USDA to make changes to food pyramid

From The Desert Sun
Aug-19-2004

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has begun the process of revamping its Food Guide Pyramid, the visual tool that the government uses to help Americans eat healthier. The Pyramid debuted in 1992 but hasn't been revised since. What the changes will be is subject to debate.

The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) has concluded that with the rapid increase in overweight and obesity, the 'one-size fits all' guidance of the pyramid no longer works and that to improve their food choices, individuals need to have access to information specific to their own energy and nutrient needs, based on their age, sex, and physical activity level. As an example the pyramid simply recommends 6 to 11 daily servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta, and does not specify that six servings are recommended only for sedentary women and some older adults, while 11 servings are recommended for teenage boys, many active men and some very active women.

Sugar and salt lobbies want to resist any advice to consume less of their product; bread, grain and potato groups are insisting their products are healthy in spite of the boom in low-carbohydrate diets

According to the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA), the pyramid is just fine and what is needed is to "take this opportunity to clearly communicate the best way for consumers to pursue a healthy dietary regime."

Atkins Nutritionals, the low-carb food business that grew out of the diet doctor's medical practice, is pressing for its version of the food pyramid, which largely inverts the existing one.

What is abundantly clear is that there are many special interest groups involved. If you have a product to sell, you don't want to see it listed as 'use sparingly' in government sanctioned guidelines. Groups such as the Diary, Beef and Sugar industries and even the low carb industry will want to have a say in any revised structure and content.

Original article:
The Desert Sun