure digestion and assimilation. A continuous temperature of one degree less than normal will lead to physical destruction sooner than a continuous temperature of one degree above normal.
Just what causes the increased temperature in fevers is an unsolved problem; and it is doubtful whether it ever will be solved. Every case of fever will have to be settled individually; for, as in all things connected with health and disease, there are no unitary causes. Every effect depends upon multiple causes.
The nervous system presides over organic functioning. When nerve energy is below normal, the functions of secretion and excretion are impaired. As secretions are necessary to digestion and assimilation, these functions are impaired, and, excretions being imperfect, the waste products are retained and act as inhibitors of functioning.
Following this state will be cold hands and feet. People are said to have poor circulation, which, indeed, is true; but poor circulation must have an explanation, for those two words are meaningless in themselves. Poor circulation means enervation; means that nerve energy is low; means that the nerves distributed to the blood vessels fail to impart tonicity to their muscular and fibrous coats, stimulating normal contraction.
Heart and blood-vessels in health act rhythmically--contract and relax--under the influence of nerve energy; and this causes what we know as circulation of the blood.
Nerve energy is necessary to keep up the blood circulation and the normal temperature of the body indicated by warm feet and hands.
Anything that uses up nerve energy brings on enervation and, as hinted before, impairment of the functions of secretion and excretion. The lungs fail to exchange carbonic-acid gas for oxygen gas. When there is imperfect exchange of gases in the lungs, digestion is impaired; for perfect digestion requires that oxygen be brought in by the lungs.
Nerve energy and heat are generated when the oxygen in the blood of the arteries acts upon the carbon in the veins; and when, from any cause, the supply of oxygen is low, heat is not generated, and cold hands and feet follow. The remedy must be to remove the first cause of enervation. What is it? Excessive eating, drinking, enjoying, working, or what not. The feeding must be in keeping with digestive limitations, not in keeping with the bodily needs. There is little science and less sense in advising an enervated patient to eat "lots of good, nourishing food." The chasm that exists between my dietetic system and every other system that I have heard of is too great to be bridged with any possible compromise. I feed my patients in keeping with their digestive capacity, while all others endeavor to force feeding in keeping with apparent systemic needs, without respect or consideration for the patient's ability to digest and assimilate.
The foods that furnish heat are the carbohydrates. Sugar is the most rapid heat-producer, fat next, and starch next.
An oversupply of heat-producing foods, indulged in continually, will end in great enervation and whatever disease the individual has a predisposition to develop.
When sugar is eaten beyond the system's needs, it will not be acted upon. If all were used up and heat generated, life would be put out from hyperpyrexia, or overheating. The amount taken above the body's needs will go out of the body by way of the kidneys or bowels; not, however, without more or less injury to these organs of excretion. It is a mistake to believe that we may indulge ourselves beyond the system's needs, with any food or drink, with impunity. Indeed, the surplus is a tax on energy to get rid of it, and this tax divides the work of nutrition. Ideal nutrition cannot be had when its work is interfered with by the work of eliminating a lot of unnecessary material.
It should be borne in mind that the law of correlation of forces must govern in the matter of food and nutrition, the same as in dealing with natural law anywhere in the realm of knowledge and science.
Heat is being consumed when the body is in pain; when overclothed or overworked; and when mentally worried, depressed, or overjoyed.
Fever is not an indication of the generation of surplus heat. Indeed, quite the contrary is true; for the body is not generating so much as when normal. The reason for the excessive temperature is that nerve energy is impaired; elimination by the skin, lungs, and kidneys is suspended, and, as a result, the excretions are retained. One of the functions of the skin and lungs is to radiate heat. If, through food or other poisoning, the nerve energy supplied to these organs is cut off, heat is retained in the body. If the cause is infection from an injury, or pent-up decomposition in the bowels, the source of infection must be got rid of as soon as possible; then the temperature will run down. Physicians in general practice often see an increase of temperature from two or three to five and six degrees Fahrenheit following indigestion caused by overeating, and if the indiscretion is not repeated, the fever may subside in twelve to twenty-four hours.