Dietary Timeline

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1977 Dietary Goals for the United States (the McGovern report) was issued by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs. Prior to this date, Government efforts to influence the national diet had been focused on encouraging the population to eat more of what was good for them. Dietary Goals heralded a new era in health promotion; negative nutrition. Now advice was to centre on avoiding foods that were deemed bad.

Americans were told to reduce fat intake (particularly saturated fat) by one third and cut sugar and salt by more. "They were now told not only to cut down on the amount they ate but to cut down on and even cut out many of their historic favourites. Health conscious Americans now looked at a plate of ham and eggs – declared America's favourite restaurant dish in 1942 – as a sodium-packed, cholesterol-laden, carcinogenic time bomb."

Levenstein H.A. (1993) Paradox of plenty: a social history of eating in modern America, Oxford University Press, New York, 1993.