Saturday, September 12th, 2015

The First Superfood (Via Slate.com)

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 Slate.com, 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.

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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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