Lelord Kordel

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Lelord Kordel
Born 1904
Warsaw, Poland
Died 2001
Occupation Health and nutrition writer

Lelord Kordel (1904 – 2001[1]) was a Polish American nutritionist and author of books on healthy living.[2]


Born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1904, Lelord Kordel emigrated with his parents to the United States as a child and grew up in Chicago, where his father worked as a baker. After university studies in Chicago, Kordel returned to Poland to continue his studies at the University of Krakow. After completion of his Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1930, he worked for two years as a scientific instructor and then took up a position as a research assistant to the British physician Sir William Arbuthnot-Lane, whose theories influenced his career as a nutritionist.

When Kordel returned to America in the early 1930s, he opened the California Nutrition Clinic in Beverly Hills. As an independent researcher and industry consultant, he developed programs for healthy living and pioneered concepts for dietary supplementation. During World War II, he conducted and supervised seminars on nutrition for the war effort and was active in the "Food and Nutrition for Victory" programs, for which he earned several awards.

After the war, Kordel began writing books on healthy living and nutrition. While living in Detroit, Michigan, Kordel traveled widely to educate the public on nutrition and balanced diets. His teachings and formulations gained a wide circle of followers, including film stars such as Zsa Zsa Gabor, Eva Gabor,[3] Gloria Swanson and Raquel Welch, who sought his advice on staying healthy and looking well.

He created a health product company in 1949, Kordel's Nutritionals.[4][5] He was also president of Detroit Vital Foods, Inc.[6]


In 1946, Kordel was convicted of misbranding dietary supplements and fined $4, 000. For example, he falsely advertised a herbal tablet "Gotu Kola," as offering "erect posture, sharp eyes, velvety skin, limbs of splendid proportions, deep chest, firm bodies, gracefully curved hips, flat abdomens and even pleasing laughter."[7]

Kordel came into dispute with the Federal Trade Commission in 1957 and Food and Drug Administration in 1961. Whilst president of Detroit Vital Foods, products from the company, "Michigan Brand Korleen Tablets" and "Frutex Fruit Salad" were discovered to be misbranded with false health claims. The products were advertised in Kordel's lectures and publications for treating practically all diseases.[8][9] After a long appeal process, Kordel was fined $10, 000 and served one year in prison in 1971.[10]

Professor of Bioethics Sana Loue in Forensic Epidemiology: Integrating Public Health and Law Enforcement, noted that:

Kordel had consistently represented in lectures and advertising material that specified chemicals could improve health and that such "natural nutrients" were the constituent elements of the products Korleen and Frutex. It was claimed that Korleen could successfully treat cirrhosis of the liver and eliminate varicose veins. Frutex was claimed to be an effective preventive strategy and cure for bleeding gums, sore throat, earache, swollen neck glands, pneumonia, and acute rheumatism. In the criminal case, both Kordel and Feldten were convicted of having violated provisions of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and were fined and sentenced to prison. A fine was also imposed on the company.[11]

Nutritionist Frederick J. Stare included Kordel's Health Through Nutrition in a list of books on nutritional quackery, which "ought not to be on anyone's shelves."[12] A review of Health Through Nutrition in The Quarterly Review of Biology, wrote that the book is "made up of such a weird concoction of science, pseudo-science, and dietary fads that it will be most difficult for the average reader to sift the authentic information from the unauthenticated claims, and to remain unaffected by the latter."[13]

Publications and lectures[edit]


  1. ^ Detroit area deaths 2001 web archive
  2. ^ "Mildred Lager: History of Her Work with Soyfoods and Natural Foods in Los Angeles" 2009, Soyinfo Center
  3. ^ Eat Your Troubles Away, Belmont Publishing, 1961 reprint of World Publishing edition (promotional copy, back cover)
  4. ^ biographical information at Kordel's website Archived 2010-03-08 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ US vs Kordel, 1969 Supreme Court. OpenJurist.
  6. ^ United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs Detroit Vital Foods, Inc. OpenJurist.
  7. ^ Herbert, Victor; Barrett, Stephen. (1985). Vitamins and "Health" Foods: The Great American Hustle. G.F. Stickley Company. p. 90
  8. ^ Kleinfeld, Vincent A; Kaplan, Alan H. (1965). Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act: Judicial and Administrative Record, 1961-1964. Commerce Clearing House. p. 755
  9. ^ Tatkon, M. Daniel. (1968). The Great Vitamin Hoax. Macmillan. p. 75
  10. ^ Barrett, Stephen; Herbert, Victor. (1994). The Vitamin Pushers: How the "Health Food" Industry is Selling America a Bill of Goods. Prometheus Books. p. 324. ISBN 978-0-87975-909-4
  11. ^ Loue, Sana. (2010). Forensic Epidemiology: Integrating Public Health and Law Enforcement. Jones and Bartlett Publishers. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-7637-3849-5
  12. ^ Stare, Frederick J. (March 10, 1964). Health Frauds and Quackery. In Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Frauds and Misrepresentations Affecting the Elderly of the Special Committee on Aging United States Senate Eighty-Eighth Congress Second Session Part 3. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 297
  13. ^ Schneider, B. Aubrey. (1952). Reviewed Work: Health Through Nutrition. by Lelord Kordel. The Quarterly Review of Biology 27 (3): 325-326.
  14. ^ Best of Health: The 100 Best Books, Sheldon Zerden, p. 465

Further reading[edit]

  • Julius Cohen. (1949). United States v. Kordel. In Materials And Problems On Legislation. The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc. pp. 109–131