I had to get your attention with that screaming title.
This article from Harvard Magazine is blunt and eye-opening in how Americans are eating themselves sick. It is a must read for anybody that desires a more healthy life.
"Take the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Guide Pyramid, first promulgated in 1992. The pyramid's diagram of dietary recommendations is a familiar sight on cereal boxes—hardly a coincidence, since the guidelines suggest six to 11 servings daily from the "bread, cereal, rice, and pasta" group. The USDA recommends eating more of these starches than any other category of food. Unfortunately, such starches are nearly all high-glycemic carbohydrates, which drive obesity, hyperinsulinemia, and Type II diabetes. "At best, the USDA pyramid offers wishy-washy, scientifically unfounded advice on an absolutely vital topic—what to eat," writes Willett in Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy. "At worst, the misinformation contributes to overweight, poor health, and unnecessary early deaths.""
"Note that the pyramid comes from the Department of Agriculture, not from an agency charged with promoting health, like the National Institutes of Health or the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The USDA essentially promotes and regulates commerce, and its pyramid (currently under revision; expect a new version in 2005) was the focus of intensive lobbying and political struggle by agribusinesses in the meat, sugar, dairy, and cereal industries, among others."
If you aren't giving critical thought to what you eat, you may be paying a heavy toll- our bodies are simply not designed by nature to deal with the crap that is marketed to us.