Why Were Corn Flakes Invented – Was It Really To Stop Masturbation?

Anti-Masturbation Corn Flakes?

Why were corn flakes invented? Some believe that Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, the man behind the popular cereal brand, meant for it to be something that could discourage American consumers from jacking off. As expected, many question the truth behind this claim. There are people who think that it is nothing more than an exaggeration of the truth.

Myth or fact? In this article, we’ll learn all about the reason why corn flakes were created.


Who is Dr. John Harvey Kellogg?

John and William Kellogg
Image of John and William Kellogg from Wikimedia

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the idea of people masturbating was considered a major taboo. In the United States, this idea began to gain ground, and among the most prominent names who were against the idea of masturbation was Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. The physician thought that sex was a detriment when it comes to an individual’s physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Despite the fact that he was married, the doctor abstained from consummating his union to his wife. The couple would sleep in separate bedrooms, and all of their children were adopted.

For Dr. Kellogg, if sex was considered bad and a hindrance to a person’s growth, then masturbation was a cardinal sin. In “Plain Facts for Old and Young: Embracing the Natural History and Hygiene of Organic Life,” he listed 39 symptoms of a person “afflicted” with masturbation. The list includes:

  • Mood swings
  • Infirmity
  • Bashfulness
  • Defective development
  • Fickleness
  • Bad posture
  • Fondness for spicy foods
  • Boldness
  • Acne
  • Epilepsy
  • Palpitations

Additionally, to further drive the point home, he wrote: “If illicit commerce of the sexes is a heinous sin, self-pollution is a crime doubly abominable.” It might seem humorous to some nowadays, but back then, people took these words seriously.

The doctor also listed down possible causes or stimulants that are known to trigger the habit of jacking off. This includes:

  • Irritating food
  • Tobacco
  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Coffee
  • Tea

How to Stop Masturbating – Dr. Kellogg’s Cure

Where there are symptoms, there would also be an equivalent treatment or cure. Dr. Kellogg strongly believed in the potential of diet when it came to helping people curb their desire to masturbate. This is why he advocated for diet purity. In the same aforementioned book, he wrote:

“A man that lives on pork, fine-flour bread, rich pies and cakes, and condiments, drinks tea and coffee, and uses tobacco, might as well try to fly as to be chaste in thought.”

Needless to say, the mere act of fapping was seen as an affliction—a sickness that needed to be cured. He believed that flavorful food actually increased sexual desire. In his mind, the more tasteless food is, the healthier it would be; physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Also in the same book, Dr. Kellogg urged his readers to follow in his example. Some of the recommendations he mentioned in the book include suggestion to:

  • Avoid gluttony
  • Eat only twice a day
  • Avoid stimulating food
  • Refrain from having stimulating drinks
  • Choose plain and bland food

Why Were Cornflakes Invented?

While Dr. Kellogg was against the act of jacking off, this doesn’t necessarily mean that he invented corn flakes to discourage people from doing so. It might surprise you to learn that all those masturbation memes on the internet are founded upon mostly false information. There’s enough historical evidence to prove that corn flakes were never marketed for this purpose.

The cause of confusion? An article from Mental Floss published in 2018 which wrongly attributed a particular quote to Dr. Kellogg. The phrase “healthy, ready-to-eat anti-masturbatory morning meal” was never used to market corn flakes. Moreover, there also isn’t enough evidence to back up the claim that it was Dr. Kellogg who used it in reference to his creation.

So, corn flakes were never meant to stop people from fapping. If that’s the case, then why were corn flakes invented in the first place? The true origin of corn flakes is far more interesting, actually.


Why Were Corn Flakes Invented: The Real Reason

Cereals for Breakfast
Image by Pixabay

The original intention behind the creation of corn flakes was simply to provide a breakfast food that would help prevent indigestion—a common health issue back in 19th-century America. Because the Kellogg family were devout members of the Seventh Day Adventist church, the product was meant to conform to the church’s strict vegetarian diet. This is according to Howard Markel, who is professor of history of medicine at the University of Michigan. He also authored a book on the Kellogg family.

Why Breakfast Food?

