The Medical Messiahs:
A Social History of Health Quackery
in Twentieth-Century America

Chapter 16: "You Are What You Eat"

James Harvey Young, PhD

"After studying the eating habits of the American people for a number of years, I found thirty distinct Disease Conditions: vitamin-deficient, mineral-starved, cooked food-enervated, sun-cheated, clothes-insulated, coffee-soaked, spice-irritated, tobacco-poisoned, constipation-befouled, oxygen-deprived, sugar-acidified, meat-polluted, starch-clogged, salt-ified, mustard-plastered, pepperized, jelly-bowled, pop-bloated, vinegar-jagged, chocolate-coated, mashed and creamed, toasted and roasted, ice-cubed, tea-tannined, sauce-jaded, night-hawks, morning-deadheads, heat-treated, sex-depleted, and gravy-saturated. That's the average human being today."

—Adolphus Hohensee, Lecture In Denver, 1952 [1]

"HADACOL was a very, very meritorious product," insisted its inventor, Dudley J. LeBlanc, in talking with a reporter a decade after the B-vitamin tonic boom had collapsed. "Who is to say that those people weren't helped for those ailments? The doctors? Who can believe them? No, my friend, there's still much that's not known about nutrition." [2]

About one thing, at least, LeBlanc was right. Nutrition, as a science, was as yet incomplete. Because of what was not yet known and the complexity of what was known, nutrition, during the 20th century, has provided a happy hunting ground for those who would beguile the American public into buying their questionable wares.

"In 1900," one of the nutrition pioneers has written, "we were almost blind to the relations of food to health." Six years later, the year the first Pure Food and Drugs Act became law, a research scientist spoke of protein, carbohydrates, and fats as "still the nutritional trinity." In that same year, however, a number of significant papers were published proving the trinity by no means adequate. Other food factors, as yet not clearly recognized, must be included in the diet if good health was to be maintained. A growing wave of research by food chemists confirmed this view, and a decade later pathologists, hitherto preoccupied with the aftermath of the germ theory, joined forces with the chemists in nutritional research. In 1911. a Polish chemist, Casimir Funk, working at the Lister Institute in London, coined the word "vitamine" for these needed food factors. The next year Funk published a paper suggesting the theory that various diseases—beriberi, scurvy, pellagra, rickets—resulted from the lack of vitamins in the diet. Empirical observations in the past had pointed in this direction. Now controlled research began to establish such surmises as demonstrated fact. At the University of Wisconsin in 1913 Elmer McCollum identified the need in animal diets for a fat-soluble nutrient which, adopting Funk's nomenclature, he christened Vitamin A. By 1926 two components in vitamin B, as well as vitamins C, D, and E, had also been found as necessary to health. During the 1930's, while Congress struggled to enact a stronger food and drug law, scientists in their laboratories identified the chemical structures of the vitamins and, in some cases, created them by synthesis. Nor were vitamins the only indispensable nutrients. Research confirmed or discovered the need for amino acids and minerals, even though in the most minute amounts. Successive scientific studies revealed the ever greater complexity of nutrition. Nonetheless, in McCollum's view, 1940 marked a plateau, the successful achievement of the primary goals of nutritional science, to discover what chemical substances were required for an adequate diet in domestic animals and man. More than 40 such nutrients had, by then, been proved necessary [3].

Since the days of the pyramids, food and health had been inextricably intertwined in folklore, and food faddism ran rampant in 19th-century America. Relics of ancient myths, indeed, still cherished in the popular mind, made the task of 20th-century nutritional proprietors much easier. Commercial exploitation of food folklore began at least as early as the origin of the packaged cereal industry. Religion, health, and business enterprise converged in Battle Creek. Corn Flakes began as Elijah's Manna, and one of the early therapeutic uses suggested for Grape Nuts was as a preventive for appendicitis [4].

Popular interest in the nascent nutritional revolution, coupled with popular concern about food shortages during World War I, opened the way for an upsurge of food promotion with health overtones. Since advertising techniques had just reached the stage to make the most of such an opportunity, Americans, during the prosperity decade, were constantly besought to buy physical well-being and to banish ailments by eating cheese, bread, and cereals, by imbibing milk and carbonated drinks. Yeast and chocolate bars vaunted their vitamin content. Vitamin pills, like Mastin's Vitamon Tablets—"Give You That Firm Flesh Pep"—received a big play. And cod liver oil, long a staple in the proprietary field, enjoyed a new vogue with the discovery that it was a source of vitamin D. So-called extracts of this oil were promoted with claims that the vitamin value was retained while the fishy taste was banished [5].

The Food and Drug Administration discovered otherwise. Beginning to assay these products in 1926, the agency found therapeutic claims exaggerated and vitamin content low or missing. Combining persuasion with legal action, the FDA succeeded in eliminating from the labeling of many "extracts" any reference to cod liver oil. Moreover, the whole broad front of "health foods" increasingly troubled the agency. In 1929, through a press release, Walter Campbell issued a warning to the American people. "The use of the word ['health']," Campbell said, "implies that these products have health-giving or curative properties, when, in general, they merely possess some of the nutritive qualities to be expected in any wholesome food product. The label claims on these products are such that the consumer is led to believe that our ordinary diet is sorely deficient in such vital substances as vitamins and minerals, and that these so-called 'health foods' are absolutely necessary to conserve life and health." Such misrepresentation, Campbell promised, the FDA would "combat." [6]

The next year Campbell's aide, Paul Dunbar, speaking before trade associations of canners and wholesale grocers, scolded the sinners in their ranks. Nutrition news, he said, had "appealed immensely to the popular fancy. . . . In its ignorance of the present limitations of scientific knowledge it has been disposed to accept without reservation the most extreme, and in some cases ridiculous claims for the wholesomeness and health-giving qualities of various products. Unfortunately, a certain element of the advertising profession proceeds upon the theory that a market may be obtained for almost any product if its imaginary virtues are exploited in impressive scientific terms, and unfortunately this theory appears to be correct. A glowing statement to the effect that Jones' carrot bread or Smith's turnip breakfast food contains all the known vitamins, will restore the elasticity of youth to the bones and muscles of the aged, and will ward off all known diseases is likely to be seized upon with avidity, especially by those who are in need of the very rejuvenating effects they are promised by the enthusiastic advertiser. The magic words 'health giving' are today the most overworked and loosely applied in the advertising lexicon." [7]

"Do you want the consuming public to get the idea," Dunbar asked the processors, "that they should turn to this particular delicacy only when in unsound physical condition? Don't you want your product to appeal to the well rather than to the invalid class?"

