Dietetics is singularly subject to all sorts of fads and foibles. Many of them have some basis in experience but fail because they represent generalizations assumed to be universally applicable, whereas they are supported only by reference to circumscribed conditions. Others are merely the expression of enthusiastic expectations fostered by clever propaganda. Perhaps the greatest dietetic errors rest on the implicit assumption of many untutored persons that all alimentary tracts are essentially alike. Accordingly, if the dictum that "constipation is a national ill" meets with popular acclaim there is real danger that hundreds of delicate intestinal canals deserving the mildest of treatment will be insulted by a bombardment of roughage or laxative pills.
In the promotion of intestinal potency the occasional need of the bland diet is in danger of being overlooked. Hosoi, Alvarez and Mann1 of the Mayo Clinic have recently remarked that there are many occasions when