Since 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).
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.