by M. Grant Winston, science editor

Have you seen the latest USDA food pyramid? It is much more complex and difficult to understand than the previous one, which was more complex and difficult to understand than the old food wheel, and a major contributing factor to obesity critics insist, especially in children. In actuality, there are now twelve pyramids. To know which one to follow, you must first figure out which of twelve types of people you are. This is bound to cause confusion, as astrology nuts are already asking which one is for Pisces, which one for Sagittarius and so on.  While it has nothing to do with astrology, it is nonetheless pseudo-science. Once again, they have made grains the base of it, so that people will pig out on wasted sugar and starch. These are the "carbs" that many diet systems have urged us to avoid, but in such confusing language that some think there are "carbs" in meat.

Another big problem is that it recommends cutting fat to near nil when fat is essential for healthy hair, tendons, ligaments, skin and brain function. Also, cutting out too much fat only trains the body to store fat whenever possible. Why has the USDA come up with an even more confusing version of their disastrous food guidelines? Perhaps it is because they are in bed with the weight loss industry and big agribusiness. These are industries they are supposed to be regulating. Could it be for a cut of the multi-billions these industries rake in each year?

One example of the mess the USDA has made is subsidized corn. Because corn is so cheap, it is now in nearly everything. High fructose corn syrup has replaced cane sugar in just about every sweetened food and beverage but it is not a good substitute. It may be the leading cause of America's obesity problem and type II diabetes epidemic. The FDA is not much better, allowing frankenfood like diet sodas sweetened with aspartame. Just put that word into a search engine and see what comes up. It will be a hair raising experience.

Confusion is the goal of the massive weight loss industry. As we previously reported, their doped up products do not work, except to keep us buying them and using them. When switching from fad diet to fad diet, and processed diet food to processed diet food, many of us get sick. At this point the medical industry, especially the pharmaceutical branch of it, start making a buck. One money making racket complements another, and another. Eventually, a lot of us will die young, and a new generation will need to be hooked, but the undertaking industry will get their piece of the action.

Some may be tempted to think that the USDA has finally figured it out by adding exercise to the pyramid. While we all need to get up from in front of the TV and get out more, the real point of this recommendation is to sell all those silly exercise contraptions we see advertised on the idiot box, and overpriced health club memberships. I have always thought it was strange that "health clubs" have tanning beds, a great way to end up looking like you are made of leather, looking 50 at age 30, or getting skin cancer.

If you want my advice, go back to the four basic food groups. Eat one quarter of your diet from each. Also, eat regular foods, not pre-packaged "diet" food. Get out and walk, run, ride a bicycle. Don't waste any time with the new USDA pyramid scheme. It will ruin your health, and empty your wallet.