Better Nutrition in the 1980s, Part 1

2018 marks Better Nutrition’s 80th year in print. Travel through time with us as we highlight popular diet and food trends by decade. In the spotlight this month: Fit for Life.

Celebrating Better Nutrition 80 years.

Marilyn and Harvey Diamond were a husband-and-wife team* who rocked the nutrition world in 1985 with the release of Fit for Life. The couple’s approach to nutrition centered on one prevailing theory: it’s not what you eat, but when and how you eat it.

“Food combining is based on the discovery that certain combinations of food may be digested with greater ease and efficiency than others,” say the authors.

“Food combining is based on the discovery that certain combinations of food may be digested with greater ease and efficiency than others,” say the authors. “The human body is not designed to digest more than one concentrated food in the stomach at the same time.”

What’s a concentrated food? Anything other than fruits and vegetables. This means mixing proteins with starches is off limits, and consuming starches with other starches is not a good idea; however, the Diamonds allow for some leeway with starches, as carbs are easier than protein to digest, they say.

Food combining may have fallen out of favor, but Fit for Life’s focus on eating more fresh fruits and vegetables is as relevant today as 33 years ago.

8 foods that were popular in the ’80s

8 foods that were popular in the ’80s: TCBY frozen yogurt.

  1. Capri Sun
  2. Diet Coke
  3. Fruit Roll-Ups
  4. Hubba Bubba Gum
  5. Jell-O Pudding Pops
  6. Lean Cuisine
  7. TCBY Frozen Yogurt
  8. Tri-color pasta salad

Fit for Life Breakfast Guidelines

In a word: fruit. That’s the gist of Harvey and Marilyn Diamond’s food prescription, particularly where breakfast is concerned.

“The reason we instinctively crave fruit is that fruit, without any question, is the most important food we can put into the human body. It is the one food that the human species is biologically adapted to,” say the Diamonds. They list six breakfast rules in their book:

  1. Start your day with fresh fruit juice if you desire. Recommended quantity: 8–14 oz.
  2. Throughout the morning, have pieces of fruit as you feel hungry.
  3. Have a minimum of two servings of fruit in any three-hour period.
  4. Your maximum fruit intake should be governed by your needs. Have as much as you desire. Do not undereat or overeat fruit!
  5. Eat melons before other fruit.
  6. Eat bananas when you are particularly hungry and are craving heavier food.

The Story of Better Nutrition 

Better Nutrition was founded by Jack Schwartz in 1938. Schwartz returned from the military with a business idea—start a magazine about nutrition. He loved helping friends and family find natural solutions to health problems, and he figured others would be interested in this too. He saw an opportunity to fill a niche and, at the same time, satisfy his passion for health and nutrition. And just like that, Better Nutrition magazine was born. Fall back in time with us this year as we revisit popular trends in nutrition, vitamins, recipes, and more with this limited-edition section.

*Marilyn and Harvey Diamond have since divorced, but both are still advocates of healthy living and good nutrition. 

80 Years of Better Nutrition: