Few Of Those Who Complain Of Stomach Have Serious Ill
( Originally Published 1936 )
Of all the people who complain of their stomachs and their digestions, very few of them have any organic disease of that organ.
The only common disease in which there is a structural change in the stomach is ulcer. The only other organic disease of the stomach that is even fairly common is cancer, and cancer of the stomach is comparatively a rare disease—at least, infrequent.
About 10 per cent of the indigestion in the world is due to ulcer, the rest of the dyspepsias are functional. We do not mean at all when we say that an illness is functional, that these people imagine all their distress. We simply mean that in its secretion or in its movements, the stomach does not do its work smoothly, and hence produces symptoms.
There is no symptom of dyspepsia that cannot be associated with a purely functional disorder. Belching of gas, pyrosis or sour stomach, discomfort after meals, heaviness before and after meals, nausea, biliousness, may all occur without any actual structural disease of the digestive tract whatever.
People who are born with these badly functioning stomachs, or with low stomachs, are likely to make themselves worse with all kinds of faddy diets—separating the starches from the proteins, going on vegetable diets and buttermilk diets, and especially by trying to pro-mote proper evacuation with diets high in roughage. What most of them need is a smooth, non-irritating diet, such as the following:
Fruit juices, eggs, bacon, white bread, toast, butter, milk, young carrots, cooked celery, Italian squash, turnips, mushes without bran, puffed cereals, cream soups, beef, lamb, whitefish, chicken, oysters, sweetbreads, liver, potato, rice, sweet potato, asparagus tips, beets, creamed spinach.
Purees of beans, peas, lentils, lima beans or artichoke hearts; noodles, spaghetti, macaroni, sweet corn passed through a colander, tender string beans, peeled tomatoes, raw or cooked; canned or cooked pears and peaches, and bananas, preferably cooked; cottage cheese, simple puddings, custards, ice cream, gelatin, plain cake, stewed fruit, baked apple, stewed prunes.