Arnold Ehret (July 29, 1866-October 10, 1922) was a German naturopath and alternative health educator, best known for developing the Mucusless Diet Healing System. Ehret authored books and articles on dieting, detoxification, fruitarianism, fasting, food combining, health, longevity, naturopathy, physical culture and vitalism.
In opposition to medical science that asserts white blood cells are important components of the immune system, Ehret believed that white blood cells were caused by consuming mucus-forming foods, and as waste materials, poison the blood. His ideas about diet and disease have no scientific basis and have been criticized by medical experts as dangerous.
Ehret claimed that pus and mucus-forming foods were the cause of human disease, schleimlose (slime-free) foods were the key to human health and fasting (simply eating less) is Nature’s omnipotent method of cleansing the body from the effects of wrong and too much eating.
In 1907, Ehret who was based in Freiburg, visited Monte Verità, a nature life colony in Ascona, near Lake Maggiore, whose visitors included Lenin and Trotsky. After collaborating with Henri Oedenkoven who owned a sanitarium at Monte Verità, Ehret opened one sanitarium in Ascona, Switzerland and another in nearby Lugano (Massagno), writing one of his books in Locarno. Around 1909, Ehret engaged in a series of public lectures and fasts monitored by German and Swiss officials. In 1909, he claimed he fasted for 105 days in total. In 1910, he wrote an article for a German vegetarian magazine about his 49-day fasting experience, which gained the public’s interest, and which later appeared in his book Lebensfragen (Life Questions).
For 65 years, Fred and Lucille Hirsch published Ehret’s literature and the torch symbol found on Ehret’s books became the logo of the Ehret Health Club. In 1979, the Ehret Literature Publishing Company Inc, in New York, inherited Ehret’s publications and archive of unpublished German manuscripts.
Having denounced the nitrogenous-albumin metabolic theory in 1909, Ehret learned of a contemporary, Thomas Powell M.D., in 1912, who concurred with his belief that grape sugar (simple sugars in fruits and vegetables) was the optimum fuel source, body building material and agent of vital energy, for humans, not protein rich foods. Powell had set out his beliefs in the book Fundamentals and Requirements of Health and Disease, published in 1909. Ehret claimed alkaline foods, which were also mucusless, formed the natural diet of humans.
Ehret asserted that the body was an air-gas engine, not dependent on food for energy, and that the body was not designed to utilize mucus-forming foods, offering the equation Vitality = Power − Obstruction (V = P − O) to demonstrate this. Ehret also claimed the lungs were the pump in the body while the heart acted as a valve, with the blood controlling the heart. Ehret further believed that white blood cells were the result of ingesting mucus-forming foods.
Ehret maintained new tissue was built primarily from simple sugars in fruits, not metabolised from protein and fat-rich foods. Ehret only favored nuts and seeds during transition to the ideal fruit diet, and even then, only sparingly, condemning high-protein and fat-rich foods, as unnatural; further writing that no animals eat fats and all fats are acid forming, even those of vegetable origin, and are not used by the body Later editions of his Mucusless Diet Healing System published by Fred S. Hirsch, claimed nuts were mucus-free. Ehret specifically renounced meat, eggs, milk, fats, cereals, legumes, potatoes and rice, whilst recognizing the transitional value in some of these.Ehret, citing Ragnar Berg, stated that fats and proteins were acid-forming and were to be consumed in moderation, as did Ehret’s contemporary Otto Carque.