Saturday, September 12th, 2015

The First Superfood (Via

Before popular superfoods like pomegranates, kale, and acaí, hit the shelves of supermarkets one doctor proclaimed this now common fruit a “superfood.”  In this article for, author Alan Levinovitz explains why pediatrician and celiac researcher Sidney Haas prescribed a diet of bananas to patients in his celiac disease study.  Interesting read especially for gluten free folks.


At the turn of the 20th century, the United Fruit Co. mounted an aggressive advertising campaign to complement its in­creased capacity to grow and import bananas. With the fruit no lon­ger an exotic luxury, United Fruit took advantage of testimonials by doctors and nutritionists to reimagine bananas as a superfood—the acai or goji berries of the early 20th century. A 1917 industry publication, Food Value of the Banana, included a glowing endorse­ment from the Journal of the American Medical Association: “This fruit is sealed by nature in practically germ-free and germ-proof packages.” Numerous dietitians testified to their curative powers.

Photo illustration by Lisa Larson-Walker. Photos by Thinkstock.

It was only log­ical for physicians to try these superfruits with patients whose conditions had no viable treatment options. At the time, one such condition was celiac disease, and a prominent pediatrician and celiac researcher named Sidney Haas started a few of his own patients on a strict diet of bananas and milk, supplemented with broth, gelatin, and a little meat.

Read more here.

This article is an excerpt from “The Gluten Lie and Other Myths About What You Eat” by Alan Levinovitz.

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