A standard medical author thus describes the stomach in acute gastritis: "The gastric mucous membrane of such a stomach is red and swollen, it secretes little gastric juice, and this contains very little acid but much mucus. The patient has uncomfortable feelings in his abdomen, with headache, lassitude, some nausea, often vomiting. The vomiting relieves him considerably, for it removes the irritating substance. The tongue is coated, and the flow of saliva is increased. If this decomposing, fermenting, irritating mass is not vomited, but reaches the bowel, colic and diarrhea are the result. As a rule the patient is well in about one day, although he may not have much appetite for the next two or three days."

With the stomach in this condition, with appetite lacking, and with no digestive juice secreted, eating would be worse than folly. It would seem criminal to add more food to the "decomposing, fermenting, irritating mass" in the stomach. Fasting in such a condition is the only rational procedure. Yet in typhoid fever, with the stomach in an even worse condition, with the intestines in a much worse state and with temperature high, most medical men insist upon heavy feeding; a high calorie diet being generally recommended and employed.

Not in acute gastritis and typhoid only, but in cholera and other intestinal ills, it is the custom to insist upon plenty of good nourishing food. Indeed, food is literally forced upon the sick. Part of the recognized formula of nursing invalids is to tickle their palates with food dainties. Food is urged upon their unwilling stomach in spite of strong protests.