The Food and Drug Administration began taking actions in a modest way against unwarranted nutritional claims. Breakfast food factories across the country were inspected for labels of doubtful propriety. A small unit was created, which in 1935 became the Division of Vitamins, to study the some 400 products—foods and drugs—being promoted with general or specific claims of vitamin efficiency. In Chicago, 23,365 packages of Congoin were seized—the product was really yerba maté, the Latin American "tea." "Absolutely alone," Congoin's advertising had promised, "it will support life for weeks on end." Cases were won against a new and growing type of racket, the multi-vitamin cure-all. The product might be, like Catalyn, milk sugar, wheat starch and bran, and epinephrine, but its label boasted ­ falsely—potency in all vitamins from A through G, and promised to cure high and low blood pressure, Bright's disease, dropsy, and goiter [8].

If FDA activity might induce caution in the multi-vitamin promoter, other trends in the 1930's spurred him on. While scientists insisted that all needed nutrients could be secured through a varied and well-balanced diet, careful surveys of depression America revealed that one-third of the nation's families consumed a diet that had to be regarded as poor [9]. Widespread publicity given to such surveys worried even the well fed, and the grimmest quotations torn from the context of such scientific reports appeared promptly—and remained for years—in the pamphlets penned by purveyors of nutrition nonsense.

As the second World War loomed, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council appointed a Food and Nutrition Board to develop a table of "Recommended Daily Allowances for Specific Nutrients." In 1941 the first list was issued, indicating the number of calories and the quantities of nine nutrients needed for good nutrition by most persons with higher than average requirements. The Board recognized that people sick or suffering from malnutrition might need more. They acknowledged that 11 other nutrients were essential for health, but, because of inadequate data or because deficiencies were not likely to occur, desirable quantities of these could not be specified. The Board recommended, in view of diet inadequacies discovered in the surveys, that some foods be "enriched" with vitamins that had by then been synthesized by chemists. This concept was not entirely new. Iodine had been added to salt as early as 1924 to help prevent the development of goiter. Vitamin D had later been added to milk and vitamin A to margarine. The Food and Nutrition Board proposed enriching bread and other grain products with several vitamins and iron. So as the war came, with the hazard of new food shortages, the staple diet of Americans was more adequate in nutrients than it had ever been before [10].

By this time too, the Food and Drug Administration had been given by Congress new and more effective authority over health food claims. The 1938 law declared as misbranded a food promoted for "special dietary purposes" which failed to label information about "its vitamin, mineral, and other dietary properties" which the FDA deemed "necessary in order fully to inform purchasers as to its value for such uses." Under this provision the agency set forth not "recommended" but "minimum daily requirements" of the key known nutrients and required manufacturers to label their products in terms of these requirements [11]. Under the law, too, a "food" was also a "drug" if therapeutic claims were made for it, and the FDA's burden of proving a drug misbranded was less demanding than under the earlier law. Thus new weapons lay at hand to combat inflated nutritional claims. Fortunate this was, for the battle threatened to loom large indeed.

Many factors favored the nutritional promoter. The war ears did bring a drab diet to civilians, as well as an increase in emotional strain. To treat ailments, real or imaginary, physicians in private practice were in short supply. As a consequence, self-diagnosis and self-treatment expanded. Wartime and postwar prosperity made it easier for the common citizen to pay the high prices charged by nutritional salesmen for their wares. The continuing concern by reputable nutritionists to safeguard and improve the American diet aided the disreputable, who asserted that their supplements would do just that. After the war, better eating habits plus the "enrichment" program improved the nation's nutritional level. The millennium, however, was not yet reached. Postwar surveys continued to show inadequacies. A comprehensive study in 1955, for example, revealed that about one-tenth of America's families consumed a diet that was nutritionally poor, and nearly half the families fell below the Food and Nutrition Board's recommended level with respect to one or more essential nutrient [12]. The proper solution, nutritional experts stated, lay in wiser food selection. not in expensive commercial supplements. But those with vitamins to sell made the most of the surveys. Even large manufacturing concerns of great prestige, medical scientists asserted, oversold the value of their vitamins [13]. Promoters less scrupulous sought to frighten the nation into the conviction that America faced widespread starvation.

The initial successes of the FDA, employing the weapons of the 1938 law, in circumscribing patent medicine quackery tended to push fringe promoters toward the greener pastures of nutrition. Vaguer claims seemed legally safer. Vitamins and minerals were seldom sold blatantly as cancer or diabetes cures. The supplements and tonics, rather, promised to "increase vigor" or "prevent wearing out" because of nutritional deficiency. Often such promises were accompanied by "adroit references to disturbances of the digestive, circulatory, and nervous systems." In all this carefully worded doctrine, the would-be customer might well read or hear the idea of "cure." But because of the sly phrasing, and the complicated nature of nutritional science, the Food and Drug Administration faced a formidable regulatory task [14].

Policing the claims of nutritional promoters became a heavy burden for the FDA also because increasingly salesmen in the realm of food faddism relied on oral speech. This reduced the risk of detection. It also put the pitchman in direct contact with his potential customer. Thus was revived the face-to-face persuasiveness of the old-time patent medicine barker. The Nutrilite network of door-to-door salesmen proved to be a prototype for other similar ventures, like Abundavita and Nutri-Bio. Nutrilite officers, under the terms of the 1951 injunction, promised not only to limit their claims drastically but also to inform their salesmen what they could and could not say about this vitamin-mineral-alfalfa-parsley-watercress mix. In the privacy of residential living rooms, FDA inspectors, posing as customers, sometimes discovered that salesmen failed to exercise the agreed-upon restraint. But legal action against isolated vendors did not hamper Nutrilite's growth. Five years after the injunction, when the Federal Trade Commission looked into Nutrilite's sales practices, the force had expanded by a third and totaled 20,000 doorbell-ringing women and men. Sales in 1956 amounted to $26,000,000 [15].

Another forum for nutritional pitchmen who possessed hortatorical skill was the lecture platform. Gayelord Hauser, a suave and talented performer, revived in the 1930's the ancient art of the popular health lecture course. Heralded by advertising, the course began with a free lecture or so, continued for a fee. Hauser, a man on cordial terms with American movie stars and English nobility, lauded five "wonder" foods-skim milk, brewer's yeast, wheat germ, yogurt, and blackstrap molasses-and touted his own writings on nutrition. His appeal was amazing. When Look Younger, Live Longer was published in 1950, the book stayed on best seller lists for over a year and during that time sold a third of a million copies [16].

Of the two score and more lecturers who entered upon the nutritional lyceum circuit, not all were as smooth and polished as Gayelord Hauser. One of the rougher breed was Adolphus Hohensee. In 1943 the Better Business Bureau of St. Louis sent a telegraphed inquiry to the American Medical Association: Who was Hohensee? The AMA did not yet know. As the months passed, the AMA took increasing interest in this recruit to the ranks of nutrition spielers. So did the FDA [17].

