This section is from the book "Diet And Food Considered In Relation To Strength And Power Of Endurance, Training And Athletics", by Alexander Haig. Also available from Amazon: Diet and Food, Considered in Relation to Strength and Power of Endurance, Training and Athletics.
And it is certainly a fact that, under some conditions, the stopping of bread and milk, porridge, and milky puddings, and their replacement by toast, biscuits and oatcake, eaten dry or with a little butter, the milk being taken only apart from or after them, may make all the difference between troublesome flatulent dyspepsia, distension and discomfort, and their absence.
And it is for these reasons (fear of too much fluid in the blood or too much sloppy starchy food), that it is often advisable not to take more milk than two pints in the day, especially in cold weather, and when sedentary; and also not to mix that milk with starchy foods into slops and porridges and puddings; and those who suffer from flatulent dyspepsia should carefully bear these points in mind.
There is no harm in drinking when thirsty, for thirst means that the blood is concentrated and in want of fluid, and nature will not ask for more than she wants; but there may be great harm in taking fluid by rule, or order, and apart from thirst; and it may even make all the difference between success and failure with the diet.
Too frequent food. It is a remarkable fact that those who take meat require to be fed more frequently than those who live largely on cereals, and it is due, as already mentioned, to the fact that meat is a stimulant and is quickly digested, absorbed and worked off, while cereal food is more slowly assimilated, and gives off over a series of hours a constant steady supply of albumen force and urea.
But on giving up meat the frequent feeding need not be continued, and those who attempt to continue it will be more liable to dyspepsia than those who are content with two or, at most, three meals a day.
I frequently see people who take as many as six to seven meals in the twenty-four hours, that is to say, they take three or four chief meals and two or three intermediate meals of milk, etc., between these. They learned this habit on the old diet, and they continue it on the new, under the impression that they must eat and drink a great deal to keep their strength up; but the common result of their efforts is dyspepsia and debility.
Another cause of dyspepsia with milk may undoubtedly be the preservatives mixed with it. These may have but little influence when it is only taken in small quantity in tea, and yet may produce more or less serious effects in those who take it in the larger quantities advised in the tables of this book.
I have made some experiments with borax myself, and the utmost dose I could take, even for a short time, without producing symptoms of gastrointestinal dyspepsia, was 30 grains in the day.
I should, therefore, advise those who can eliminate the other causes of dyspepsia, and yet find their dyspepsia associated with milk or other foods with which preservatives are known to be mixed, to make a special effort to obtain these foods free from such preservatives, and see whether the symptoms then subside.
In all these diets, butter and oil may be freely taken with cereals and vegetables; they are merely left out of the Tables because they contain no albumen or nitrogen, but these and the starches are very amply provided for in the diets.
It is, I think, common experience that butter and oil can be much more freely taken on a meat-free diet than on one containing flesh, and it is at least probable that the evil influence of uric acid in the blood, hindering, as it does, circulation, digestion, metabolism and combustion, has something to do with this; and certainly the digestive, hepatic, and other disturbances that accompany bilious attacks and sick headaches are due to the circulation effects of uric acid.
Though the action of these substances in the production of force is probably indirect, and for the most part unimportant, they are amply provided for in the diets, and the assimilation and metabolism of fat is distinctly facilitated when it forms part of a uric acid-free diet.
I may note in passing that the diet of milk, cheese, potatoes and fruit, is that which of all others seemed to best keep the urine clear and free from deposits of urates or red sand, and this was no doubt due to the amount of alkali in the potatoes and of similar salts in the fruit, as well as to the absence from milk and cheese of salts such as those contained in meat and cereals, which tend to raise the acidity of the urine.
Thus I have pointed out in "Uric Acid" that the ratio of the acid excreted in the urine to the urea excreted at the same time is, on a diet containing some fish and eggs, 1-6.3, i.e., 1 grain of acid to 6.3 grains of urea. While on a diet such as that in Tables I. and II. it is 1-7, or between 1-7 and 1-8, and on a diet such as that in Table III. it tends to be about 1-9, or between 1-9 and 1-10, and with this the urine is generally quite clear.
It will be understood from what I have said in "Uric Acid" that this is not so much a matter of the quantity of uric acid excreted, as of its solubility in the urine after excretion: though no doubt both are affected by acidity, and a deposit of red sand in the urine is the index of deficient rather than (as is so commonly supposed) of excessive excretion from the body.
But it may be of some interest to those, who are worried about such deposits in the urine of their patients, to know that by such a diet as the above, which diminishes the relative acidity of the urine, they can be prevented. Those also who are very sedentary should be careful, especially in cold weather, to take no more albumens than are really required for strength and nutrition, as acidity rises with urea, and under these conditions it may suffice for a time if body weight is multiplied by 8 in place of 9. With reference to the relatively high acidity of the urine with the diets in Tables I. and II., I think that some part of this must be credited to the bread and cereal foods which are well represented in these Tables, but are completely absent in Table III.; and if we look at the analysis of a cereal, such as barley, we find that it appears to contain a considerable excess of acids.