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The Basic Seven

A History of Nutrition in Images

This WW-II era poster might be the first example of a nutrition infographic distributed by the U.S. government. It promotes the "Basic 7" food groups introduced by nutritional guidelines introduced in 1943 to help families eat well during food rationing. The seven food groups are as follows:

  1. Green and Yellow Vegetables
  2. Oranges, Tomatoes, Grapefruit
  3. Potatoes, Other Vegetables and Fruit
  4. Milk and Milk Products
  5. Meat, Poultry, Fish or Eggs
  6. Bread, Flour and Cereals
  7. Butter and Fortified Margarine

To ensure citizens got enough vitamins and minerals, Americans were advised to eat a food from each category every day. It's clear that overeating was not a major concern, seeing that the poster includes the comment "Eat Any Other Foods You Want." Such a statement was probably not easy to follow, as many high-calorie foods like meat, cheese, sugar, butter and dried fruit was limited by rationing.

Image via The National Archive.

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