Although most nations which aspire to civilization, have adopted the custom of taking meals at certain hours of the day, and especially the dinner, yet such practice does not appear to be consonant with just principles of the animal economy, or with a critical regard to health. In the present artificial state of society, however, it would probably be attended with many inconveniencies, to infringe upon the established order; and to resort to the table, only when we are induced to take food, in consequence of the cravings of a natural appetite. But those who are in any degree acquainted with the structure of the digestive organs, will readily agree with us, that the activity of the stomach, in healthy individuals, is never totally suspended, either during profound sleep, or the most intense application to study. And as the whole process of digestion and assimilation is, according to the most attentive observers, performed in about four hours, it the stomach has not been unnaturally distended by superfluous food, it follows, that it is contrary to the order of Nature, to swallow a larger quantity of provisions, at one meal, than we are able to digest during that time.
On the other hand, it will be objected that the plan of a more regular division of meals could not, without difficulty, be adopted by those who have been insensibly accustomed to take such portions o food as serve them for the support of the whole, or greater part of the day. This frivolous argument, however, will not influence the determination of judicious persons, who value their health, and abhor gluttony. Hence we venture to recommend to those who are disposed to habits of temperance and frugality, but especially to the invalid and convalescent, instead of eating one hearty dinner in twenty-four hours, to divide the whole into three or four moderate meals, to be taken at intervals of four or five hours : - this arrangement will be more consistent with the rules of Nature and of Reason.