Words of Wisdom From Andy and Barney, 1964

Those of you my age or older may remember when restaurants served what was often called the “waist trimmer” meal – a burger patty without a bun and a side of tomato slices with cottage cheese. When I was in high school, our health teacher (a former wrestling coach who helped athletes make their weight class) told us if we wanted to lose weight, we should cut out sugars and starches and eat more protein foods instead.

That was the “everyone knows” advice back in the day: too many carbohydrates aren’t good for you. If you need proof, check out this clip from an old Andy Griffith episode. The relevant portion begins about 8:00 into the clip.

Keep eating that meat loaf, Andy.


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90 thoughts on “Words of Wisdom From Andy and Barney, 1964

  1. Princess Dieter

    I totally remember the Diet Platter. I even told my husband that (he’s now cut out grains/most starches, increased protein and fat). I said, “I remember in diners and lunch cafes and such, that there was always this weird thing with a hamburger patty, cottage cheese, and some lettuce/tomato, and that was for the dieters.” To me, it sounded gross as a kid. Now, I go to hoity toity Burger joints with TV chefs in charge and ask for no bun burgers and salad instead of fries. 😀 They don’t generally have cottage cheese.

    I can live without the cottage cheese.

  2. Lynda

    Ah, the memories that bought back!! How enlightened they were back then. The funny thing I find is that we are told to eat carbs and that they are healthy etc but as soon as you get “real” nutritional advice the first thing that is cut is carbs. I mean, everyone actually knows they are wrong I think. The trick is trying to get people’s heads around eating more protein and fats – that is when people think you’ve gone crazy 🙂

    In the news here today (New Zealand) is a report about how the main food being fed to the poorer families now is instant noodles – those boiled up, salty, full of carb snacks. They are cheap and kids like them. No wonder our poor people are just getting fatter.

    Carbs are the cheapest foods, like it or not.

  3. Larry

    That’s pretty good.

    I’ve been reading the works of PG Wodehouse. Wodehouse’s career began in 1902, and he was still hard at work and being published when he died in 1975. All throughout his fiction, heavier characters are constantly being told to lay off the starchy vegetables.

    Funny how what “everyone knows” changes. I watch Seinfeld episodes from the 1990s, and fat is the devil whenever diet and health is mentioned.

  4. Jo

    I came across my late grandmother’s Mrs Beeton cookbook recently (circa 1920?), and it recommended cutting back starchy food if you need to lose weight. I don’t have it to hand at the moment so I can’t give you the exact quote, but they sure knew what they were talking about.

    And then we got smart … or so we thought.

  5. Princess Dieter

    I totally remember the Diet Platter. I even told my husband that (he’s now cut out grains/most starches, increased protein and fat). I said, “I remember in diners and lunch cafes and such, that there was always this weird thing with a hamburger patty, cottage cheese, and some lettuce/tomato, and that was for the dieters.” To me, it sounded gross as a kid. Now, I go to hoity toity Burger joints with TV chefs in charge and ask for no bun burgers and salad instead of fries. 😀 They don’t generally have cottage cheese.

    I can live without the cottage cheese.

  6. Marilyn

    HAHA! Now that you mention it, I remember those “diet plates” — as you said, a burger without a bun, some cottage cheese and a little dab of lettuce. It hasn’t been that long ago. There was a little restaurant I went to some 20 years ago that had those. At the time, I didn’t know a carb from a carburetor, so I just figured it was the lower calories . . . Probably was that, too.

    And the fact that you didn’t crave ice cream two hours later to lift your falling blood sugar.

  7. Lynda

    Ah, the memories that bought back!! How enlightened they were back then. The funny thing I find is that we are told to eat carbs and that they are healthy etc but as soon as you get “real” nutritional advice the first thing that is cut is carbs. I mean, everyone actually knows they are wrong I think. The trick is trying to get people’s heads around eating more protein and fats – that is when people think you’ve gone crazy 🙂

    In the news here today (New Zealand) is a report about how the main food being fed to the poorer families now is instant noodles – those boiled up, salty, full of carb snacks. They are cheap and kids like them. No wonder our poor people are just getting fatter.

    Carbs are the cheapest foods, like it or not.

