For 85 years, the U.S. government has published nutritional eating guides that divide food into basic groups. Those who miss the "Basic Four" might not realize it was once the "Basic Seven." Here are some nutritional milestones:
— In 1916, the first daily food guide used five food groups: milk and meat, cereals, vegetables and fruits, fats and fat foods, and sugars and sugary foods.
— 1933: Weekly family food plans are devised using 12 major food groups: milk; potatoes and sweet potatoes; dry beans, peas and nuts; tomatoes and citrus fruits; leafy green and yellow vegetables; other vegetables and fruits; eggs; lean meat, poultry and fish; flours and cereals; butter; other fats; and sugars.
— 1942: The "Basic Seven" included green and yellow vegetables; oranges, tomatoes and grapefruit; potatoes and other vegetables and fruit; milk and milk products; meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dried peas and beans; bread, flour and cereals; and butter and fortified margarine. This guide suggested alternate choices in light of World War II food shortages.
— 1956: The "Basic Four" advised two servings of milk and milk products; two servings of meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dry beans and nuts; four servings of fruits and vegetables; and four servings of grain products. It was intended to give Americans a foundation diet and meet only a portion of caloric and nutrient needs.
— 1979: The USDA adds a fifth food group (fats, sweets and alcohol) to the "Basic Four" and recommended they be used in moderation.
— 1980: The first Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released in by the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services and have been revised every five years since then.
— 1992: The current Food Guide Pyramid replaces the "Basic Four."