Hohensee, diligent inquiry revealed, had set forth from Chevy Chase, near Washington, shortly before, promoting his line of Vita Health Foods. Nothing in his background seemed to qualify him as a nutrition expert. To be sure, be had been born in Poland, the same country as Casimir Funk. But Hohensee had had no formal training in vitamin research. He had come to America early in the century as a young boy. So far as the FDA could learn, Hohensee's schooling ended in 1918 with a single semester of high school level work, taken at the Washington Missionary College in Takoma Park. For this he received four hours of credit. Hohensee worked for a time as a soda jerk. His whereabouts during the 1920's could not be discovered. In 1933 Hohensee operated a real estate scheme in Galveston. He collected fees from owners who wished to sell their property, but be expended little effort at making sales. Charged with mail fraud, Hohensee pleaded guilty, spent a month in jail, with five years of probation to follow. He returned to Washington and entered the sightseeing tour business with his wife's car. Within three years he had acquired 140 cabs and some gas stations. During these years Hohensee's life was rugged. He was arrested for various misdemeanors, including the passing of bad checks. Four charges of assault were brought against him, but none was prosecuted. In the early 1940's, for reasons of his own, Hohensee shifted from transportation to nutrition. Soon after launching his travels as lecturer, he also shifted his home base, moving from the Washington suburbs to a farm near Scranton, which he named El Rancho Adolphus [18].

Hohensee was 42 in 1943, a tall, broad-shouldered man, stocky and robust, weighing over 200 pounds. His neck was thick, his face fat, his head round and balding. He sported a small black mustache which he kept waxed and pointed. His eyes were dark and piercing. Hohensee's physical stamina seemed never to wane. He could lecture night after night for two to three hours without tiring. His sharp, loud, and commanding voice, a voice devoid of jollity but skilled at expressing sarcasm and scorn, never weakened during his lectures. It was a powerful and flexible instrument, ranging from "whispering confidentiality to shouting hate" through all the variations in between. Hohensee dressed with some elegance, although his strenuous antics during an evening of lecturing often left him rumpled [19].

Billing himself as an M.D. in his early forays, Hohensee quickly met challenge. So he sought to acquire whatever kinds of health degrees he could. He secured in 1943 an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Medicine from the Kansas City University of Physicians and Surgeons, an institution that had been listed as unaccredited by the AMA for 15 years and that was closed in 1944 by the Missouri State Board of Medical Examiners. Hohensee added Doctor of Naturopathy degrees, without attendance, from schools in Oklahoma and Indiana. And in 1946 he passed an examination and was granted a chiropractic license by the state of Nevada, neglecting to say, as the law required, that he had once been convicted of a federal offense [20].

Hohensee's stock in trade, during his early days as lecturer, consisted of a wide variety of nutritional products which he had ordered packaged as the Adolphus Brand, bearing labels of his own design. Included were peppermint, soybean lecithin, B-complex vitamins, wheat germ oil, mineral capsules, calcium tablets, an herb laxative even a tar shampoo. And Hohensee's own private inquiry into the literature of nutrition had resulted in numerous pamphlets, especially The Health, Success and Happiness series, which included such individual titles as The Normal Ration; High Blood Pressure; Arthritis and Rheumatism; Better Eyes without Glasses; and Your Personality Glands [21].

Adroitly turning his lecture audiences into customers for both products and pamphlets, Hohensee had scarcely begun his career before he encountered opposition. In November 1943 in Seattle, charged with selling drugs without a license, he pleaded guilty and paid a $50 fine. The next month Hohensee faced the same charge in Tacoma and fought the case before a jury, handling his own defense. He was convicted, and the verdict stood up upon appeal. Wrote a spokesman for the Tacoma Better Business Bureau, "We feel this man, although lacking formal education, is a shrewd, capable adversary, thoroughly unscrupulous and dangerous." [22]

The next spring Hohensee lost two cases in San Francisco, paying a $300 fine for posing as a medical doctor and another $200 for selling drugs without a license. By this time his protracted conflict with the Food and Drug Administration had begun. just before Christmas in 1943, Hohensee had shipped an enormous quantity of remedies and reading matter from Seattle to Los Angeles. The FDA seized both, charging the former misbranded by the latter under both food and drug provisions of the law. Hohensee did not come by to claim his property, and the court condemned calcium, peppermint, pamphlets, and all to destruction. The next year Hohensee let another large seizure, shipped from Arizona to California, go by default [23].

It was costly to lose his wares in this way, but not a major deterrent. The sales Hohensee made during a series of lectures in a single city, the FDA estimated, might gross 40 to 50 thousand dollars, and a mighty high proportion of the gross was net. At this rate he could well afford to sacrifice a good many seizures. Since the seizures did not keep Hohensee away from his new and profitable mode of life, the FDA began criminal action. "I am going to keep on with this thing," the lecturer had told some Food and Drug officials, "until they get me behind bars." [24]

But Hohensee insisted his procedures did not violate the law. Following the early seizures, he told FDA officials at a hearing while the criminal case was being prepared, he had paid out big money to get all his labels changed. An expert in the field had given his OK. The processors who sold him his products provided the proper guaranty that label claims met the requirements of the law. As to the pamphlets, they were not part of the label "in any way, shape or form." [25]

"These are separate booklets that I have written," Hohensee said, "books that are being sold, not given away. . . . In checking the book nowhere do we refer to Adolphus Brand products. That booklet has nothing to do with the merchandise."

"When you sell these booklets," Hohensee was asked, "do you refer to any of your products?"

"I do not."

"When you sell these products do you refer to any of these booklets?"

"Not that I remember."

For the trial, Food and Drug inspectors found a witness who did remember. Charles Russ had attended every lecture in one of Hohensee's Phoenix series. Hohensee, Russ said, would hold a package of health food in his hand while describing all the wonderful things it would do. Both products and pamphlets were placed on tables at the back of the hall, where they were sold, sometimes in combination offers, a bottle free if a bottle and book were bought together. Russ in fact had purchased everything, he said, acquiring so many Hohensee remedies it took three shelves to hold them. He had arranged them in order, so he could take several handfuls of pills in a single session of therapy [26].

The government used Russ' recollections to good effect, during the trial at Phoenix in February 1948, to demonstrate that Hohensee's pamphlet references to vitamins and minerals, even though they did not mention the Adolphus Brand, were labeling nonetheless. A number of medical experts testified to the absurdity of Holiensee's nutritional doctrines. Despite tribute to Hohensee from several satisfied customers, the jury, whose foreman was a local merchant named Barry Goldwater, found Hohensee guilty of misbranding [27].

