Dr Carlton Fredericks (1910-1987) was born Harold Frederick Caplan, in Brooklyn, New York and changed his name at the beginning of his radio career. He attended a class for gifted children, before graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Alabama, with a major in English and a minor in Political Science, after earning a fellowship, in his freshman year.

In 1937, Fredericks had a job writing advertising copy for the US Vitamin Company. He got involved in prescribing vitamins, which he wasn’t qualified to do. He pleaded guilty to a charge of ‘Unlawful Practice of Medicine’ in New York in 1945, getting a 3 month suspended sentence and a $500 fine. Using a US inflation calculator, that’s the quivalent of over $7000 dollars in 2020.

Fredericks enrolled at New York University’s School of Education, graduating in 1949 with a Masters in Public Health Education. In the postscript to Dr Carlton Fredericks’ Low Carbohydrate Diet, Dr Herman Goodman states that Dr Fredericks earned his PhD in the same subject. Wikipedia claims that the PhD was earned in Communications, in 1955. Either way, Fredericks was NOT a qualified medical doctor. He was an Associate Professor of Public Health, at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Fredericks wrote fourteen books on nutrition, of which Dr Carlton Fredericks’ Low-Carbohydrate Diet, was his second. The book was published in March 1965 and this copy is a 7th printing, from November 1974. it cost $1.50 in the USA, and 35p in the UK. His first book, Eat, Live and Be Merry (1951) sold more than 2 million copies, in paperback. Copies were seized by the FDA in 1961, which accused him of ‘false labelling’. The Century Food Company, of Varna. Illinois had been including a copy of the book with vitamin packs, without his permission, it turned out.

After a stint as a radio host in New York, for WMGM , Fredericks moved to WOR in 1957 and stayed there for over thirty years, until his death in 1987. (A heavy smoker, he died of a heart attack in St John’s Riverside Hospital, in Yonkers, New York). His nutrition show, Design for Living, was broadcast six days a week and syndicated across the US.

Dr Herman Goodman claims that even while the Harvard Nutrition Department was calling the broadcasts ‘unqualified’ and ‘misleading’, teachers were using his nutrition broadcasts in the health unit of high school classes.

Fredericks was a controversial figure, often called a crackpot. Goodman claims, that despite all the noise from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission – even the Inland Revenue Department, not one of those bodies was able to lay charges for any wrongdoing.

Fredericks brought the controversies over a Salk vaccine, possible carcinogenic effects of birth control pills, and the antioxidant BHT to a wider American audience, to name but three.

The book begins by including the full Letter on Corpulence by Royal undertaker William Banting, in 1864. It’s worth buying Dr Carlton Fredericks’ Low-Carbohydrate Diet, for that alone. It’s the well from which all modern low carb diets flow.

Carlton Fredericks’ book mentions that physicians treating the Earl of Salisbury for obesity, used a version of Banting’s diet, calling it the Mahda diet and attributing Salisbury steak, to the Earl.

The jury is out on the Mahda diet, but Salisbury steak was named after its creator, Dr James H Salisbury MD (1823-1905). He was another doctor advocating a low carb diet for health. Salisbury Steak – Smithsonian

Fredericks mentions Pennington, without further explanation. Dr A W Pennington MD produced a study, ‘Treatment of Obesity in Calorically Unrestricted Diets’ which was published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in 1953.
Diet Doctor@ Low carb hih fat diet from 1953

Dr Herman Taller MD (1906-1984), a Romanian-born American doctor, was another proponent of the low carb diet. His book, Calories Don’t Count (1961) sold over two million copies. However, the FDA took Taller to court, because early printings of the book, endorsed a specific brand of safflower oil capsules. Dr Taller’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, stood by him, but he was found guilty of ‘Mail Fraud’ and ”Conspiracy’ in 1967, Taller was fined $7000 ( equivalent of over $53,735 in 2020) and put on probation for two years.

During this 1961-1967 period, Dr Carlton Fredericks was called before a US Senate committee and the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study which Fredericks believed to be based on the work of Banting, Pennington and Taller.
JAMA abstract

This is the context into which Fredericks introduces his own diet, known as CFLC (Carlton Fredericks’ Low Carbohydrate) and he writes: ” we are dealing with a method of reducing, which is more neglected, than new”

Fredericks says that there is only one thing, which users of his CFLC Diet must do, and that is: ” to restrict your carbohydrate intake to less than 60 grams per day”. That is low carb, but by generally accepted levels, it isn’t ketogenic.

The book contains a height/weight chart and a table of carb-counted foods, including products such as Triscuits, Betty Crocker’s Devil’s Food Cake mix (424.7g grams of carbs) and home-made recipes eg 1/6th of a Shoo-Fly pie – 70.6 grams of carbs. This table covers pages 47 to 127 and may be useful, if accurate.

Dr Fredericks advises staying away from your scales for the first two weeks of a low carb diet, as 50% of dieters evidently give up in this stage. He gives a list of excuses, for when dieters don’t stick to CFLC including a horrible boss. a tempting dessert and the mother-in-law, but the excuses can each only be used once. His tips reveal a good sense of humour.

Thhere are a couple of food plans, but literally only a few recipes:

Whipped topping
Cottage cheese magnifique
Sugarless custard
Coupe au black cherry
Cranberry sherbert
Frozen coffee whip
Fresh peaches with sherry
Melon mousse
Apple-foam confection
Ginger ale fizzes

Fredericks uses saccharin crystals, non-fat milk powder, instant coffee powder, Sucaryl, sugar-free carbonated soda, as well as advocating cottonseed oil, skimmed milk, and margarine. He doesn’t allow butter and fried food should be fried in a Teflon-coated frying pan.

If you can’t get Banting’s entire Letter on Corpulence elsewhere, a cheap copy of this book is worth buying. Otherwise, it’s pretty much a NO. There are better books out there.

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