  8. Larry

    That’s pretty good.

    I’ve been reading the works of PG Wodehouse. Wodehouse’s career began in 1902, and he was still hard at work and being published when he died in 1975. All throughout his fiction, heavier characters are constantly being told to lay off the starchy vegetables.

    Funny how what “everyone knows” changes. I watch Seinfeld episodes from the 1990s, and fat is the devil whenever diet and health is mentioned.

  9. Bex

    Ah I remember in the 70s and 80s, when my gran decided she was ‘slimming’, she stopped eating bread and halved her servings of potatoes…then semi skimmed milk, brown bread and margarine became all the rage and it all went wrong..

  10. Jo

    I came across my late grandmother’s Mrs Beeton cookbook recently (circa 1920?), and it recommended cutting back starchy food if you need to lose weight. I don’t have it to hand at the moment so I can’t give you the exact quote, but they sure knew what they were talking about.

    And then we got smart … or so we thought.

  11. Marilyn

    HAHA! Now that you mention it, I remember those “diet plates” — as you said, a burger without a bun, some cottage cheese and a little dab of lettuce. It hasn’t been that long ago. There was a little restaurant I went to some 20 years ago that had those. At the time, I didn’t know a carb from a carburetor, so I just figured it was the lower calories . . . Probably was that, too.

    And the fact that you didn’t crave ice cream two hours later to lift your falling blood sugar.

  12. Be

    Great! Contrast today’s typical admonition to “clean your plate – there are starving children in Ethiopia” and hiding children indoors out of reach of “predators” with Andy releasing Opie from the table to go play outside. When we were kids we were expected to be anywhere but in the house from sunrise to sunset, especially in the summer.

    That’s one of the reasons we moved to Tennessee. The girls can play outside here without us worrying about sex offenders living three doors away or crazy drivers doing 50 mph on our street.

  13. Bex

    Ah I remember in the 70s and 80s, when my gran decided she was ‘slimming’, she stopped eating bread and halved her servings of potatoes…then semi skimmed milk, brown bread and margarine became all the rage and it all went wrong..

  14. SB

    “Daylight’s precious when you’re young” – unfortunately you realize this only when you’re older.

  15. Bruce

    One of the restaurants in town offers the “protein plate”. It is the burger, cottage cheese, tomato, and pineapple. Not too bad, but, in Northern Illinois, even in August (tomato season here), all of the restaurants still serve those delicious, hard, no flavor, pink tomatoes.

    Geez, why don’t they arrange with a local farmer to get some real tomatoes?

  16. Seth

    They still have this at many diners here in NYC. Often called the ‘Slim-Line Burger”.

    I usually go for the chopped steak, myself. I do well with tubers, so a nice, buttery baked potato on the side. Send back the rolls, though.

    Wow, I haven’t seen a burger patty listed as a waist-trimmer in decades.

  17. Dianne

    I used to order those meals decades ago — the “Dieter’s Special” — and I was thin. Hmm, maybe there’s a connection….

  18. ChrisNpiggies

    I remember that Diet Platter!
    Thanks for the video!
    “Just a little more meatloaf to fill in the chinks.”!
    Relating to yesterday’s post about freaky eaters, and today’s nostalgic video, I remember seeing an episode of “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson with a guest who was in his 80’s or 90’s and had eaten nothing but hot dogs his entire life. I can’t find it on the Internet now, though.

    That would be a great clip to have.

  19. Be

    Great! Contrast today’s typical admonition to “clean your plate – there are starving children in Ethiopia” and hiding children indoors out of reach of “predators” with Andy releasing Opie from the table to go play outside. When we were kids we were expected to be anywhere but in the house from sunrise to sunset, especially in the summer.

    That’s one of the reasons we moved to Tennessee. The girls can play outside here without us worrying about sex offenders living three doors away or crazy drivers doing 50 mph on our street.

  20. LaurieLM

    OT :::Stephanie Seneff recorded her podcast with Jimmy Moore yesterday. It will be broadcast on his show as Episode #491 on AUgust 1

  21. Anna

    I’ll hit the half century mark in about half a year, definitely old enough to remember those burger patty & cottage cheese with a slice of tomato “diet plates” on every lunch menu from Woolworth’s booths & counters to the fanciest department store restaurant. And the cottage cheese was full fat, too.