Hohensee's sentence did not put him behind bars: he was fined $1,800. In conformity with his earlier promise, he continued on his lucrative nutritional "crusade." But once more—as in his earlier modifications in his labeling—be changed his tactics. No longer did Hohensee sell his various vitamins and minerals in the halls where he was lecturing. Instead, he arranged for these wares to be stocked in health food stores in the cities where he delivered his speeches. This posed no problem, for the upsurge of nutritional promotion by fringe operators brought with it a great proliferation of health food stores. Selling an incredible assortment of so-called natural foods and vitamin-mineral mixtures, these stores served as rallying points for the growing body of believers in the new nutritional gospel propagated by prophets like Hohensee, a gospel that condemned the normal American food supply and made purchase of special supplements necessary for physical and mental salvation. Those who operated the stores supported the itinerant lecturers, advertising their coming, providing mailing lists for personal invitations to lecture series, and selling their panaceas and books of doctrine [28].

If Hohensee stopped vending his vitamins in person, he nonetheless kept on collecting money at his lectures. Sale of his booklets brought in a steady flow of cash. The matriculation fees for his paid series of lectures—$25 a person, or $35 for man and wife—brought in more. At each free lecture preceding the paid series, Hohensee took up a free will offering to pay rent on his auditorium. He added a series of gadgets for use in preparing food—without which the nutrient qualities were lost: a tenderizer, a blender, a Lucite set of kitchen implements. Prices were high: the tenderizer sold for $195. El Rancho Adolphus, in its owner's glowing words, became a veritable Eden of pristine health. Paying visitors were welcome; lots were for sale. When litigation threatened, Hohensee begued, in his speeches and in the magazine he mailed (for a fee) to the faithful, for contributions to a fund for his defense. Thus life was lucrative for the ex-taxi driver—even aside from his profits on nutritional wares sold by the health food stores [29].

Master showman that he was, Hohensee's success came in part from the preconditioning of most members of his audiences to his type of nutritional gospel. Already converts to food faddism, they had heard earlier speakers condemn the American food supply and would attend similar speeches by other lecturers after Hohensee had moved on. Women outnumbered men in Hohensee's audiences, many of them single or widowed or married but childless. Elderly. couples living on pensions were well represented. Although some young couples came, the age level of the main group of listeners ranged from the late 40's to the early 60's. The general educational background, Food and Drug inspectors judged, was modest, not above the high school level. Those who listened to Hohensee had some money to spend but were not rich. Among the men, some were skilled workers—carpenters, masons, machinists. A good many of Hohensee's hearers came, perhaps, to alleviate boredom. Few appeared to be very sick, although many certainly thought they were, afflicted with the aches and pains and glooms of aging. As they sat waiting for Hohensee to begin his lecture, they complained to each other about their state of health and swapped symptoms [30].

Knowing his listeners' fears and foibles, Hohensee kept them interested—and shelling out money—throughout each evening's two-hour stint of lecturing. His talks were rambling and unstructured, but he was alert to mood and adept at changing his theme or style to keep things lively. His bag of tricks was fully packed. His rapport was excellent. Hohensee called the women "girls" and "sweethearts," got them to asking questions and to testifying to the good they had received from the suggestions he had made on earlier evenings. He often interrupted his monologue to ask questions of his audience, easy questions to which they knew the answers. He mixed humor, most of it corny, with narrative episodes possessing a touch of drama, some of them autobiographical and intended to reflect his own fame. He uttered homilies on human relations and offered a lot of homespun psychology, urging his auditors to perk up, forget their troubles, wax enthusiastic, feel better. Hohensee quoted the Bible frequently, referred often to God's purposes for mankind, which, as to dietary matters, coincided exactly with Hohensee's own. He told suggestive stories (but not too naughty), teased his listeners about their sexual shortcomings, and promised better things—'The sex act itself should last for one hour"—for those who used his wares. He spoke awesomely of his own nutritional experimentation, throwing in jawbreaking scientific words as if be lived with them on very intimate terms. He cited the work of other researchers, picking quotations that suited his purposes from papers by reputable scholars and from government reports. He got what acclaim he could by identifying with other and better known spokesmen for the nutritional fringe, showing his classes, for example, a picture of himself with Bernarr Macfadden [31].

Hohensee frightened his listeners with frequent references to their proximity to "the Marble Orchard," with vivid descriptions of the horrors of disease, with distorted excursions into anatomy purporting to demonstrate bow the normal diet stagnated the blood, corroded the blood vessels, eroded the kidneys, and clogged the intestines with a putrefying mess. Yet he also reassured them: follow his doctrines and use his products and they would live to be 180 and go with him on man's first journey to the moon.

Hohensee paraded himself as a noble man abused by powerful enemies, a gigantic Medical Trust, headed by "the American Murderers Association" and including the drug trade, dominated by the Rockefellers, the Better Business Bureau, and the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA's hatchet men, he said, pursued him and infiltrated his audiences like spies.

In between his diatribes and homilies, Hohensee told his audience simple concrete things to do, explaining precisely why and how these would benefit their health. Hot and cold baths for the hands and feet, for example, would stir up the stagnant blood. Many of Hohensee's fasting regimens, of course, involved Adolphus products for sale at the local health store. Recipes must be cooked in his tenderizer or pulverized in his blender or got together with the aid of his Lucite knife. However dramatic the Hohensee anecdote, however passionate the tirade, a sales pitch of some kind was not far off.

As to the Food and Drug interlopers, Hohensee was right. The $1,800 fine had not deterred him. The agency began to gather evidence for another case. Agents, incognito, began to attend his lectures, even began to take down his words verbatim with wire recorders. In Phoenix once again, during February and March of 1952, an inspector sat through Hohensee's four free and 14 paid lectures, taking copious notes. The first night Hohensee started in an angry mood. The Phoenix papers and a radio station had refused his advertising, for which the Drug Trust and the BBB were certainly to blame. Then Hohensee shifted his attack to the dangers of foods and medicines in widespread use. Packages of some of these products rested on the table beside him. As he named them—Bisquick, Shredded Wheat, Alka-Seltzer, Hadacol—Hohensee picked them up and tossed them behind him to the floor. He paused, surveying the remaining packages carefully, then looked accusingly at the women sitting in the front row. Who, he asked, had taken his bottle of Lydia Pinkham's? He wanted it back so he could throw it away.

Next Hohensee tore open a loaf of bakery bread, pulled out the center and wadded it into a ball, bouncing it on the floor. The bread, he said, had been made from devitamized and demineralized flour. Then be took the intestines from his anatomical manikin named Fanny, held them aloft beside the ball of bread, and asked how a ball like that could ever make it through.

