Hamburgers, and nothing but, in a man in the 1930s

The Minnesota Medical foundation described, a while ago, a hamburgers-and-human experiment that took place a good while before that. Their blog in 2008 called it “an unusual hamburger experiment” done in the 1930s by Jesse McClendon [pictured here] of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Physiological Chemistry. Some details:

He planned to feed a single experimental subject only White Castle hamburgers—including the bun, onions, and pickles—and water for 13 weeks.

A willing subject presented himself: Bernard Flesche, a U of M medical student working his way through school. Flesche kept a diary during the ordeal. “He started out very enthusiastic about eating 10 burgers at a sitting,” notes his daughter, Deirdre Flesche, “but a couple of weeks into it, he was losing his enthusiasm.” His sister frequently tried to tempt him with fresh vegetables, but Flesche allowed nothing but White Castle Slyders™ to pass his lips….

As described there, the experiment was part of a public relations campaign run by the man who owned the White Castle hamburger shops.

(Thanks to investigator Dany Adams for bringing this to our attention.)

BONUS: We have not managed to find a published report by McClendon. If you know of one, we’d love to see it.

BONUS:  Nancy Shute’s report, on NPR, about a recent experiment giving (bunless, pickle-less) burgers to mice. (Thanks to investigator Scott Langill for bringing it to our attention.)