Ad Courtesy of Private Collection of Bradley Keen

As bathing suit season neared in the 1950’s, many men and women turned to a new line of products called “Tasti-Diet.”  Marketed first in 1952 by Tillie Lewis, who had already made a name for herself in the food industry as owner of the Flotill Canning Company, Tasti-Diet was one of the first diet-food product lines that encouraged dieters to eat.

Though no longer a household name, Tillie Lewis is considered by some to be “America’s First Woman in Dietetic Foods.”  Tasti-Diet was featured in Good Housekeeping, and the use of the product spawned many creative recipes.  Many of the time not only lauded her ingenuity in food creation, but also her advertising prowess in the male-dominated business world of the 1950’s.

The secret?  The inventors of Tasti-Diet, Clair and Elsie Orr Weast, a Flotill employee and his nutritionist wife, perfected the process of mixing bitter saccharin with pectin to add as a flavoring to fruits and vegetables canned by Flotill.  The result?  Products like the salad dressing advertised here in an ad from a Sunday Edition of the Indianapolis Star in 1953, as well as peaches, chocolate sauce, and applesauce.


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