For the benefit of any Food and Drug stooges present, Hohensee declared, he wanted it clearly understood that he was not selling or recommending any product in his lectures. His only goal was to teach a way of preparing and cooking food, to describe a proper diet for eliminating all our aches and pains. Those who resorted to such a diet could rebuild all the organs of the body (except the kidneys), dissolve the incrustations in the brain that prevented adequate thinking, and dissolve incrustations between the laminations of the eyeball which impaired sight and made glasses necessary. God must have known that man would abuse his eyes, Hohensee said, since he placed the ears and nose so conveniently for hanging glasses.

The American diet was sadly deficient in vitamins and minerals, Hohensee told his listeners, and he picked up and read from a government publication to clinch the point. Yet FDA Commissioner Crawford had recently written in a magazine article that Americans were better fed than ever before. Crawford, said Hohensee, was a short and sickly man, constantly puffing on a cigarette. At this point the lecturer sold subscriptions to his magazine, The Life Span.

Women at the menopause, said Hohensee, often went to their doctors and got shots. The estrogen in these shots was nothing more or less than horse urine. He had refused to sell urine from El Rancho Adolphus horses to the Drug Trust, which made vaccinations and inoculations from the pus of sick horses. Such injections caused both polio and cancer.

Scrutinizing the faces of his audience at a later lecture, Hohensee told them that 90 per cent of them had worms. Worms were a major menace. They might be from two to 20 feet long, some with their heads in your stomach and the rest of their bodies in your intestines. His cleansing diet would remove them. This diet was also a preliminary to removing gallstones. Hohensee's gallstone remedy—the resurrection of an old-time patent medicine trick—helped persuade his listeners to willing acceptance of all the rest of his health counsel. He prescribed his laxative and told listeners to follow it up with olive oil. The oil released fluids in the bile duct which formed soapy concretions in the stool. Nobody could miss them. At a later lecture, Hohensee had members of his class testify as to the results. One woman proudly announced that she had counted 120 stones. "Oh, that is wonderful," said Hohensee. "I was very happy to know one of my students will stand up in a class like this and tell them I have eliminated 120 gallstones. Am I right, students?" There was loud applause. "And then you wonder why I come here without fear of the Medical Trust or their rotten bunch of racketeers, the Better Business Bureau?" The applause continued.

Hohensee's basic pattern of fear and hope conformed to, as it helped create, a major nutritional myth. Other lecturers, door-to-door salesmen, writers, TV pitchmen, health food store proprietors, shared in its construction and propagation. Thousands of Americans came to believe in it implicitly, so that they bet their dollars, staked their health, upon its doctrines. They could be roused to fierce antagonism against any scientist, businessman, or government regulator who questioned the myth's basic tenets.

One of the cardinal principles of this myth held that most disease resulted from improper diet. This was, of course, untrue. A few dietary deficiency diseases did exist, but even these had been largely vanquished in America by the nutritional revolution. It was easy, in America, to buy and eat an adequate diet. The nation's citizens, indeed, would have to go out of their way to avoid being properly nourished. Where deficiencies might exist, the proper solution lay not in spending money for expensive food supplements vended by the ill informed, but in eating better. Only a physician could detect deficiencies, in any case, and only he possessed the knowledge to prescribe therapeutic vitamins and other nutrients if needed. Yet the prophets to the faddists, with goods to sell, persevered in blaming all ills on the American food supply [32].

A subsidiary principle in the faddist's mighty myth blamed soil depletion for the alleged well-nigh universal malnutrition. The land on which food was grown had lost its zip, been drained of the minerals and vitamins which once it held. "Laboratory tests prove," Hohensee wrote in one of his pamphlets, "that the fruits, the vegetables, the grains, the eggs, even the milk and the meats of today are not what they were a few generations ago. . . . No man of today can eat enough fruits and vegetables to supply his system with the mineral salts he requires for perfect health, because his stomach isn't big enough to hold them!" [33] This doctrine too was false. The soil's quality does affect the quantity of the crop grown, but has very little influence on its quality. Unless the necessary elements are present in the soil, crops will not grow. Only with respect to iodine has there been depletion.

A third aspect of the myth held chemical fertilizers responsible for poisoning the land and the crops grown on it. Here the purveyors of specious nutrition counsel employed an ancient stunt, taking a legitimate concern and distorting it to suit their purposes. Pesticide residues, inadequately removed, did pose a hazard to health. New and more powerful pesticides came increasingly into use, and legitimate scientists expressed alarm. Congress took up the problem and in 1947 and 1954 passed laws to help the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration exercise more effective Control [34]. The faddists, however, did not relax. Their prophets, like Hohensee, urged the eating of only "natural" foods raised by "organic" farming, in which only animal fertilizer was used. El Rancho Adolphus apple juice, Hohensee told his classes, came only from non-sprayed apples fertilized by animal manure; all other apple juice, he said, was contaminated with insect poisons which would destroy the kidneys [35]. Artificial fertilizers, according to the myth, besides being poisons, devitalized the soil and thus ruined the nutrients in food, making necessary the purchase of food supplements.

Still another facet of the myth, based in part on very old folk beliefs, put great stress on the special dietary value of various "wonder" foods. Hauser had his own particular list, and Hohensee too employed this doctrine. One of his favorites was garlic. "In addition to being good for a specific condition of high blood pressure," he wrote, garlic "also seems to have a profound cleansing effect upon the intestines and, of course, the blood." [36] Among other things, it inhibited growth of the tuberculosis germ. To prove garlic's potency in the system, Hohensee advised putting a piece up the rectum at night: by morning its taste would be apparent in the mouth. These claims for garlic were utter nonsense. Some of the other socalled wonder foods might have some value as foods, experts were willing to agree, but they possessed no miraculous properties and were not indispensable in diet.

One more aspect of the myth held that cooking utensils made of certain metals poisoned the food prepared in them. Aluminum was the particular bugaboo, a scare doctrine at least half a century old. Hohensee had propagated this theory right from the start. He also denounced the hazards of peeling vegetables with metal knives. Like other fringe operators, be had his own "safe" tenderizer and Lucite knives to sell [37].

Processed foods, according to the myth, possessed a double danger. The milling of cereals, the canning of foods, even the pasteurizing of milk, according to the specious nutritionists, destroyed the natural nutrients. At the same time, food processors poured into their products a mounting array of additives, chemicals intended to deter spoilage, improve texture, and perform other like functions, although the real result, the faddists said, was the slow poisoning of the public. Reputable nutritionists assured the nation that most food values survived milling, canning, and freezing, and insisted that the nutritional losses from pasteurizing milk were far outweighed by the gains. The health faddist's penchant for raw fruits and vegetables, the experts said, was certainly extreme. As with pesticides, food additives posed a genuine problem, but one which the nutritional lecturer distorted beyond all reason. Congress acted to ensure that substances added to processed foods be proved safe before being permitted in use, passing a law in 1958 giving the FDA jurisdiction in this field [38]. The public debate leading to the law provided many frightening charges to bolster the scare doctrines of nutritional lecturers. Hohensee constantly condemned "dead"—that is, processed—foods and praised the "live" foods eaten at El Rancho Adolphus [39]. He had had excellent fortune, he told his classes, curing cancer with chlorophyll.

