This section is from the book "Practical Dietetics With Special Reference To Diet In Disease", by William Gilman Thompson. Also available from Amazon: Practical Dietetics with Special Reference to Diet in Disease.
1. All directions should be made specific, and in writing.
2. The patient's previous experience with the foods recommended should be investigated. Often a supposed difficulty in digestion is due to errors in cooking or in the combination with other foods.
3. The patient should understand that no one food is curative, and in recommending any dietary, however limited, regard should be had, as far as possible, to the patient's taste and to stimulation of the appetite by acceptable flavours.
4. In some cases it is preferable to have the patient submit his own diet list for correction.
5. In some cases it is the quantity of a food which requires reduction rather than its total proscription.
6. The relation of proper intervals of rest, exercise, and work to meals should be as definitely prescribed for those who are not bedridden as the diet.
7. The daily quantity of fluid ingested may be as important a consideration as the regulation of food.
8. It is undesirable to prescribe any strict dietary for too long a period, or for an indefinite period, otherwise failure of appetite, inanition, anaemia, and weakness may ensue. If a strict diet is beneficial, it will become so within a few days, or, at the most, within from three to six weeks. The question of its continuance or modification should then be reviewed, for in some cases positive harm may result without such revision.
9. In some few cases radical changes in diet should be made gradually at the outset, but in the majority of cases immediate change does no harm, and produces more prompt results. On the other hand, a return to the normal diet should be made by slow gradation.
10. It is most undesirable to base any dietary upon too rigid formulae or preconceived " systems." Normal idiosyncrasies in regard to digestion and assimilation are numerous, but morbid idiosyncrasies in disease are far more so; hence, each important case should be made the subject of independent study and frequent careful observation of the excreta should be made.
11. In cases requiring protracted dieting the use of the scales in determining the body weight is most important.