The human figure was intended to possess beauty of outline and to be endowed with grace of motion. Each individual undoubtedly has a weight which is for him most becoming. This is also his best weight from the standpoint of health. There is no reason for thinking an increase or a decrease in any way desirable. Not every one can be a Venus or Apollo, but each should approach as nearly to that point as is possible for one of his or her ancestry.
The accumulation of an undue amount of flesh leads just so far from the ideal in form. It also starts a predisposition, unfavorable from an aesthetic standpoint, for succeeding generations.
In any portion of the body, departure from the ideal contour may be traced to a cause, often remediable. Irregularities of nose, mouth, and teeth are due to adenoids.
Extreme enlargement of the bones of chin, hands, and feet are due to overactivity of a little gland in the brain. This symptom complex indicates a disease dignified by the name Acromegaly.
A form of obesity accompanied by thickness of speech, lips, and cheeks, roughness of skin, and falling of hair around the edges, is due to lessened secretion of the thyroid gland. These are the symptoms of Myxoedema.
The accumulation of excess weight from over eating is always at the expense of ideal proportions. It produces a clogging of the tissues under the skin with material intended for reserve, but which really becomes an obstruction to ordinary dermal activity and a burden to the heart and other organs of the body. It is an unnecessary tax upon the human machine, maintained at extra expense, transported from place to place with great effort and at all times an encumbrance. It is only tolerated by the individual through a failure to appreciate actual possibilities, or a lack of the will power and self-control necessary to bring about a desirable result when attended by slight personal inconvenience.
The accumulation of fat is an outward manifestation associated with certain undesirable processes occurring within the body. These are an accumulation within the blood current of poisonous substances (uric acid and protein by-products), kidney disease from a form of slow poisoning, arterio-sclerosis, fatty deposits about the heart, neuritis, and numerous other ailments.
It seems impossible to me that man should much longer fail to appreciate the value of dietetic standards. I cannot believe that he will fail to see the reasonableness of the proposition that too much or too little food is harmful; that when infectious diseases have been controlled, the next step in the search after longevity, as well as after health in middle life, is to suit the diet with scientific accuracy to the individual needs.
Many forces are now at work which tend to educate humanity in the knowledge of proper methods of eating. I hope that this short book will meet with a sufficient reception to entitle it to a place among those influences which are to bring about such a reform.
I am confident that, with sufficient driving home of the truths of dietetics, mankind will be constrained to eat according to the requirements of life, rather than to use eating as their chief form of amusement.
I can therefore prophesy an age in which humanity will approach the ideal in health, strength, comeliness, and grace, and will attain a reasonable length of life.