Dyspepsia is one of the most common medical complaints that people had during the 19th century. For those unfamiliar with the term, it basically refers to a slew of digestion issues and includes: heartburn, flatulence, diarrhea, and constipation. Breakfast was a primary concern for many. In the past, people subsisted on heavy meals comprised of starchy potatoes fried in congealed fat from the previous night’s dinner. Not the healthiest, right?

For protein, most households would prepare heavily salted meats such as bacon or ham for breakfast. Other common breakfast options included:

  • Boiled rice
  • Drinks such as coffee, tea, and cocoa with whole milk or heavy cream
  • Brown bread
  • Milk toast
  • Graham crackers
  • Gruels made of cracked wheat, oats, or barley

Those who were able to buy more ingredients had a tendency to eat extravagantly as well. Ask the average American from the 1850’s “What’s for breakfast?” and the likely answer would be, “Everything.”

Dr. Kellogg was among those who sought a healthier alternative. He wanted a breakfast option that was easy on the digestive system and quick to prepare. Why were corn flakes invented? This, ultimately, is the real reason why corn flakes came to be. The good doctor was simply looking out for people’s health!

No Accidental Inventions

With this idea in mind, Dr. Kellogg and his brother Will began to work on their new grain-based health food. The doctor figured that cooking the grains before serving would make them easier to digest. He took a grain-based dough and baked it at very high heat, enough to completely break down its starch content and convert it into simple sugar dextrose. This process is called “dextrinization” and is still used to this day.

The process of creating corn flakes took several laborious years, before the brothers were able to come up with “dextrinized flakes.” They made wheat flakes at first, but decided to go with the tastier corn version.


Introducing Americans to Corn Flakes

Kellogg Advertisements
Vintage Kellogg Ads from John LeMaitre and Lupe from Flickr

Eventually, Kellogg developed a selection of flaked grain breakfast cereals. Together with his brother Will, as well as Battle Creek Sanitarium’s bookkeeper, he went on to manufacture and sell the product.

Unlike his brother, however, Will wasn’t a huge advocate of dietary purity. In fact, he suggested that they add sugar to the cereal in order to make them more palatable and appealing to consumers. He had concerns that their cereals wouldn’t sell because of their blandness.

This disagreement led to the brothers separating, with the feud between the brothers continuing for decades. Will began selling the products how he wanted to, which led to the establishment of the Kellogg Company. As a result, adding sugar to the otherwise boring cereals became a genius move. The Kelloggs Cereal Company grew substantially and still remains to be one of the biggest producers for these breakfast grains.


John Harvey Kellogg’s Other Creations

Dr. Kellogg was the director of Michigan’s Battle Creek Sanitarium for a period of time. There, he formulated a healthier treat for patients. It consisted of simple ingredients, such as corn meal and oatmeal baked into biscuits before being crushed into pieces. He called this “granula,” but had to change it to “granola.” This is because a product with the same name was already available at the time.

Kellogg’s passion for developing healthier diets led to various innovations. This includes an enema machine, which ensured clean intestines. Afterwards, a pint of yogurt would be delivered through the mouth or the anus. We’re certain most people would prefer a flavorless diet compared to this option! Fortunately, this didn’t catch on with the masses.


Can Corn Flakes Discourage People From Jacking Off?

Corn Flakes
Image by Karsten Paulick from Pixabay

The truth is, it cannot. Dr. Kellogg was against people touching themselves—but that wasn’t exactly uncommon back in those days. Even now, there are still those who consider the subject taboo due to personal or religious beliefs. Furthermore, it is important to note that Dr. Kellogg did have pretty controversial opinions when it comes to curbing masturbation among men and women.

The viral quality of masturbation memes led many to believe that corn flakes were meant to prevent fapping, but now you know better. With that in mind, we can also safely assume that there might be a small connection between preventing masturbation and corn flakes. After all, Kellogg suggests a simple diet for discouraging illicit sexual desires.

Remember that the next time you’re popping open a box of Kelloggs Frosties. Then again, perhaps you should reconsider instead. It isn’t exactly the most appetizing thought to be bringing to the breakfast table. Humor the good doctor and follow his advice. Keep your breakfast (and thoughts) pure!