This section is from the book "The Hygienic System: Fasting And Sun Bathing", by Herbert M. Shelton. Also available from Amazon: The Hygienic System Vol III Fasting and Sun Bathing.
Carrington referred to these symptoms as "habit hunger," Dewey as "hunger of disease," Oswald as "poison hunger." As they do not represent hunger at all, I see no reason to describe such sensations as hunger of any kind. As they are always abnormal, just as much so as are the alleged cravings of the morphine addict for his customary narcotic, and are most marked in those individuals whose stomach has been habitually subjected to the excitement and irritation occasioned by condiments, spices, etc., they should be recognized for what they are--symptoms of disease. The stomach, suddenly deprived of its regular occasions for excitement, by the fast, manifests the same signs of distress as do the nerves of the tobacco addict when these are deprived of their accustomed narcotic.
It is true that eating will allay these sensations, just as a shot of morphine will "relieve" the morphine addict, and there is just as much sense in taking food in the first instance as there is in taking the morphine in the last. Page says: "The fact that the meal affords immediate relief argues nothing against this position; it is the seventy-five or eighty per cent of water taken with the meal that relieves the digestion. It forms a poultice, so to say, for the congested mucous membrane of the stomach; but, unfortunately, it cannot, as when applied externally upon a throbbing sore thumb, for example, be removed when it becomes dry."--The Natural Cure, p. 202.
Why should morbid appetites be indulged? Is there any more reason for indulging a morbid appetite for food than there is for indulging a morbid appetite for clay or filth? If we refuse to indulge the morbid "craving" for glass, stones, bullets, pins, earth, etc., why shall we not restrain the morbid appetite for bread, beef, candy, fruits, etc.? In many of these cases several large meals a day are eaten and still the possessors of such appetites are not satisfied.
Dr. Susanah W. Dodds says: "The sense of all-goneness in these cases is not from a lack of nutrient material, but owing to the absence of the habitual stimulus."--The Diet Question, p. 87. Dr. Dodds had an extensive experience with fasting and her own observations are worthy of candid consideration. Why have physiologists persistently refused to consider the observations of those who are in the best position to make observations upon the sensation of hunger?
Dr. Cannon is wrong again in asserting that the hungry person gulps his food, or that he seeks for quantity rather than quality. Evidently he carried out his researches on a group of neurotics, dyspeptics and food drunkards. He never permitted any of them to go without food long enough for full adjustment to follow. The hungry person, at the completion of a long fast, commonly finds that a half a glass of fruit juice is all that he wants. If he is given this quantity of juice every hour during the day, he may find that by about four o'clock in the afternoon, he has had all the food he desires. He is content to wait until the next day to take more. Dr. Oswald wrote: "Only natural (normal) appetites have natural (normal) limits," and nowhere is this more true than in the truly hungry person.
Think of thirst. Is it pain? Is it a headache? Is it irritability? Is it faintness? Is it drowsiness? Is it any of the sensations described by Prof. Cannon as belonging to hunger? It is none of these things. Thirst is felt in the mouth and throat and there is a distinct and conscious desire for water. One does not mistake headache for thirst. The sensation of thirst is too well-known.
Genuine hunger, too, is felt in the mouth and throat. In real hunger there is a distinct and conscious desire for food. The condition is one of comfort, not of discomfort and suffering. There is a "watering" of the mouth (flow of saliva) and often a distinct desire for a particular food. Hunger is a localized sensation and is not in the stomach. The healthy person is not conscious of any sensations in or about the stomach when hungry.
As everyone who has had an extensive experience with fasting knows, true hunger is felt in the mouth and throat and is related to the senses of taste and smell. It is indicated by a watering of the mouth for plain food--even for a crust of dry bread. As almost everybody knows from personal experience the gnawing sensation or other sensation that is commonly thought of as hunger usually comes on at meal time, or when the stomach is empty, and subsides after an hour or two, if no food is taken. As we see in thousands of cases of fasting, these morbid sensations subside and completely cease after two or three days of fasting, not to recur after the fast is broken.
For over a hundred years Shew, Graham, Trall, Page, Dewey, Oswald, Haskell, Macfadden, Carrington, Eales, Tilden, Weger, Claunch, Shelton and hundreds of others, who have had extensive experience with fasting, have been calling attention to the fact that hunger is a mouth and throat sensation rather than a stomach sensation, but the professional physiologists have persisted in ignoring their work and their testimony and have accepted popular superstitions about the sensation of hunger and have "confirmed" these by limited experiments on sick men and women. Cannon, Pavlov, Carlson, etc., have all based their conclusions on inadequate data and on experiments that are too short to be conclusive.
Certainly if one is ever hungry, he is so at the conclusion of a long fast. Fasting experts insist that hunger is invariably manifested at the conclusion of a long fast, like thirst, in the mouth and throat. We employ this fact as a complete and satisfactory test of the sensations observed during a fast--it reveals whether it is true hunger or morbid sensations. Never under any circumstances following a fast, is hunger felt in the stomach. Always it is manifested in the mouth and throat and always there is an entire absence of distress or of morbid sensations associated with the stomach.
As most men and women, including scientists, declare that hunger is always felt in the stomach, therefore, the "stomach hunger" must be normal, it has been argued that to take the view that normal hunger is manifested in the mouth and throat, we must be prepared to take the position that most men and women have never experienced normal hunger since infancy. This is precisely what we contend. Mr. Carrington says: "most persons have never experienced normal hunger in all their lives! Their appetite and taste are perverted by overfeeding in infancy, and have never had a chance to become normal during the whole course of their lives--owing to the overfeeding being continued ever since." Dewey pointed out that with many people the "evil work" of inducing disease began with the very first meal which was forced upon them by the mother or nurse before they were ready for it. As the forcing process was continued, he says "in due time trouble began," and, thereafter, every outcry of nature was interpreted as a signal of hunger." He says that the meals of the infant "all through the first year of life are regulated by the tunes of crying." Happily, the so-frequent feeding of infants is not as common today as when Dr. Dewey wrote these lines, but it is still all too true that gastric impairment and gastric distress are built in infancy by wrong feeding.