WASHINGTON -- Meat and dairy products should be dropped from the "basic four food groups" taught to American schoolchildren since 1956, a physicians organization urged yesterday.
Instead of the traditional dietary groupings of meat, dairy products, grains and fruits/vegetables, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine proposed a "new four food groups" of grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits.
"The meat and dairy groups were the principal sources of cholesterol and saturated fat, which are the biggest culprits in raising blood cholesterol. These foods are simply not necessary in the human diet," said Virginia Messina, a nutritionist with the Physicians Committee.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture popularized the "basic four food groups" in 1956. Since then, the groupings have been taught in countless elementary schools.