Maximilian Bircher-Benner

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Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner
Born (1867-08-22)August 22, 1867
Aarau, Switzerland
Died January 24, 1939(1939-01-24) (aged 71)
Zürich, Switzerland
Occupation Physician, nutritionist
Known for Created muesli

Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner, M.D. (August 22, 1867 – January 24, 1939) was a Swiss physician and a pioneer nutritionist who created muesli.


He was born on August 22, 1867 in Aarau. He attended medical school in Zurich. In 1897 he opened a nutritional clinic in Zurich. He died on January 24, 1939 in Switzerland.[1]


At his sanatorium in Zürich, a balanced diet of raw vegetables and fruit was used as a means to heal patients, contrary to the beliefs commonly held at the end of the 19th century.[2]

He is best known for the invention of the muesli cereal, although his invention differs significantly from what is today known as muesli, and in Switzerland specifically as Bircher Müesli.[3]

Bircher-Benner changed the eating habits of the late 19th century. Instead of much meat and white bread, he postulated eating fruit, vegetables and nuts. His ideas included not only controlled nutrition, but also spartan physical discipline. At his Zürich sanatorium off Bircher-Benner-Platz, the patients had to follow a somewhat monastic daily schedule including early bedtime (21:00), physical training and active gardening work. His theory of life was based on harmony between people and nature. Some of his ideas originate from observing the daily life of shepherds in the Swiss Alps, who lived a simple and healthy life.


In the late 20th century, after closure of the sanatorium, it was briefly a student hostel. It has since been purchased by Zürich Financial Services, and is named the Zürich Development Center. It is used for executive training, and also houses an extensive private art collection.

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