clock menu more-arrow no yes

These vintage ads touted gluten as an amazing superfood

These days, most foods don't go out of their way to advertise their high gluten content. But in many old ads, it was a selling point.

This ad from 1905 for Pillsbury flour is typical — beneath a bizarre reference to Chinese customs, you'll find the boast that "the gluten and phosphates of the best wheat are retained by the Pillsbury Process."

Don't worry — plenty of gluten here!

Don't worry — plenty of gluten here!

New York Tribune/Library of Congress

During World War I, Pillsbury bragged about all the "nourishing" gluten in its flour — part of a serious wartime effort to keep kids healthy.

Gluten: do it for the children!

Gluten: do it for the children!

Richmond Times-Dispatch/Library of Congress

An ad by Corby's Mother's Bread in 1913 bragged that the company's bread had more gluten than the competition. Others, like one from 1920, trumpeted gluten for being "tough and coherent."

What does the early gluten fever mean? Who knows. Today, you'd never get away with ads like these because of the gluten-free craze (which has its own problems).

This obviously wasn't the case in 1919. "Gluten?" an ad from Merit Bread asks. "That's the something which helps to make you thrive."

Gluten? That's the something which helps to make you thrive."

"Gluten? That's the something which helps to make you thrive."

Topeka State Journal/Library of Congress

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for The Weeds

Get our essential policy newsletter delivered Fridays.