Look at These Pictures of Vintage Nutrition Guides and Ads

Brooke Newberry
(Photo: )

(Image via Docsouth.unc.edu)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its first basic dietary recommendations for the nation in 1894. It wasn’t until 1943 that the USDA created the “Basic Seven” nutritional chart for recommended food groups during WWII to help citizens adjust to food shortages. The National Wartime Nutrition Guide introduced the seven groups, one of them dedicated solely to butter and margarine, and all seven of the groups seemed as though they were plucked randomly from a shopper’s grocery cart. This scrambled guide was in use from 1943 until 1956. The seven clusters were then reduced to four, forming the “Basic Four” guidelines, which were used until the common food pyramid was established in 1992.

In 2005, our food pyramid was replaced by the more abstract and consumer-confusing MyPyramid. Then in 2011, it was superseded by the simpler, easy-to-grasp “MyPlate” and its fruit and vegetable crusade.

Present-day America likes to live at the flash of a headline. What is considered good food and tabloided as ‘healthy’ is constantly changing.  Here is a look at some of the most peculiar nutrition guides and ads throughout the years. The timeless title image (see above) was actually broadcast in 1917 by the New York State Department of Health and transpires as enduring advice from the US Food Administration. We kinda hope that #3 will come back full circle in 2014. 


The Strange:

(Image via Communication History)

(Image via Flickr)

(Image via Vanishedamericana.com)

(Image via Thisislmao.com)

(Image via lostateminor.com)

(Image via Flickr)


The Scaries:

(Image via U.S. National Library of Medicine)

(Image via Boingboing.net)

(Image via Communication History)

(Image via Flickr)

Guides to the “Basic 7”:

(Image via History.nd.gov)

(Image via Vintagerecipeblog.com)

(Image via Flickr)

Our Present Day:


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