People are increasingly concerned about what to eat in order to be healthy and to obtain or maintain a proper weight. This has resulted in a trend toward less meat and more plant-foods in the diets of many Americans. However, information on diet programs promulgated by scientists, commercial sources, and governmental agents often offer conflicting conclusions. Here are some highlights of recent developments on diet advice – in particular, the famous Four Food Groups .

Since 1916, the United States Department of Agriculture has periodically issued food guides. After several versions, in 1956 it recommended its Basic Four Food Groups in its Leaflet, Food For Fitness – A Daily Food Guide. The government’s Basic Four involved

(1) meats, poultry, fish, dry beans and peas, eggs, and nuts;

(2) dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt;

(3) grains; and

(4) fruits and vegetables.

Until 1992 this combination of foods was a mainstay of nutrition education in the United States and was considered almost the definitive word on nutrition by the vast majority of Americans.

The Four Food Groups, Old and New – Jewish Veg


Just make the mainstay of your diet whole grains , fruit/veg , add in whole dairy as well as eggs, “clean” meats like the white meats fish turkey chicken  , not pork products it’s an unclean animal meat not fit for consumption like a rat , snake etc .

There really are no bad foods in 3 of the 4 food groups depending on how you prepare them  ie: potatoes are excellent for you unless they are deep fried  [ french fries] There are bad meats in the animal , sea , fowl , group, unclean as the bible teaches , stay away from them like the pig .

The revised food groups made in 1992 make no sense , oils are not a food group , neither are sweets which are part of the 5 or 7 modern day food groups .

When I googled “4” food group charts , one of the links was” whatever happened to the 4 food groups”.   I had to laugh .

No, there’s not  5 or 7 food groups , but “4”  .  Keep it simple, as Einstein said .

It’s funny , when was the last time you heard the old saying ” to ensure you get all 6 essential nutrients eat from all “4 ” food groups ? . Well ,  one of the points made on the food group site was ,” to ensure you get all 6 essential nutrient’s eat from all” 4″ food groups . That goes against what you hear today .  Being told [whole] dairy and even whole grains [ carbs]  are bad for one’s health  .

 Does it sink in !!! ?  about how “whole” dairy and “whole” grains are “2” of the” 4″ original food groups , how important are they ?  yet in this modern time today , we have been led to believe that whole grains [ Paleo, Atkins, Ketosis]  and whole dairy are unhealthy , completely untrue .

No , the dairy industry did not conspire or pay off the food industry to make them one of the four food groups , complete utter nonsense .

When you google “basic food groups”  they have protein , oils , sweets as a food groups etc ! which makes no sense .  Macro”nutrient’s [ protein]  are not a food group , foods are , that’s why it’s called “food” groups .

Remember that saying ” if it’s new , it can’t be true , and if it’s true , it’s not new ” and how it goes perfectly with modern times changing from the original true correct “4” food groups to the modern 3, 5, or 7 food groups .

                                                   [ Basic Vitamins in each group ]

1] Grains –  Mostly B and E
2] Whole Dairy – A, B, D
3] Fruit/ Veg –  A and C some K
4] Meats [ which includes nuts, poultry  !!!]  A,  B,  some E.

Key point :

Just listen to your body , always keeping these 4 food groups in mind , which group is your body more or less craving .  When you are deficient in a vitamin your body will crave foods that contain that vitamin.  Think about it !!! .

Whatever Happened to the Basic Four Food Groups?

What Ever Happened to the Basic Four

The USDA was originally given the conflicting task of educating the public on agricultural matters while simultaneously working with food producers to provide a reliable and consistent food supply. This has, over the course of time, led to our ever evolving dietary guidelines, and yet is the purpose of these guidelines for our health or to sell more food?

Would You Believe There Were Once 12 Food Groups?

The food guides during the 1930’s were heavily influenced by The Great Depression and at that time included 12 separate groups!

In 1956 the USDA produced the “Basic Four” food guide. The Dairy Industry was so enthusiastic they heavily promoted the plan, and why not; since milk, eggs and butter were suggested as a separate food group, it only made sense that the Dairy Industry would be quite pleased.

In grade school in the 1960s we were taught three square meals a day were what was best, and any other eating was considered a “snack.” What is a snack? Is it extra food when you’re not hungry? Is it something to do when your bored? Is it a social activity (standing around a table laden with food at a party)?

And just what was a square meal? It was based on the “Basic Four Food Groups” as they were defined at that time:

1. Milk
2. Meat
3. Fruit & Vegetables
4. Grains

Four groups, four sides, four square! Neat. Easy. People could “get” this, and that was the point. Make it easy enough for the average person to understand.

In the 1970’s research began making a case that the over consumption of certain foods such as fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, increased chances for heart disease and diabetes and thereby caused the USDA to attempt to further modify their guidelines.

This was met with scorn, ridicule and very heavy resistance from the meat and dairy industries. They fought tooth-and-nail to keep the guidelines as they were, but to no avail. Eventually we ended up with the Food Pyramid.

Big Foods Wins Again

In 1988 and 1989, the USDA produced the Eating Right Pyramid, emphasizing grains and other plant foods, and de-emphasizing animal products. It was set for approval in 1991. Just prior to it’s scheduled release the meat, dairy, and egg lobbyists finally took notice and heavily attacked the plan due for it’s misrepresentation on their products.

Complaints were made to the Secretary of Agriculture, Edward R. Madigan, that this pyramid would hurt the sales of beef. The National Milk Producers Association joined in the fight, and within weeks the new Eating Right Pyramid was withdrawn. Big food wins again! Secretary Madigan gave as his reason for the withdrawal that the plan was, “confusing to children.”

Next came the protests from the American Cancer Society, the American Medical Association and other health and medical organizations over the withdrawal of the pyramid. In July 1991 a private firm was hired, and charged with the task of testing the pyramid on a select group of children and those with minimal education. The resulting $855,000 study determined the plan was indeed sound, and it was again scheduled for release.

In April 1992 the Eating Right Pyramid was released, one year late due to the 33 changes demanded by the meat and dairy industries, nearly all of which were incorporated into the design.

Keep in mind that the dietary guidelines are a product of the food manufacturers greater needs (selling more product) with a rough balance of the health industry’s attempt to influence public opinion.

The Eating Right Pyramid Attacked by Atkins Diet and Other Low Carb Diets

Today, in the early 2000s, we are again revising the USDA’s recommendations. Formerly heavily leaning toward the consumption of breads and cereals (it never made a point of being specific about grains, but it make sense. The food industry is interested in selling processed grains, not whole grains), it appears we’ll soon move back to the plan of the early 1930s which emphases meat and dairy, or maybe not. Only time will tell who will win the fight this time around. And the cycle continues. What’s up next for our dietary guidelines is anyone’s guess, which is why I suggest the common sense diet.

Eat good food and more of it. End of story.

~~ Kathryn Martyn, Master NLP Practitioner, EFT counselor, author of the free e-book: Changing Beliefs, Your First Step to Permanent Weight Loss, and owner of

4 thoughts on “The Original “4” basic food groups :

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