Over Thanksgiving Break I was visiting family in Washington, DC. After the tenth annual Trot for Hunger to benefit So Others May Eat, I passed by the National Archives and saw their sign for an intriguing exhibition, “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?: The Government’s Effect on the American Diet”.
I stopped in the next day to check it out.
Here are some of the highlights:
- We’ve all become familiar with the changing Food Pyramid recommendations from the USDA, which are now known as myPlate for portion size recommendations on the various food groups. Few of us know that this has been in place for over sixty years. In 1943 there was a food group wheel guide that recommends eating any other foods you want in addition to the Basic 7, which included butter in its own food group!
- In 1916 there was a tilefish poster that was part of a series of advertisements encouraging citizens to eat fish instead of meat. Fish is still recommended as a healthy meat choice these days, although tilefish has become exposed to high levels of mercury in recent years making it a choice not highly recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
- There were even examples of product label advertising in 1906 that made unsubstantiated claims about the healthful properties of food during the discovery of vitamins. Sound familiar (some 105 years later)?
You can visit more of their links here if you can’t make it to our nation’s capitol before the exhibit ends January 2nd.
- Changing face of food recommendations