1911 Weight Loss Tip: Fletcherize Your Food

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, June 16, 1911: Please excuse me for I have forgotten what I did today. It’s hardly worthwhile to keep a diary, when you can’t remember anything.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

I’m still enjoying reading a 1911 book by Dr. Mary Galbraith called Personal Hygiene and Physical Training for Women. Last week I told you how about how obesity was defined in 1911. Today, I’ll give you an old-time suggestion for reducing weight and maintaining good health: thoroughly chew (or masticate) each bite of food before swallowing:

Obese patients grow fat because they overeat, but with a thorough mastication of the food their appetites would be satisfied with far less food than they have been accustomed to eat and the superfluous fat would drop off.

Personal Hygiene and Physical Training for Women (1911)

A hundred years ago, many people followed the beliefs of a food faddist named Horace Fletcher. He argued that for good health, it was very important for everyone to completely chew each bite of food before swallowing.

In 1911 people often talked about Fletcherizing (thoroughly chewing) their food. Depending upon the food, Fletcher argued that it should be chewed 32 times, 45 times, or even more before swallowing.

Also, it wasn’t considered healthy to eat too many soft easy-to-eat foods because that encouraged bolting of food, over-eating, and indigestion.

6 Responses

  1. [...] hundred years ago people believed that the key to losing weight was to chew (fletcherize) their food more thoroughly so that they would feel full while eating [...]

  2. [...] believed that the best way to lose weight was to chew food more thoroughly. This was often called Fletcherizing. People believed that they would lose weight if they chewed each bite 30 times, 40 times, or even [...]

  3. [...] 1911 Weight Loss Tip: Fletcherize Your Food [...]

  4. [...] enjoyment of the food or the company. Under the influence of health nuts like Kellogg, Post and Fletcher, North Americans started counting how many times they chewed each bite of tasteless pap, examining [...]

  5. […] 1911 Weight Loss Tip: Fletcherize Your Food […]

  6. Judging by the way my grandfather ate his food I think he must have followed Mr Fletcher’s ideas!

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