Horace Fletcher (1849-1919): "The Great Masticator."

J Hist Dent. 1997 Nov;45(3):95-100.


Horace Fletcher (1849-1919), nicknamed "The Great Masticator," was a well known and influential food and health faddist in early 20th century North America. As a man of virtually limitless energy, Fletcher became a world traveler, millionaire businessman, amateur painter, speaker, and author, and self-taught nutritionist who perfected and fanatically distributed his doctrine of "Fletcherism," for 24 years (from 1895 to 1919). This dogma taught that all food must be deliberately masticated and not swallowed until it turned to liquid. Fletcher believed that prolonged chewing precluded overeating, led to better systemic and dental health, helped to reduce food intake, and consequently, conserved money. People were cautioned not to eat except when they were "good and hungry," and to avoid dining when they were angry or worried. They were also told that they could eat any food that they wanted, as long as they chewed it until the "food swallowed itself." This article explores the development of Fletchrism during the early 1900s.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Diet Fads / history*
  • Dietetics / history*
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Mastication
  • United States

Personal name as subject

  • H Fletcher