An Undercover Visit to Carleton Fredericks

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Carlton Fredericks Carlton Fredericks (1910-1987) was described on the covers of some of his books as "America's Foremost Nutritionist." Despite his lack of formal training and the dubious quality of his pronouncements, he earned a fortune by giving advice through publications and radio broadcasts. Records of the Magistrates' Court of New York City show that during the mid-1940s, Fredericks also "diagnosed" patients and prescribed vitamins for their illnesses. After agents of the New York State Department of Education consulted him as "patients," Fredericks was charged with unlawful practice of medicine. In 1945, after pleading guilty, he paid a fine of $500 (rather than spend three months in jail) and joined the rolls of those with criminal convictions in connection with nutrition frauds. In the document below, pne investigator reported that Fredericks had pulled several times on her left arm and diagnosed poor circulation in the arm due to "nerve pressure" in her shoulder. Quackwatch has additional information on Fredericks.


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MILLIE BERG, being duly sworn, deposes and says:

I am a Special Investigator employed by the State Department of Education of ·the State of New York.

I saw the defendant at premises 11 West 42nd Street, Borough of Manhattan, City, County and State of New York, on May 26th and June 8th, 199, and' spoke with the defendant by telephone on dune 5th and 9th, 1944, and received medical treatment and advice from said defendant.

I am setting forth herein more particularly the incidents which occurred on May 26th, 1944. On that date I went to defendant's premises, accompanied by Special Investigator Edna Aaron and we saw the defendant. The defendant invited us into his office. Mrs. Aaron told him that Mrs. Lewis could not keep the appointment and so Mrs. Aaron had come along with me. Defendant asked my name, age, address and noted my answers on a sheet of paper. I gave him my name as Mrs. M. Keller, 604 Empire Boulevard, age 54. Defendant asked me what my problem was. I told him that I had little appetite and when I forced myself to eat, I got drowsy and full of gas, also that I belched a good deal. I told him that I was depressed at times and I always wanted to be left alone because I became very irritable. Defendant asked me if I passed my menopause. I said that I had. Defendant asked me if I still got hot spells. I told him that I did not get them so often during the day, but I perspire a good deal through the· night. Defendant asked me if I was constipated and if I noticed any pimples or rashes on my body. I told him that I was constipated and I drank prune juice every morning. I said that I did not notice any pimples but I did get a rash all over my body a few weeks ago after I ate strawberries. Defendant said that it was not unusual. for a woman to get an allergy after her menopause. Defendant asked me if I had arthritis or neuritis. I told him that I did not know if I had either. Edna Aaron said that I had been complaining about pains in my shoulder and arm. Defendant asked me how long I had these pains. I said several months. He told me to stand up and he felt the pulse of my left hand. Defendant told me not to resist him and he pulled my arm a number of times while he held my pulse. After he did this he said there was a nerve pressure in my shoulder which caused poor blood circulation through that arm. Defendant said that he could tell that because there I had no pulse beat when he made the test. Defendant said  that I was lacking certain vitamins but he would have to experiment to find which ones I lacked. He handed me a slip of' paper and told me to write down the foods - ate and drank for the last three meals and he left the room. I wrote what foods I ate and when he returned, defendant said that he had ordered, the medicines for me, that they were not drugs, but only vitamins. Defendant said that mine was not an odd case, that he had many patients with similar complaints but they overcame them. He told me to be sure to get the medicine and if I cooperated with him, I would feel better. He read the list of foods which I had written and said that I was not getting the proper foods. He wrote the things that I was to have for breakfast and lunch on a memo pad bearing his name and then spoke about my weight. He said that I was overweight, asked me how much I weighed and how much I should weigh and then said that he would not start me on a reducing diet until he saw the results of the vitamins. He marked two lists of food on Page 44 of a book "Lessons in Living,” circled other foods on page 47 which he told me not to have. He noted this on the same sheet of paper. He checked another list of foods in a small book "Constructive Reduction Diet", and gave it to me. He said that if the 1400 calorie diet was too much for me, to follow the 1800 calorie diet. He noted the dosage of the liquid and tablets that he prescribed on another slip of paper and the pharmacy that I was to go to to get them on another sheet of paper and gave all of them to me. He said that if I did not feel better he would send me to his doctor that cooperates with him to get my metabolism checked and to get a picture of my intestines after I drink some white liquid.  Defendant said if he had that he would be able to see what really was wrong with me. He said that I may have to get same injections of hormones. I asked defendant if what he gave me would stop my perspiring at night. He said yes, because I would be getting the vitamins that I was lacking. He asked Mrs. Aaron how she and Mrs. Lewis were feeling. She said that she did not note much of a change but Mrs. Lewis was feeling a lot better. Defendant told me to feel free to call him as soon as I noticed any disturbances and he would tell me which of the vitamins to discontinue and in any event, to call him in two weeks. I asked the best time to call him. He said after 3:00 PM because he broadcasts early in the afternoon. I asked what station. He said he could not be heard in New York, but on an out of town hook up. I paid him $10.00.

(Signed) Millie Berg

Sworn to before me this
2nd day of Nov. 1944
R. Mahoney, City Magistrate.

This page was posted on June 24, 2006.

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