Monday, October 24, 2011

24 October 1957 “12 Personal Diets for Better Health from 1954”

I thought today I would share with you these interesting diet plans from one of my vintage magazines. This outlines the proper amount of calories and what type of food for those calories as well as sex and age in considering the diets provided.

Here are the four crucial things this article claims will result from these diet outlines.

  1. They lower the total number of calories that should be consumed by healthy normally active Americans.
  2. They give physicians a new basis for regulating your food intake.
  3. If you are overweight they will shed your excess poundage surely and sagely.
  4. If you are underweight, they will help you gain the missing pounds you need.

“Once you have made up your  mind that good nutrition is worth while, there is only one dieting secret to learn: Food is the fuel your body burns. If you take in more fuel than your body needs, you will store it it the form of fat. If you take in less,  you burn stored-up fat.”

I love that last paragraph. So simple and straightforward. None of this modern ‘Diet Secrets” and “Hollywood Secret Diet Plans”. Simply stated, eating more than you burn results in fat storage. Burning excess comes from exercise and eating less than you need drops the pounds. Though, even with this knowledge, it can be hard. I still struggle with my weight and would love to shed some pounds.

Here are the plans which are outlined by Sex and age. To add, the substitutions to this are the following.

  1. small serving meat is 2-3 ounces
  2. Medium serving meat is  4 ounces
  3. Large serving Meat is 6 ounces
  4. Fish, fowl, cheese or eggs may be substituted  for meat.
  5. Spaghetti, grist, potato, rice, starchy beans (Lima, Kidney and Navy beans), Noodles and Macaroni may be substituted for Bread and Are interchangeable with one another.

12diet1 12diet3

12diet2 12diet4

Enjoy these and let me know what you think of them. Obviously never start a diet plan without consulting a doctor, but such guides as these are really a boon to the Homemaker, as they help in planning meals and shopping for the ingredients and list making.

Happy Homemaking.


  1. How interesting, 50's Gal. It's odd to me that a suburban woman would require more calories (and get a sundae out of it!). I always think of the suburban lifestyle as being less active than that of the city. It certainly was for me.

    I too struggle with my weight and it's hard. I do feel a lot better when I wear nice clothes so I do often. One thing I remember you said once is that you had a good check up. Those numbers are important too. Not just those on the scale.


  2. I found that rather odd, as well. I, too, when we lived in the city, walked all the time as things were just closer. Even to use public transport meant walking.
    But, maybe, in 1954 (when these diets were laid out) Suburbia was not quite what it is today. There were more places you could walk. Often the 'small town' developed near suburbia or a shopping center would be walked to with a pull basket for marketing. This was normal and there were not as many two car families as of yet.
    We were still in the beginning of the adverts to get that 'second car for the missus', so mainly a homemaker walked everywhere. There were not endless lines of SUV waiting to pick up kids at bus stops. The kids walked to school and the bus stop and if johnny needed a partner to and from school for lunch, mother did that.
    I think, overall, we just had much MORE foot traffic then. We have to remember that the auto industry REALLY got going post WWII and has lead to our diminished walking and virtually non pedestrian towns and suburbs. But, in 1954, it hadn't quite become that yet.
    Too bad, as with rising prices of fuel AND food and no increase in average pay as well as loss of jobs, being able to walk to part time jobs, grocery/marketing, schools, friends, and entertainment would certainly help all of us out.

  3. It may not be as simple as burn up more calories than you eat. Some people store more carbos as fat, then can't get at them. At least that's the basis of the Atkins diet as I understand it. I don't have a weight problem, but people who do might want to learn more. I do remember from the fifties that if people wanted to lose weight, they cut out carbohydrates completely and ate more protein.

  4. maybe the presumed need for the suburban housewife was because of the increased work required by a larger home to maintain, including yard work as opposed to a smaller apartment with no green space.

  5. I would add that the city women may have had her laundry done by a service instead of hanging it out and was less likely to be putting up food which, if you have ever done that, really brings on a 'glow'. These differences, along with other expectations of suburban housewives of the time, would likely account for the estimates of caloric requirements.


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