    And those cheap instant ramen noodles? They are not only high in starch, they are high in inflammatory vegetable oils, too. They are “instant” because they are precooked/fried in high PUFA oil. Add the chemical flavor packet to create a truly noxious, but cheap meal. An not just poor people eat them. The noodles show up a lot at pot luck parties in those Asian noodle salads

  22. Kate

    I love cottage cheese, especially with horseradish mixed in. Yum. The dieter’s platter sounds like a tasty lunch.

    Also, I totally agree with Lynda’s comment. In my own experience, that you are “cutting carbs” doesn’t really generate much controversy, but if people learn about the corollary – that you’re eating more fat (and, for me, that more of it is saturated animal fat) – you can expect horror stories about friends who’ve tried low carb, dire warnings regarding your cardiovascular system, and gossip about your crazy diet.

    This never fails to ocur, even at meal time, when I’m usually eating a salad with meat and eggs on it, and the amateur nutritionist sitting next to me is stuffing gobs of french friends into her gaping maw.

    The prejudice often defies common sense and clear evidence of your personal, healthy eating choices and your weight loss and fitness accomplishments.

    Kate
    getfitkatie.blogspot.com

    Never tried horseradish on cottage cheese. I confess to eating it with a little spaghetti sauce stirred in.

  23. SB

    “Daylight’s precious when you’re young” – unfortunately you realize this only when you’re older.

  24. Stephanie O.

    I have been watching the old Bob Newhart Show and the food talk is interesting. They eat eggs and bacon for breakfast and there was one episode where Bob bought Porterhouse Steaks for Emily on their anniversary.

    Now that you mention it, I believe I remember an episode in which Bob wanted to lose weight His doctor told him he needed to go on a high-protein, low carbohydrate diet.

  25. Bruce

    One of the restaurants in town offers the “protein plate”. It is the burger, cottage cheese, tomato, and pineapple. Not too bad, but, in Northern Illinois, even in August (tomato season here), all of the restaurants still serve those delicious, hard, no flavor, pink tomatoes.

    Geez, why don’t they arrange with a local farmer to get some real tomatoes?

  26. Seth

    They still have this at many diners here in NYC. Often called the ‘Slim-Line Burger”.

    I usually go for the chopped steak, myself. I do well with tubers, so a nice, buttery baked potato on the side. Send back the rolls, though.

    Wow, I haven’t seen a burger patty listed as a waist-trimmer in decades.

  27. Dianne

    I used to order those meals decades ago — the “Dieter’s Special” — and I was thin. Hmm, maybe there’s a connection….

  28. ChrisNpiggies

    I remember that Diet Platter!
    Thanks for the video!
    “Just a little more meatloaf to fill in the chinks.”!
    Relating to yesterday’s post about freaky eaters, and today’s nostalgic video, I remember seeing an episode of “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson with a guest who was in his 80’s or 90’s and had eaten nothing but hot dogs his entire life. I can’t find it on the Internet now, though.

    That would be a great clip to have.

  29. LaurieLM

    OT :::Stephanie Seneff recorded her podcast with Jimmy Moore yesterday. It will be broadcast on his show as Episode #491 on AUgust 1

  30. Anna

    I’ll hit the half century mark in about half a year, definitely old enough to remember those burger patty & cottage cheese with a slice of tomato “diet plates” on every lunch menu from Woolworth’s booths & counters to the fanciest department store restaurant. And the cottage cheese was full fat, too.

    And those cheap instant ramen noodles? They are not only high in starch, they are high in inflammatory vegetable oils, too. They are “instant” because they are precooked/fried in high PUFA oil. Add the chemical flavor packet to create a truly noxious, but cheap meal. An not just poor people eat them. The noodles show up a lot at pot luck parties in those Asian noodle salads

  31. Kate

    I love cottage cheese, especially with horseradish mixed in. Yum. The dieter’s platter sounds like a tasty lunch.

