The Bizarre Reason Kellogg's Corn Flakes Were Invented

One of the most common breakfast foods in America is cereal. However, the first breakfast cereal, known as Granula, was not an immediate hit with consumers, according to Smithsonian. The original concoction was first produced in 1863 by a doctor and health guru named James Caleb Jackson, who developed it as a potential cure for illnesses. Granula consisted of graham flour that was baked into cakes, crumbled into smaller pieces, and then baked again. This obviously does not sound overly appetizing, but the biggest problem with it was that it was essentially inedible unless it was soaked overnight in milk. While Jackson's original attempt tanked, another man took his idea and revolutionized the cereal industry, though his motives could definitely be considered a bit more... bizarre.

These days, you cannot walk down a grocery store cereal aisle without seeing the name Kellogg's plastered on just about every cereal box. From Apple Jacks to Fruit Loops, the cereals we love today are a far cry from the original Corn Flakes that were first created and sold by William Kellogg in 1906, per History. Though it was Dr. John Harvey Kellogg who originally began tweaking Jackson's idea, it was his brother William Kellogg who perfected it and brought it to the masses. There were many differences between the brothers, but one of the biggest turned out to be Dr. Kellogg's real reason for creating this cereal in the first place.

Eat pure foods, have pure thoughts

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg was somewhat of a health guru before that really became a thing. When he began running a branch of his Battle Creek Sanitarium in 1893, he attempted to address various ailments the patients suffered from. The root of many of the symptoms his patients dealt with he believed were linked to masturbation, according to Mental Floss. Dr. Kellogg had some interesting ideas about all things sexual in nature due to the large influence of his conservative Seventh-Day Adventist upbringing. Apparently masturbation was even worse than having sex and would cause at least "39 different symptoms," including general infirmity, mood swings, bad posture, stiff joints, and epilepsy.

Dr. Kellogg was a big believer in what is often called "biological living," according to JSTOR Daily. His belief essentially that by eating healthy, bland foods, one could curb your sexual desires and not "excite one's passions." Hence, the reason for the bland nature of Corn Flakes. Though Dr. Kellogg had all of these grandiose ideas about saving us all from sinful thoughts, his brother William Kellogg was more of a businessman and saw the potential this cereal had. He even wanted to add sugar to it, but the doctor was against that. Despite that, William Kellogg managed to build the Kellogg's company as we know it today off that one simple cereal.