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6 Snack Foods Originally Sold as Medicine

7 Snack Foods Originally Sold as Medicine-1

While you may have heard of the concept of food as medicine, it's hard to imagine that some of today's tasty snacks were once marketed as medicines or tonics. Imagine sipping on a can of Coca-Cola® to boost your wellness or munching on graham crackers to curb overstimulation. The history of these seven foods takes us on a journey through time, revealing their unexpected origins as health remedies.

1. Fig Newtons®: Digestive Aids of the Past

Initially introduced in 1892 as digestive aids, Fig Newtons were believed to address various illnesses rooted in digestion problems. What started as fig rolls evolved into the square pastries we enjoy today.

Culinary Cures- 7 Snack Foods Originally Sold as Medicine-2 Fig Newtons, a classic "fruit and cake" combination.


2. Goo Goo® Clusters: The Depression-Era Lunch

Marketed during the Great Depression as a "nourishing lunch for a nickel," Goo Goo Clusters capitalized on the idea that dessert can be for dinner — or lunch. Peanuts for protein, chocolate for calcium, and marshmallows for... well, marshmallows made this "lunch" a hit.

3. HEATH® Bar: A Pep-Up Treat

The name "Heath Bar" could very well have been "Health Bar." Packed with the finest milk chocolate, almonds, butter, and pure cane sugar, this treat was thought to pep a person up.

Culinary Cures- 7 Snack Foods Originally Sold as Medicine-3 The Heath Brothers Confectionery manufactured the first HEATH Bar in 1928.


4. Coca-Cola: A Health Elixir

Created by John Pemberton, Coca-Cola's original purpose was far from quenching thirst. Sold for a mere 5 cents at soda fountains, people believed that the carbonated beverage could enhance their overall health. Pemberton's company also dabbled in Pemberton's Indian Queen Hair Dye and Pemberton's Globe Flower Cough Syrup, showcasing the diverse products linked to the brand's early days.

5. Corn Flakes®: A Digestive Delight

John Harvey Kellogg sought to improve the diet of hospital patients when he invented Corn Flakes. Originally intended as a bread substitute to aid digestion, his brother, William Keith Kellogg's addition of sugar transformed them into the beloved breakfast cereal we know today.

Culinary Cures- 7 Snack Foods Originally Sold as Medicine-4 Corn Flakes were created to improve the diet of hospital patients.


6. 7-Up®: The Mood-Stabilizing Drink

Originally named "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda," 7-Up contained lithium citrate, a mood-stabilizing element. Widely used today to soothe upset stomachs, it wasn't until 1948 that lithium was removed from the product, marking a shift from medicinal tonic to refreshing beverage.


In retrospect, these seven foods' journey from medicine to snack highlights the evolving perceptions of health and wellness throughout history. As we savor these treats today, let's appreciate the fascinating tales behind their transformation from medicinal wonders to the snacks we know and love.

Reference: 10 Snack Foods Originally Sold as Medicines

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