Category Archives: Foods & Drinks of the 1980’s

New USDA MyPlate dietary guidelines vs. food nutrition in the 1980’s

ChooseMyPlate.govSince the USDA just recently introduced a new plate icon to replace the food pyramid, I thought it would be fun to find documentation on food and nutrition in the 1980’s. Low and behold, I found a document called “Nutrition and Your Health – Guidelines for Americans” dated February of 1980. The “Nutrition and Your Health” documentation was created by the USDA and HHS and was a set of 7 Dietary Guidelines Statements in a 20-page booklet. This became the 1st edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

With the new “MyPlate” dietary guidelines (pictured), your plate should be filled one-half with fruits and vegetables. On the other half it is suggested that you have whole grains and lean protein. And according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture you should also have a low-fat dairy on the side such as a cup of skim milk or yogurt.

On the flip side, according to the 1980 “Nutrition and Your Health” documentation, to assure ourselves of an adequate diet we should have been eating a variety of foods. However, it also states that there is no known advantages to consuming excess amounts of any nutrient. The document doesn’t have a graph or pyramid but it does list what we should have been eating in the ’80s; Fruits, Vegetables, Whole grain and enriched breads, cereals, and grain products, Milk (doesn’t say skim, 2%, etc.), cheese, yogurt, meats (doesn’t say lean), poultry, fish, eggs and something our new “MyPlate” icon doesn’t have: Legumes (dry peas and beans).

Food Pyramid Mini Poster
MyPyramid was released in April 2005 and replaces the Food Guide Pyramid (1992), the widely recognized nutrition education tool. Now in 2011, the USDA's MyPlate icon replaces the Food Pyramid.

Additionally, the 1980 “Nutrition and Your Health – Guidelines for Americans” document gives information on maintaining an ideal weight, avoiding too much fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, eating foods with adequate starch and fiber, avoiding too much sugar, avoiding too much sodium and drinking alcohol in moderation.

Today’s dietary guidelines are geared towards enjoying your food but eating less, avoiding oversized portions, switching to fat-free or low-fat 1% milk, comparing (and hopefully reducing) sodium in foods such as soup, bread and frozen meals. Today’s dietary guidelines also suggest drinking water instead of sugary drinks.

In this day and age of super-sizing fast food, obese children and food related illnesses, it’s nice to know the USDA is actively looking out for us, our kids and generations to come. If you are interested in becoming a USDA/CNPP National Communicators Network Partner or National Strategic Partner, visit the USDA/CNPP Nutrition Communicators Network webpage.

Sources: CNN News, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion,

Pop Rocks Candy

Pop Rocks Candy packageJust last week I attended a meeting, walked into the large ballroom, found my chair — and you’ll never guess what I found on my seat. Well, maybe you will guess since you are reading an article named Pop Rocks Candy. Yes, it was a small package of Pop Rocks! It was stapled to a “You Rock” message, but who cares about the message. I was just transformed back to my youth and could feel my tongue tingle already.

Prior to this meeting, I haven’t had Pop Rocks since the 1980’s. A few of my cohorts sitting beside me kind of made a face signaling they weren’t going to eat them. Being that I have three small children at home, I quickly scoffed up the unwanted Pop Rock packages. Later that evening after dinner, I couldn’t wait to show my two oldest children the surprise I brought home today (after all, at 4 and 8 years-old they are candy gurus you know). I asked them to close their eyes and open their mouths. After sprinkling a few Pop Rocks on their tongues, I couldn’t wipe the smiles off of their faces. Yes! The look I was after and one that I had when I first tried Pop Rocks candy.

What are Pop Rocks anyway?

Pop Rocks is a carbonated candy with ingredients including sugar, lactose (milk sugar), corn syrup, and flavoring. It differs from typical hard candy in that it creates a fizzy reaction when it dissolves in the mouth.

When were Pop Rocks invented and who invented it?

The concept was patented by General Foods research chemist William A. Mitchell in 1956. The candy was first offered to the public in 1975.

The Pop Rocks Urban Legend

If you’ve heard of Pop Rocks, you are likely to have heard about it’s urban legend. There was a rumor that eating Pop Rocks and drinking cola would cause a person’s stomach to explode. This is, in part, caused by the false assumption that Pop Rocks contain an acid/base mixture (such as baking soda and vinegar) which produces large volumes of gas when mixed through chewing and saliva. One of these myths involved a child named Mikey from the Life cereal commercials. Mikey was rumored to have died after eating a Pop Rocks and cola mixture. This rumor is false and the actor John Gilchrist, who played Mikey, is alive.

How are Pop Rocks made?

Pop Rocks candy is made by mixing its ingredients and heating them until they melt into dust, then exposing the mixture to pressurized carbon dioxide gas and allowing it to cool. The process causes tiny high pressure bubbles to be trapped inside the candy. When placed in the mouth, coming into contact with saliva the candy breaks and dissolves, releasing the carbon dioxide from the tiny bubbles, resulting in a popping and sizzling sound and leaving a slight tingling sensation.

How many flavors does Pop Rocks offer?

A large variety. Strawberry, Watermelon, Tropical, Blue Razz, Original Cherry, Cotton Candy, Grape and Strawberry Sugar Free are available year round. Pop Rocks Bubble Gum and Pop Rocks Dips are also available in a standard way. But also look for all the new limited editions that are launched regularly: Chocolate, Pumpkin Patch Orange and Candy Cane.


Where can I buy Pop Rocks?

There are many places you can purchase Pop Rocks candy:, Walgreens, Kmart,,,, eBay, Blair Candy Company.