Food Pyramid: How the USDA Conspired with Food Manufacturers to Boost Their Sales

Search results show site after site claiming the original food guide pyramid was released in 1992 and almost nothing about the 1950s version I was trying to find information on. I never could locate an image of the original 1956 USDA “Basic Four Food Groups” pyramid.

Simply search for information about the USDA Food Guide Pyramid. I spent HOURS and have yet to find the original government released Food Guide Pyramid created in the 1950s that I remember from when I was in school.

1992 food guide pyramid

1992 food guide pyramid

Schools taught the pyramid as health science, but where it came from, who decided what was on it, and who REALLY benefited from it is an interesting and important story that few understand.

Finding the real truth about it in a search engine is VERY difficult. Another search you can use for testing is “Dietary Guidelines”. See what results you get.

This post on the 1992 version of the Food Pyramid includes this excerpt about how the USDA conspired with food manufactures to boost their sales while totally disregarding your health:

Luise Light, the architect of the original version was a nutritional expert who made her recommendations based on valid food science in the 1980’s. But certain members of the food lobby rejected her prescription for small servings of their products so they strong armed the USDA, urging them to bury her work. By 1992, they returned her Food Pyramid to her unrecognizable.

She writes in A Fatally Flawed Food Guide, “When our version of the Food Guide came back to us revised, we were shocked to find that it was vastly different from the one we had developed. As I later discovered, the wholesale changes made to the guide by the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture were calculated to win the acceptance of the food industry“it appears our nutritional needs are being sold to the highest bidder … again!

I disagree with FoodForeThought‘s conclusion that eating by the food pyramid is why people are overweight today. I lay that at the feet of food that does not contain the nutrients we need and the enormous amount of things we are ingesting that are NOT FOOD including chemicals, genetically modified organisms and especially high fructose corn syrup that is in almost every product on the shelf!


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Gail Gardner

Small Business Marketing Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.

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