Harvard scientists were not pleased with the government switch from the Food Pyramid to MyPlate earlier this year. Although MyPlate was lauded by experts as an improvement over the pyramid – it greatly simplified food choices – they believed it was oversimplifying nutrition. Additionally, MyPlate is smudged with the fingerprints of agro-corporate interests, according to Walter Willett, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition and chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health.
Before you is Harvard’s attempt at a cleaner plate. One that puts aside corporate interests and does not oversimplify the message. Here is the Healthy Eating Plate:
The main points:
- Mover veggies thans fruits. Makes sense, there is less sugar in vegetables. An important carveout – potatoes. They should not be considered in the veggie department because they raise blood sugar just like refined sugars and sweets. (The potato board will dispute this).
- Not just any protein is good. You should choose the healthier proteins from fish, poultry, beans and nuts. Beef should be limited (Oy vey, the Cattlemen lobby will say).
- Choose whole grains, not just grains. This is hard for many of us as we have gotten used to refined flours and white rice which are much easier to chew and prepare than brown rice and whole grain breads.
- Dairy is not a must at every meal. Drink water most of the time and limit dairy to 1-2 servings per day instead of 3 in MyPlate. This is sure to annoy the National Dairy Council.
- Oils (liquid fats) are not evil if they come from plant sources like olive oil or canola. Butter should be limited (Dairy council again).