What Was the American Diet Like 50 Years Ago

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at was the I. What was the American diet like 50 years ago? a) Over the past 50 years, American diets have changed from leisurely family meals that were usually prepared at home using natural ingredients to today’s prepackaged, processed and convenience foods that are often eaten on the run with little thought towards nutrition or content. b) American diets have evolved in the last 50 years from natural ingredients to processed, high fat ingredients and will continue in the future to include convenience foods but with a greater emphasis on healthier choices. i) This wasn’t always the case. “Fifty years ago, people sitting down to a meal were simply looking for something hot, filling and, in most cases, inexpensive” (Heymsfield 142). c) Throughout the century, Americans experimented with various diets. d) In the 1950s, Adele Davis published a cookbook exploring a healthy approach to food. e) In the 1960s, there was a movement to use unprocessed food, natural ingredients and macrobiotic cooking (Klem 439). f) The notion of a balanced diet was still quite abstract. ii) People weren’t as well informed about nutrition as they are today. g) While nutritional research was revealing new information about everyday foods, the American household underwent an important structural shift (Klem 438). h) In the 1940s and 1950s women began to enter the workplace in large numbers, it was then that the country became caught up in an explosion of convenience items. iii) Time for food preparation became more limited, and the industry responded with a wide variety of pre-packaged foods. iv) Products like Bisquick, Spam, instant oatmeal, canned tomato sauce and pre-sliced American cheese began to appear (Klem 438). i) By the 1950s, the refrigerator had replaced the old-fashioned icebox and the cold cellar as a place to store food. v) Refrigeration, because it allowed food to last longer, made the American kitchen a convenient place to maintain readily available food stocks (Heymsfield 144). vi) This also allowed for pre-prepared foods such as TV dinners, which became very popular. j) Swanson’s was one of the first TV dinners, which came out during this time. k) Frozen dinners and fast food chains arose and became a growing trend. vii) Meals became quick and simple.

viii) People started eating things for taste and popularity, not for health reasons. l) In the 1960s and 1970s, when nutritional research really began to gain the nation's attention, food manufacturers started to offer options that were both quick and health- conscious. ix) Instant orange juice and vitamin-fortified cereals appeared (Klem 440). m) Cereals came out to make people eat more grains, but over the years, large companies have decided that to make their cereal sell, they have to make it taste better. x) They added things like sugar, candy pieces, chocolate flavors, and numerous other things which are high in calories and high in fat in order to make their product taste better. xi) This has made the idea of something healthy turn in to something less healthy over the years. n) The movement toward convenience finally caught up with movement toward healthy eating. o) This represents a drastic change from the 1950s, when people ate far more of their meals at home, with their families, and at a leisurely pace. p) "A hundred years ago there was no such thing as a snack food—nothing you could pop open and overeat," says Mollie Katzen, author of The Moosewood Cookbook and many others, and a consultant to Harvard Dining Services. xii) "There were stew pots. Things took a long time to cook, and a meal was the result of someone’s labor." q) The 1950s were also an era in which the kitchen—not the television room—was the heart of the home. r) In...
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