• U.S.

Watch What You Eat

1 minute read

THE NEW FOOD GUIDE PYRAMID, ERECTED LAST week by the Agriculture Department, looks like a perfect update of the good old four-food-groups diagrams kids have been seeing in school cafeterias since the 1950s. The chart reorganizes edibles into five groups, graphically illustrating the latest nutritional correctness: bread and pasta are great for you, so eat lots; fruits and vegetables are good; meats, dairy products, beans and nuts are O.K.; and fats and sweets are trouble, not even a full-fledged group, and should be squeezed into the smallest possible corner of the diet.

It may seem like a modest revision, but that doesn’t mean it was easy to produce. Originally scheduled for release a year ago as an educational tool, it was held up when the meat and dairy industries argued that it bad-mouthed their products. Developing the pyramid had already cost about $100,000, and it took another year and $855,000 of research to make sure consumers understood that foods shouldn’t be seen as good or evil. And that in turn angered nutritionists, who thought the extra time and money were politically motivated waste.


CREDIT: TIME Graphic by Joe Lertola


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