A final major principle in the nutritional myth concerned subclinical deficiencies. This represented a clever borrowing of a recognized medical concept: a given person's diet might not contain an adequate amount of a given nutrient, although the amount lacking was so small or had continued for so short a time that no symptoms of deficiency were yet observable. As translated by the fringe operators, almost everybody might be so threatened, and the imminent dangers to health were catastrophic. Going further, they blamed many of life's day-to-day difficulties, like weariness, tension, a sense of discouragement, on subclinical deficiencies. The hypochondriac especially found conviction in this theory. If a doctor had examined him and discovered nothing wrong, when he himself knew in his bones that there must be, it was reassuring to find out from a food supplement salesman that there was such a thing as vitamin deficiencies which even a physician could not detect. The answer, of course, lay in the insurance of multivitamin mixtures. "Good cheer and optimism," Hohensee asserted, "are impossible if you are suffering from hidden hunger or an undernourished brain [40].

It must have been with difficulty that Hohensee maintained his own optimism, since regulatory agencies, disbelieving the nutrition myth that underlay his profitable venture, seemed so intent on curbing him. The Federal Trade Commission issued an order forbidding him to continue certain advertising claims. The Food and Drug Administration again hailed him into court. Such Adolphus Brand products as the peppermint, the wheat germ oil, and the herb laxative, the indictment charged, were misbranded, since their labels failed to state the purposes, conditions, and diseases for which they were intended. Intent should be determined, the FDA argued, from the whole host of fantastic claims which Hohensee uttered, night after night, to his classes in Phoenix and Denver. The case came to trial in Scranton in November 1954, but not until after one false start. Although the government had assembled its witnesses, Hohensee appeared without a lawyer and asked for a delay. It was granted. Hohensee then flew out to Denver to finish another class. In his audience appeared a woman who ran a health food store which earlier had been an outlet for Hohensee's products. The government had called her to be a witness in order to prove that Hohensee's wares had moved in interstate commerce. Spotting her, Hohensee publicly proclaimed her to be a rat who had sold him out to the Drug Trust and their hatchet men. "The time is coming," he proclaimed, "just like it was in Christ's time, when anyone who dares to tell the truth, Satan's forces will always find a double-crosser, a Judas, to sell him, who speaks the truth, to his adversaries. . . . But I'm not complaining. My Saviour was willing to be nailed to the cross to help people. Is that right, class? I'm still going strong." Hohensee's good cheer seemed somewhat frazzled [41].

The Scranton jury found Hohensee guilty. Sixteen months later the judge fined him and sentenced him to a year and a day in prison. Another year went by, after a futile appeal, before he began to serve his sentence. In the meantime Hohensee pursued his craft with desperate earnestness, lecturing in many cities around the country [42]. In Houston occurred an episode that may further have dampened his good cheer. Acting on an anonymous tip, reporters and photographers hurried to a restaurant [43].

"Hohensee sat at a back table," wrote Marie Dauplaise of the Houston Press, "all by himself, polishing off a dinner of forbidden fruits. There was fried red snapper. (He'd told us at the lecture when he bounced the 'death-dealing' skillet on the floor that frying destroys the good qualities of food.) There were thick slices of white French bread. ('It knots in a ball in your stomach, and stays there in a big lump.') He was rinsing this down with huge gulps of beer. (He'd characterized his enemies at his lectures as 'alcohol drinkers,' and bad people were 'barflies.') Apple pie was his final gastronomic delight." [44]

Thus surprised, Hohensee grabbed his beer bottle and hid it under his chair, covering his telltale plate with a piece of newspaper. Rolling up another section of the paper into a weapon, he started after one of the photographers. But it was too late. The picture was already in the camera. "'Nature Doc' Dines Out," ran the headline atop the picture, "and Knocks a Decade Off His 180-Year Life Span!" [45]

Perhaps one reason Hohensee permitted his hunger to override his professed principles lay in his skipping of breakfast a day or two before. The lecturer had spent the night in jail, charged with violating Houston's ordinance against itinerant vendors. When the morning meal was brought him, he refused to touch it. "I won't even drink water," he said [46].

The arrest had taken place in the evening soon after Hohensee had begun to instruct his class. When he saw what was happening, he shouted to his students: "The lecture's over! These men say I'm under arrest! Come down to the station and bail me out." His loyal partisans crowded around the detectives, screaming insults. Some 75 followed their leader down to the station house, where they milled around the halls, rebuking the police, and murmuring about a Communist plot. Hohensee played up to them. Turning to reporters present, he shouted, "How much did the medical trust pay you for this night's work?"

The fierce dedication of Hohensee's supporters was matched by the adherents of other nutritional prophets. Whenever fringe operators went to trial, fans crowded the courtroom. They bombarded Congress, the Food and Drug Administration, and other agencies with bitter cards and letters, condemning the persecution of their heroes, damning an alleged conspiracy against them on the part of the FDA, the AMA, and respectable sectors of the food and drug industries. The angry elements seemed to be merging. "Major food peddlers of nutritional quackery who have been prosecuted by FDA," said Commissioner George Larrick in 1957, '"have formed a sort of 'FDA Alumni Assn.' and banded together to fight FDA and effective law enforcement." The pseudo-nutritionists organized effectively and prompted their followers to campaigns of mass protest [47].

The active antagonism of food faddists was a reaction to increasingly vigorous efforts by the Food and Drug Administration to combat nutritional nonsense. Another major promoter besides Hohensee, V. Earl Irons, who distributed his Vit-Ra-Tox products out of Boston, had been sentenced to jail. And dozens of seizures were taking misbranded food supplements vended by lecturers and door-to-door salesmen off the market. But the job was too big. As always, FDA resources were limited, and nutritional cases complex and difficult to develop and prosecute. Despite the increased regulatory attention being given it, nutritional quackery grew larger. It had reached the stage, the AMA estimated, of a half-billion-dollar annual racket. "We believe," said Wallace Janssen, FDA's director of public information, "that at present more 'bunk is being peddled to the public concerning food than on any other subject."[48]

In 1957 the FDA began a major educational campaign to supplement its increased regulatory efforts. Not that public warnings had not come from many quarters throughout the preceding years. From the 1920's on, the AMA's magazines had carried countless articles pointing out the dangers of pseudo-nutritional doctrines. Morris Fishbein avowed in 1938 that "public interest in vitamins has led to a more extraordinary exploitation than in almost any other field of medicine, except perhaps the glands." Hohensee felt constantly the necessity of castigating Fishbein, whom he termed "the medical dictator." University professors of nutrition and of home economics, the American Dietetic Association, the American Public Health Association, organizations of food technologists, the Nutrition Foundation (an industry-sponsored group), the National Better Business Bureau, writers for newspapers and magazines, and other concerned parties also spoke out against the follies of food faddism and particularly the waste in money and risks in health inherent in relying on the expensive products dispensed by the fringe operators. But all these warnings bulked small in mass compared with the total wordage written and spoken by the false food prophets. Millions of Americans did not or would not hear [49].

