Obesity levels in the US had remained between 12 to 14 percent from 1960 to 1980. After 1980 – and especially after 1990 – obesity rates grew dramatically. The low-fat diet craze had begun in earnest, and low-fat diet books and programs multiplied and thrived for the next decade.
Weight loss support groups began to be popular, one being TOPS (Take off Pounds Sensibly) and if you maintained your desired weight, you graduated into the KOPS group (Keeps Off Pounds Sensibly). There were weekly meetings where women shared their successes and challenges and a “weight-in. If at the weekly meetings, the scale revealed that the person had gained weight, they had to stand in the “pig” line and and as a group were made to sing the following to the tune of the Yale “Wiffenpoof Song”:
We are fat little pigs who ate too much, fat, fat, fat
We are stout little pigs who can’t resist food, food, food
Pounds can be lost if you’re really sincere
Pledge to TOPS for a year
Willpower helps us to be KOPS
TOPS, TOPS, TOPS
And then they paid a fine. Talk about fat shaming!
The dietary guidelines went into overdrive with the advice to eat more carbohydrates. Food companies promptly began to take the fat out of their products and replace it with more sugar. By 1990, the Food Guide Pyramid recommended 6-11 servings a day from the Bread, Cereal, Rice and Pasta Group. Problem solved?
You can guess what happened – OBESITY, THAT’S WHAT!! Now what?