    Also, I totally agree with Lynda’s comment. In my own experience, that you are “cutting carbs” doesn’t really generate much controversy, but if people learn about the corollary – that you’re eating more fat (and, for me, that more of it is saturated animal fat) – you can expect horror stories about friends who’ve tried low carb, dire warnings regarding your cardiovascular system, and gossip about your crazy diet.

    This never fails to ocur, even at meal time, when I’m usually eating a salad with meat and eggs on it, and the amateur nutritionist sitting next to me is stuffing gobs of french friends into her gaping maw.

    The prejudice often defies common sense and clear evidence of your personal, healthy eating choices and your weight loss and fitness accomplishments.

    Kate
    getfitkatie.blogspot.com

    Never tried horseradish on cottage cheese. I confess to eating it with a little spaghetti sauce stirred in.

  32. Jon

    Interesting to see how times have changed. It’s amazing how Andy Griffith is more educated than some nurses I work with.

    In a discussion about healthy eating, a nurse pointed out to another that he’s amazed how I choose to eat a ton of fat. He said he’s never seen anything like that before. When a nurse asked about my blood lipids, I said my HDL was 72. His reponse? “To be honest I don’t know what means.”

    Then another nurse chimned in and said, “Well HDL is bad cholesterol, and LDl is….” I interupted and said, “Um, no, HDL is good cholesterol”. Her response was, “Oh.”

    Then she said, “Well, as long as your total is under 200.” I said the total isn’t a great predictor of heart disease, but rather the ratio of HDL/LDL. Her response, “Oh.”

    I can stand the fact that she didn’t know that total cholesterol isn’t a strong predictor of heart disease, but not to know the difference between HDL and LDL? Really? Speechless…

    Yikes. That’s scary.

  33. Stephanie O.

    I have been watching the old Bob Newhart Show and the food talk is interesting. They eat eggs and bacon for breakfast and there was one episode where Bob bought Porterhouse Steaks for Emily on their anniversary.

    Now that you mention it, I believe I remember an episode in which Bob wanted to lose weight His doctor told him he needed to go on a high-protein, low carbohydrate diet.

  34. Firebird

    This is my cottage cheese “Comfort food”:

    1 C. cottage cheese

    vanilla extract to taste

    2 T cocoa powder

    2 packets of splenda or 2-3 t. xylitol

    Mix it all together. You’d bed surprised just how good that tastes. Throw in 2 T of all natural peanut butter, if you like.

    If I’m feeling courageous some night, I’ll give it a shot.

  35. Dani

    My Mom has lost fifteen pounds so far by going low-carb. Thought you should know. That’s been in less than three months, and it hasn’t really been a lot of effort for her, food-wise. And she’s enjoyed the half of your documentary that she’s seen so far.

    Once she saw what I was doing, and that I was getting healthier, it didn’t take much to convince her. “Oh, you mean I can eat all the things I really like to eat, and all I have to do is cut down on the filler foods? I think I can do that.” Instead of saying “Well, you’re young so you can handle it, and that’s too much fat, and you don’t know what you’re talking about,” she actually decided to give it a try. I have a feeling she’s going to stick with it, too. She’s not overweight by any means, but she’s always thought she carried a little too much fat on her lower half, and she just attributed it to ‘her shape,’ and said it would never change, and she always told me the same thing, because my shape was similar…and then I lost most of it. And I think that she’s going to start noticing even more of a change in her shape.

    She’s done all kinds of low-carb diets before to lose weight, but I don’t think she realized it’s actually a sustainable eating plan. She’s really enjoying it, and it’s nice to have someone ‘on my side,’ because we cook meals together and she doesn’t try to change what I’m doing because she knows that the fat isn’t going to hurt me. I even see her rolling her eyes now when someone starts talking about how ‘low fat’ is the key to health and weight loss.

    If only we could get my cereal-for-breakfast, sweets-for-snack, potatoes/corn/rice/pasta-for-dinner, more-sweets-for-snack Dad converted, I feel like we would have him around a lot longer. He’s one of those men with a ridiculously fast metabolism, so he hasn’t put on a pound since his 20s, and I don’t think he realizes that it’s not just about weight.

    I hope it doesn’t catch up to your dad. My father-in-law is also one of those naturally lean types, but it didn’t stop him from becoming a type 2 diabetic.

