The United States Department of Agriculture Food Guide Pyramid was released in 1992, and has subsequently become the most widely used and recognized nutritional guide in this country. Analysis of the Pyramid's development, however, suggests that industry lobbying and a desire to simplify the message resulted in recommendations that failed to reflect current nutrition science. While large-scale studies have yet to elucidate the precise relationships between diet and disease, diet does appear to play a role in both risk for and prevention of several chronic diseases. Studies show beneficial effects of a diet low in red meat and refined grains, and high in unsaturated fats, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Shifting responsibility for nutrition policy from the USDA to an agency with fewer ties to the food industry might permit more objective guidelines. New agricultural and industry policies will also be needed to align food supply with recommended consumption.