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New, simpler food pyramid due out in December

WASHINGTON - With most Americans overweight or obese and at risk of high blood pressure, policymakers are working to reinvent the familiar food pyramid and develop advice that is simple and blunt enough to help turn the tide. The new guidelines, due out every five years, will be unveiled in December.

The guidelines have broad impact, dictating menus for school breakfast and lunch, education material for food stamps and nutrition information on food package labels.

Critics say the nutritional education system is so politically influenced that it is ineffective.

This year, the meat lobby has opposed strict warnings on sodium that could cast a negative light on lunch meats. The milk lobby has contested warnings to cut back on added sugars, lest chocolate- and strawberry-flavored milk fall from favor.

According to the International Food Information Council, an industry trade group, 46 percent of consumers say food and health information is often confusing and conflicting.

- The Washington Post

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