  36. Jon

    Interesting to see how times have changed. It’s amazing how Andy Griffith is more educated than some nurses I work with.

    In a discussion about healthy eating, a nurse pointed out to another that he’s amazed how I choose to eat a ton of fat. He said he’s never seen anything like that before. When a nurse asked about my blood lipids, I said my HDL was 72. His reponse? “To be honest I don’t know what means.”

    Then another nurse chimned in and said, “Well HDL is bad cholesterol, and LDl is….” I interupted and said, “Um, no, HDL is good cholesterol”. Her response was, “Oh.”

    Then she said, “Well, as long as your total is under 200.” I said the total isn’t a great predictor of heart disease, but rather the ratio of HDL/LDL. Her response, “Oh.”

    I can stand the fact that she didn’t know that total cholesterol isn’t a strong predictor of heart disease, but not to know the difference between HDL and LDL? Really? Speechless…

    Yikes. That’s scary.

  37. Firebird

    This is my cottage cheese “Comfort food”:

    1 C. cottage cheese

    vanilla extract to taste

    2 T cocoa powder

    2 packets of splenda or 2-3 t. xylitol

    Mix it all together. You’d bed surprised just how good that tastes. Throw in 2 T of all natural peanut butter, if you like.

    If I’m feeling courageous some night, I’ll give it a shot.

  38. Dani

    My Mom has lost fifteen pounds so far by going low-carb. Thought you should know. That’s been in less than three months, and it hasn’t really been a lot of effort for her, food-wise. And she’s enjoyed the half of your documentary that she’s seen so far.

    Once she saw what I was doing, and that I was getting healthier, it didn’t take much to convince her. “Oh, you mean I can eat all the things I really like to eat, and all I have to do is cut down on the filler foods? I think I can do that.” Instead of saying “Well, you’re young so you can handle it, and that’s too much fat, and you don’t know what you’re talking about,” she actually decided to give it a try. I have a feeling she’s going to stick with it, too. She’s not overweight by any means, but she’s always thought she carried a little too much fat on her lower half, and she just attributed it to ‘her shape,’ and said it would never change, and she always told me the same thing, because my shape was similar…and then I lost most of it. And I think that she’s going to start noticing even more of a change in her shape.

    She’s done all kinds of low-carb diets before to lose weight, but I don’t think she realized it’s actually a sustainable eating plan. She’s really enjoying it, and it’s nice to have someone ‘on my side,’ because we cook meals together and she doesn’t try to change what I’m doing because she knows that the fat isn’t going to hurt me. I even see her rolling her eyes now when someone starts talking about how ‘low fat’ is the key to health and weight loss.

    If only we could get my cereal-for-breakfast, sweets-for-snack, potatoes/corn/rice/pasta-for-dinner, more-sweets-for-snack Dad converted, I feel like we would have him around a lot longer. He’s one of those men with a ridiculously fast metabolism, so he hasn’t put on a pound since his 20s, and I don’t think he realizes that it’s not just about weight.

    I hope it doesn’t catch up to your dad. My father-in-law is also one of those naturally lean types, but it didn’t stop him from becoming a type 2 diabetic.

  39. Katy

    “If only we could get my cereal-for-breakfast, sweets-for-snack, potatoes/corn/rice/pasta-for-dinner, more-sweets-for-snack Dad converted…”

    I’m a strong believer in low carb, but I think that some people are truly genetically wired with a very high tolerance of carbs. I’m friends with a man who eats oatmeal, raisins, bananas, and OJ for breakfast, eats dark chocolate every day, has some sort of starch for dinner, and usually bread or crackers for lunch along with lentil or chicken noodle soup. He is a jelly bean fan and does like his cookies. But he also has plenty of green vegetables, salads, etc., olive oil, sardines, wild-caught salmon, and poultry with the skin. He’ll be 97 in August, his mind is still sharp, and his BG levels are fine, as are his cholesterol levels. He puts on a few pounds in the winter (more than likely from Thanksgiving and Christmas), but loses them come Spring. His cardiologist says he has the heart of a 60 year old man. If I ate the carbs he does, I’d be in a coma under the dinner table.

    Carb tolerance varies by individual, no doubt.

