First Critical Examination at Cambridge University, England - My Endurance Test at Yale University in America

One result of this powerful interest was a test of our theories made at Cambridge University, England, organised by Sir Michael Foster, who was then Professor of Physiology at the University, and conducted by Professor Francis Gowland Hopkins. The test was successful, proving our most optimistic claims, and the report of it was published.

The scientific world now began to turn its attention to my discoveries. Doctor Henry Pickering Bowditch, of Harvard Medical School, the dean of American physiologists, put the full weight of his respected influence into the work to secure for America the honour of completing the investigation; but it was not until the experiments at Yale University, in New Haven, that the first wide publicity was accorded. The story of this and subsequent experiments and their results is this: Professor Russell H. Chittenden was at the time President of the American Physiological Association, Director of the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University, and the recognised leading physiological chemist of America. He invited me to the annual meeting of the Physiological Association at Washington, where I described the results in economy and efficiency, and especially in getting rid of fatigue of brain and muscle, obtained up to that time. But evidently to little purpose, as Professor Chittenden revealed to me at the close of the meeting. He said, in effect:

"Fletcher, all the men you have met at our meeting like you immensely, personally; but no one takes much stock in your claims, even with the endorsement of the Cambridge men; the test there was insufficient to be conclusive. If, however, you will come to New Haven and let us put you through an examination, our report will be accepted here. You will be either justified or disillusioned; and - I want to be frank with you - I think you will be disillusioned."

TestingEndurance by means of the Kellogg Mercurial Dynamometer

The Author Testing his Endurance by means of the Kellogg Mercurial Dynamometer. Dr. Anderson, Director of the Yale Gymnasium, in the background.

My Examination

by Dr. Chittenden showed a daily average of 44.9 grams of proteid, 38.0 grams of fat, and 253 grams of carbohydrates, with a total average calory value of 1,606 {compare this with the Voit Diet Standard, page 109), and careful and thorough tests made at the Yale Gymnasium proved that, in spite of this relatively low ration, I was in prime physical condition.

Previously, as before stated, in the autumn of 1901, Dr. Van Someren had accompanied me to Cambridge for the purpose of having our claims closely investigated, with the assistance of physiological experts. The Cambridge and the Venice findings were fully confirmed at New Haven, and striking physical evidence was added by Doctor William Gilbert Anderson's examinations of me in the Yale Gymnasium. This latter test, described on page 24, was more practically important as an eye-opener to both doctors and laymen than were the laboratory reports. I personally showed endurance and strength in special tests superior to the foremost among the College athletes. This was without training and with comparatively small muscle; the superiority of the muscle lying in the quality and not in the amount of it.

Professor Chittenden then became intensely interested in the matter, as did also Professor Mendel; and the former suggested organising an experiment on a sufficiently large scale to prove universality of application or the reverse.

He volunteered his services and the use of his laboratory facilities.

At this time, too, I became acquainted with General Leonard Wood * and Surgeon-General O'Reilly, of the United States Army. I found both open to my evidence; and, in the case of General Wood, I learned that it was confirmed by his own experience while chasing Indians in the Western wilds. Through them President Roosevelt and Secretary Root became interested, and carte blanche was given General O'Reilly to use the War Department facilities, including the soldiers of the Hospital Corps, for assistance in the proposed experiment.+

One of the revelations of our experiments worthy of mention here was that is carefully practised when food is again given to the body. Nature prescribes accurately what is to be eaten (often the most unexpected sort of food); and if the food selected by appetite is carefully masticated, sipped, or whatever other treatment is necessary to get the good taste out of it, and the mental state at the same time is clear of fear-thought or worry of any kind, the just amount that the body can use at the moment is prescribed by appetite, and the restoration to normal weight is accomplished with epicurean delight, well worth a spell of deprivation.

* Now Chief of Staff.

+ The full report of this famous experiment may be found in Professor Chittenden's book Physiological Economy in Nutrition; but such small mention of indebtedness to Fletcherism was made, that Professor Irving Fisher, in the interest of practical occasional long abstinence from food, say two or three weeks, with water freely available, is comparatively harmless, if "Fletcherizing"

Political Economy, organised a supplemental experiment, more normal than the first, to test the economic effects of Fletcherism, pure and simple.

A brief account of this investigation is given on page 98.

Professor Chittenden made amends, later on, by-composing a physiological prose poem on the benefits and delights resulting from careful chewing and tasting of nutriment, which I quote in full in Chapter VII (Chittenden On Careful Chewing A Physiological Prose Poem).