J Nutr. 1986 Jul; 116(7): 1355-63.
History of promotion of vegetable cereal diets.
Vegetarian regimes have been advocated since the eighteenth century by men and women in search of physical and spiritual health. Vegetarian theorists who professed to follow the tenets of the ancient philosopher Pythagoras believed that the diet should be part of an ascetic lifestyle. Others who promoted vegetarianism did so to symbolize their commitment to health and social reform. In the 1830s vegetarians in the United States, particularly Sylvester Graham and his followers, preached that special foods, mainly coarse whole meal breads, had particular virtues and were indeed the earliest health foods. Nutritional ideas and products that are the outcomes of the early vegetarian movement include a commitment to high fiber diets, the popularity of breakfast cereals, and the graham cracker.