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.
Tilden says: "All acute disease could be prevented if anticipated by a fast of sufficient duration to lower the accumulated toxins below the toleration point. An anticipatory fast establishes a dependable immunization to any so-called disease. If started too late, it will eliminate or render very mild the worst types of epidemics. If this were generally known and acted upon by towns and cities in ordering the people to fast for a few days, and to follow the fast by light eating, epidemics would be shorn of their virulence, and in time rendered impotent or prevented entirely. Only the vulnerable--those pronouncedly toxemic--are attacked (?) by epidemics."
Fasting does not remove the cause of "disease"--toxemia. It merely allows the body to do its work of elimination more efficiently by not putting any hindrances in the way. Fasting does not stop the processes commonly called "disease"--nor does it shorten their duration feeding and treatment do often suppress these processes, always impede them, and almost always lengthen their duration. The lengths of time the courses of self-limited "diseases" are said to run are times they run under the feeding and treating plans. Under fasting and resting they never run so long.
Nature indicates in the strongest possible manner her desire to fast in acute "disease". In proportion to its severity, so-called "disease" means a loss of digestive conditions and digestive power. Anorexia, nausea, vomiting and the absence of all relish for food should convince anyone, who is not a convert to the doctrine of "total depravity," that no food should be given. Due to our distrust of our natural instincts, we all too often disregard the patent demands of Nature and eat in spite of the closed-for-repairs sign she has hung out--an action invariably pursued by Nature.
If fasting were instituted at the first sign of trouble, few acute diseases would ever become very severe and many of them would be so mild as to lead to the thought that the patients would not have been very sick anyway. Unfortunately, it is the custom to continue eating when symptoms appear. As Dr. Page ably put it, Natural Cure, p. 146: "Nearly all patients continue eating regularly, until food becomes actually disagreeable, even loathsome, often; and after this every effort is exhausted to produce some toothsome compound to 'tempt the appetite.' Furthermore, and often worst of all, after the entire failure of this program, the patient can, and usually does, take to gruel or some sort of 'extract' which he can drink by holding his breath. All this tends to aggravate the acute symptoms, and to fasten the disease in a chronic form upon the rheumatic patient, or to insure rheumatic fever; and the same principle holds in nearly all acute disorders, it is well to remember."
Dr. Chas. E. Page says: "There is neither pleasure nor nourishment in forced feeding--only pain, poisoning and starving. The fasting cure universally and rationally applied, would save thousands of lives every year. For example, there would be practically no 'typhoid fever,' as all fevers would be aborted in a few days of stomach rest; and never a death or prolonged illness from whooping-cough, which is always a stomach cough from inflammation of that organ. In my busy practice of forty years, no fever has developed into 'typhoid'; nor has there been any whooping beyond a few days, and never a death."