More strenuous educational efforts, FDA officials hoped, might reap a larger measure of success. District offices were instructed to make the debunking of false nutritional claims a deliberate campaign. Speeches on the theme before consumer and service groups were increased. Newspapers and radio stations were provided with information. From Washington a new and hard-hitting pamphlet, Food Facts v. Food Fallacies, was distributed by the thousands. Writers were given welcome and provided with statistics and case histories. Arthur S. Flemming, Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, issued a special release and held a press conference to publicize the issue [50].

The AMA, like the FDA, had become alert to the growing menace. Inquiries and complaints about door-to-door nutritional salesmen, noted Oliver Field, director of the Bureau of investigation, had come to bulk the largest of any category in the bureau's files. So the AMA also launched an intensified campaign of education against nutritional quackery, treating the subject in Today's Health, the magazine for lay readers, preparing a large display for exhibit at state and county fairs, issuing new pamphlets, and making a movie on "The Medicine Man" for showing before clubs and school and church groups. The film vividly revealed the techniques of a health lecturer vending his wares. Those who had witnessed Hohensee in action might, in seeing the movie, experience a sense of déjà vu [51].

"The Medicine Man" received its first showing at an AMA Public Relations Institute in Chicago in August 1958. At this meeting the announcement was made that the leading foes of nutritional quackery had organized a united front. Spokesmen for the AMA, FDA, and NBBB reported joint efforts to expand the educational crusade. "It will take widespread and repeated dissemination of literature and other visual aids," said FDA's Kenneth Milstead, "to make an impression on the public." [52]

So battle was joined at a new level between the promoters and the opponents of nutritional nonsense, with the health of the American public at stake. At the time of the Chicago Institute, Adolphus Hohensee had served his sentence and was four months out of jail. Being behind bars had not seemed to quench his fighting mood. He resumed the rostrum and re-entered the fray [53].


