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Food groups lobby for changes to MyPyramid

The federal government unveiled MyPyramid in 2005.

That official food pyramid  may well be toppled soon. Federal dietary guidelines are due for their five-year update this December.

According to a study conducted by the International Food Information Council, an industry trade group, 46 percent of consumers agree that food and health information is often confusing and conflicting.  The Washington Post notes that MyPyramid, which was unveiled in 2005,  has been widely judged a failure:

"Where the original pyramid placed staples in the broad bottom of the triangle and special-occasion foods at the narrow top, MyPyramid is abstract. Six swaths of color, representing grains, vegetables, fruits, oils, milk, and meat and beans, sweep from the apex of the triangle to base. The width of the color bands, which is often difficult to distinguish, is meant to represent the amount of each food group people should eat."

So change means trying to satisfy the nutritional advice of the government's scientific panel while navigating the political affiliations of agricultural industries. Certain industries are already on the offensive.

The meat lobby, the Post reports, has opposed strict warnings on sodium that could cast a negative light on lunch meats. The milk lobby has expressed concerns about warnings to cut back on added sugars, lest chocolate- and strawberry-flavored milks fall from favor. Several members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation also weighed in against added-sugar restrictions in defense of the cranberry.