  40. Katy

    “If only we could get my cereal-for-breakfast, sweets-for-snack, potatoes/corn/rice/pasta-for-dinner, more-sweets-for-snack Dad converted…”

    I’m a strong believer in low carb, but I think that some people are truly genetically wired with a very high tolerance of carbs. I’m friends with a man who eats oatmeal, raisins, bananas, and OJ for breakfast, eats dark chocolate every day, has some sort of starch for dinner, and usually bread or crackers for lunch along with lentil or chicken noodle soup. He is a jelly bean fan and does like his cookies. But he also has plenty of green vegetables, salads, etc., olive oil, sardines, wild-caught salmon, and poultry with the skin. He’ll be 97 in August, his mind is still sharp, and his BG levels are fine, as are his cholesterol levels. He puts on a few pounds in the winter (more than likely from Thanksgiving and Christmas), but loses them come Spring. His cardiologist says he has the heart of a 60 year old man. If I ate the carbs he does, I’d be in a coma under the dinner table.

    Carb tolerance varies by individual, no doubt.

  41. Sami

    The part that got me wasn’t about the carby apple pie, it was when the kid asked if he could leave the table and play because he was full. Unfortunately I didn’t get the luxury of excusing myself when I was full, my mother was one of those “kids are starving in China” kind of people. That mentality has stuck with me FOREVER. I always feel guilty when there’s 3 bites of omelet left so I just eat it even if I’m stuffed.

    By the way, have you tried coconut BUTTER? It is seriously the most delicious thing ever. I picked it up because I thought it’d be more palatable to eat for the health value than just the coconut oil. It’s coconut oil and coconut flesh all ground up together. It tastes like almond butter if it were made out of coconuts. For 2 tablespoons it’s 7 carbs and 5 grams of fiber. FIVE GRAMS! It’s crazy!

    I haven’t tried it, but now you’ve piqued my curiosity.

  42. Kathy L.

    Greatest cottage cheese recipe ever, mix cottage cheese with your favorite salsa and use it for veggie dip. Of course, serve with a nice juicy steak, yum.

  43. Dan

    My MIL once told me her dad said to eat steak if you want to lose weight. Now we have all this sophisticated pseudo science to tell us otherwise.

    Our grandparents had it figured out. Too bad we thought we knew better.

  44. Sami

    The part that got me wasn’t about the carby apple pie, it was when the kid asked if he could leave the table and play because he was full. Unfortunately I didn’t get the luxury of excusing myself when I was full, my mother was one of those “kids are starving in China” kind of people. That mentality has stuck with me FOREVER. I always feel guilty when there’s 3 bites of omelet left so I just eat it even if I’m stuffed.

    By the way, have you tried coconut BUTTER? It is seriously the most delicious thing ever. I picked it up because I thought it’d be more palatable to eat for the health value than just the coconut oil. It’s coconut oil and coconut flesh all ground up together. It tastes like almond butter if it were made out of coconuts. For 2 tablespoons it’s 7 carbs and 5 grams of fiber. FIVE GRAMS! It’s crazy!

    I haven’t tried it, but now you’ve piqued my curiosity.

  45. Linda

    So, speaking of healthy burgers……………..I live in a suburb of Des Moines and shop in another suburb, comprised of higher income people than me, etc. When I shop for ground beef, I rarely find the 80/20 ratio, after all, these well educated doctors/lawyers/CEOs all know that they have to eat the low fat beef! They are also just starting to carry some grass fed ground beef at $7.99 a pound, which I cannot justify on a fixed income. So, what’s a LCHF person to do? Pay the higher price for grass fed, or travel into the “poorer”, low income sections of Des Moines to find the fattier beef and pay for more gas in the car? BTW I looked for a fattier chuck roast today and was going to grind it myself, but the meat counter guy said he really didn’t have anything available with that kind of 80/20 fat ratio. If he puts those in the case, they don’t sell!

    If price is an issue, buy the cheap stuff. It’s still good for you, just not as good as grass-fed.

  46. Kathy L.

    Greatest cottage cheese recipe ever, mix cottage cheese with your favorite salsa and use it for veggie dip. Of course, serve with a nice juicy steak, yum.

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