  1. FDA file on Hohensee, interstate Sample No. 14-497L, FDA Records, Washington.
  2. David Nevin, "The Brass-Band Pitchman and His Million-Dollar Elixir," True, March 1962, 26.
  3. Elmer V. McCollum, A History of Nutrition (Boston, 1957), vi, 153, 201, 217-18, 224, 229-416 passim, 420-21; Elizabeth N. Todhunter, "The Story of Nutrition," in Food: The Yearbook of Agriculture 1959 (Washington, 1959), 12-18.
  4. Ronald M. Deutsch, The Nuts among the Berries (N.Y., 1961), 1365; Gerald Carson, Cornflake Crusade (N.Y., 1957), passim, Elijah's Manna at 183, Grape Nuts and appendicitis at 162.
  5. Deutsch, 145; Pease, The Responsibilities of American Advertising 94; Printers' Ink: Fifty Years, 1888-1938, 318; Harrison Graves, "Marketing a Proprietary," Standard Remedies, 8 (Oct. 1922), 20; Mastin's ad in Medicine-Remedies folder, General Corres. of Office of Sec. of Agric., 1921, RG 16, NA; George P. Larrick, "The Pure Food Law," in Food: The Yearbook of Agriculture 1959, 446.
  6. Ibid.; 1928 Report of Food, Drug, and Insecticide Administration, 4-5; FDA Press Notice, May 22, 1929, Press Notice file, FDA, Washington.
  7. F&D Rev., 14 (Feb. 1930), 41-44.
  8. Ibid., 15 (May 1931), 139; 19 (Aug. 1935), 173-76, and (Oct. 1935), 221; 1932 Report of Food and Drug Administration, 10-11; 1936 Report, 15; 1939 Report, 24-25; United States v. Lee, 107 Fed. (2d) 522. The Vitamin Division became the Division of Nutrition in 1949.
  9. Hazel K. Stiebeling, "Food in Our Lives," in Food: The Yearbook of Agriculture, 5.
  10. Ruth M. Leverton, "Recommended Allowances," in ibid., 227-30; Todhunter, "The Story of Nutrition," 17, 20-21,
  11. See. 403 (j) of the law; FDA press release, Nov. 22, 1941.
  12. Corinne Le Bovit and Faith Clark, "Are We Well Fed?," in Food: The Yearbook of Agriculture, 620; Janet Murray and Ennis Blake, "What Do We Eat?," in ibid., 609-19.
  13. "Shotgun Vitamins Rampant," JAMA, 117 (Oct. 25, 1941), 1,447.
  14. 1944 Report of Food and Drug Administration, 28-29; 1945 Report, 43.
  15. On the Nutrilite injunction, see ch. 9. F&D Rev., 39 (Nov. 1955), 169; 41 (July 1957), 115, and (Dec. 1957), 212; 42 (Mar. 1958), 38; FDC Reports, Dec. 16, 1957, 15-16.
  16. Deutsch, 158-70; JAMA, 108 (Apr. 17, 1937), 1359-60; Newsweek, 37 (Mar. 26, 1951), 58-59; U.S. v. 8 Cartons . . . Blackstrap Molasses, 97 Fed. Supp. 313; U.S. v. 8 Cartons . . . Blackstrap Molasses, 103 Fed. Supp. 626.
  17. List of health lecturers drawn up in 1948 by FDA, in personal file, J.J. McCann Jr., FDA; Adolphus Hohensee folder, Dept. of Investigation, AMA.
  18. Ibid.; FDA file, interstate Sample No. 18-317L, FDA Records, Washington; FDA file, Interstate Sample No. 31-968H, ibid.; FDA file, Interstate Sample No. 55-529F, ibid.; FDA file 14-497L.
  19. Providence Journal, Jan. 6, 1953; Scranton Tribune, Jan. 6, 1955; F&D Rev., 37 (Sep. 1953), 174; letters to author from two FDA inspectors who observed Hohensee closely, Ralph M. Davidson, Oct. 21, 1960, and Kenneth E. Kimlel, Oct. 27, 1960.
  20. AMA folder; FDA files 55-529F, 31-968H, and 14-497L.
  21. Food NJ 7924 and 10893; DDNJ 1357 and 2092.
  22. AMA folder; FDA file 55-529F.
  23. Ibid.; Food NJ 7924 and 10893; DDNJ 1357 and 2092.
  24. FDA files 18-317L and 55-529F.
  25. FDA file 31-968H.
  26. Ibid.
  27. Ibid. Hohensee referred to Goldwater in a 1952 Phoenix lecture and urged the class to oppose his candidacy for the Senate. FDA file 18-317L.
  28. DDNJ 2579; FDA files 14-497L and 18-317L; Deutsch, 215.
  29. This paragraph relies on elaborate notes made by an inspector of a Phoenix series of lectures given by Hohensee during February and March 1952, and transcriptions of wire recordings of a Denver series, July-September 1952. FDA files 14-497L and 18-317L.
  30. Davidson and Kimlel letters.
  31. This and the following paragraphs are based on the Phoenix notes and Denver transcriptions, FDA files 14-497L and 18-317L.
  32. A number of efforts have been made to present the structure of the myth underlying food faddism. I rely in this and the succeeding paragraphs on Joseph R. Bell, "Let 'em Eat Hay," Today's Health, 36 (Sep. 1958), 22-25, 06-68. An excellent recent article is Fredrick J. Stare, "Sense and Nonsense about Nutrition," Harper's Mag. 229 (Oct. 1964), 66-70. Helen S. Mitchell has compiled "Nutrition Books for Lay Readers, A Guide to the Reliable and Unreliable," Library Jnl., 85 (Feb. 15, 1960), 710-14.
  33. What about the Vegetables and Fruits We Eat Today?, in FDA file 31-968H.
  34. Wallace F. Janssen, "FDA since 1938: The Major Trends and Developments," Jnl. of Public Law, 13 (1964), 208.
  35. FDA file 18-317L.
  36. The Health, Success and Happiness Lectures: High Blood Pressure, in FDA file 31-968H.
  37. AMA folder; FDA file 18-317L.
  38. Janssen, "FDA since 1938," 208-209.
  39. FDA file 18-317L.
  40. Lecture Series on Health and Progress: How to Think and Attain Success, in FDA file 31-968H.
  41. 50 FTC Decisions 321, Oct. 1, 1953; DDNJ 5385; FDA file 14-497L.
  42. Ibid.; DDNJ 5385. FDA files contain a transcript of the trial, U.S. v. El Rancho Adolphus Products, Inc., a corporation; Scientific Living Inc., a corporation; and Adolphus Hohensee, an individual, in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, No. 12529 Criminal. For the appeal: U.S. v. Adolphus Hohensee . . . 243 Fed. (2d) 367.
  43. Houston Press, June 1, 1955; Marie Dauplaise, What's Up, Doc?," Front Page Detective, Oct. 1955, 2A-27, 85-87.
  44. Ibid., 86.
  45. Ibid.; Houston Press, June 1, 1955.
  46. Dauplaise, "What's Up, Doc?," 86.
  47. Drug Trade News, 32 (Apr. 22, 1957), 34; John L. Harvey, "Progress and Problems," FDC Law Jnl., 12 (July 1957), 436.
  48. DDNJ 5308; Department of Health, Education, and Welfare 1957 Annual Report, 200-201; FDC Reports, Apr. 8, 1957, 11; FDC Law Jnl., 13 (Nov. 1958), 677-78; Janssen, "Food Quackery-A Law Enforcement Problem," Jnl. of the Amer. Dietetic Assoc., 36 (Feb. 1960), 110.
  49. Examples of articles are "Exploiting the Health Interest: Modern Magic—Some Freaks and Fallacies of the Food Faddist," Hygeia, 3 (Jan. 1925), 16-21, (Feb. 1925), 70-75; "Don't Be Misled by Food Fakers," ibid., 8 (Aug. 1930), 722; Fishbein, "Modem Medical Charlatans," ibid., 16 (Feb. 1938), 113-15, 172, 182-83; Lois M. Miller, "The Vitamin Follies," ibid., 16 (Nov. 1938), 1004-1005, 1045; D. W. McCrary, "Food Fads, Fallacies and Facts," ibid., a six-part series from 19 (Aug. 1941), 646-49, through 20 (Jan. 1942), 48-51; Max Millman, "The Facts about Vitamins," ibid., 35 (July 1957), 34-37; W. J. Stone, "Dietary Facts, Fads, and Fancies," JAMA, 95 (Sep. 6, 1930), 709-15; W. H. Sebrell, "Nutritional Diseases in the United States," ibid., 115 (Sep. 7, 1940), 851-54; "Indiscriminate Administration of Vitamins to Workers in Industry," ibid., 118 (Feb. 21, 1942), 618-21; "Common Sense vs. Food Faddism," 157 (Feb. 5, 1955), 514; Hohensee in FDA file 31-968H; Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare statement by Arthur S. Flemming, thanking other groups, FDA Press Release, Nov. 19, 1958; various publications by the organizations mentioned. See, for example, a series of articles in Jnl. of the Amer. Dietetic Assoc., 32 (July 1956), 623-35, and 34 (Sep. 1958), 935-37; the Amer. Dietetic Assoc., Food Facts Talk Back; "Quackery in the Field of Nutrition," Amer. 1nl. of Public Health, 42 (Aug. 1952), 997-98; The Role of Nutrition Education in Combatting Food Fads, papers given in 1959 at a joint meeting of the Nutrition Fdn. and the Institute of Food Technologists, Northern California Section.
  50. F&D Rev., 41 (June 1957), 98; (July 1957) 119, 129; Department of Health, Education, and Welfare 1957 Annual Report, 194-95, 200-201; Flemming statement, Nov. 19, 1958, press release.
  51. JAMA, 166 (Mar. 8, 1958), 26-27; 167 (Aug. 23, 1958), 2088; Drug Trade News, 33 (Aug. 25, 1958), 2, 29; (Sep. 22, 1958), 33.
  52. JAMA, 167 (Aug. 2, 1958), 1745; Department of Health, Education, and Welfare 1958 Annual Report, 197; George Larrick, "Report from the Food and Drug Administration," FDC Law Jnl., 14 (Apr. 1959), 238; Drug Trade News, 33 (Sep. 22, 1958), 33.
  53. AMA folder; DDNJ 6709; F&D Rev., 45 (Sep. 1961), 203. In 1962 a California judge sentenced Hohensee to jail for selling "ambrosia of the gods"—honey—with curative claims. The judge recommended that Hohensee be put in charge of the prison beehives. Washington Evening Star, Dec. 22, 1962, On appeal this conviction was reversed, mainly because of the way the evidence had been secured; Hohensee had already served 18 months in prison. NBBB Service Bull. 1889 (Sep. 1965).

Table of Contents ||| Next Chapter

This page was posted on January 30, 2002.

Links to Recommended Vendors