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Harvard One-Ups USDA’s Plate

Harvard One-Ups USDA’s PlateJust a few months after the USDA ditched MyPyramid for MyPlate, the folks at the Harvard School of Public Health think they have a better idea: The Harvard Healthy Eating Plate.

Dr. Walter Willett and his Harvard colleagues have long been known for eschewing what they maintain are contradictory agendas of the USDA: agriculture & nutrition policy. How can the same government agency that tells and pays farmers what to grow and not grow also make impartial and sound nutrition recommendations?

Harvard’s beef with MyPlate includes:

  • MyPlate does not differentiate between whole grains and refined grains
  • MyPlate does not differentiate between high fat and low-fat animal vs. plant-based protein sources
  • Potatoes are lumped with vegetables – even though most Americans eat potatoes in the french fried form
  • Dairy is recommended at every meal – despite the fact that the majority of African American and Asian populations experience lactose intolerance
  • There is no mention of limiting sugary drinks
  • MyPlate does not mention the importance of physical activity

The new Healthy Eating Plate has a few simple, distinctive differences from MyPlate:

  • Drink water
  • Identify healthy oils
  • Eat leaner proteins
  • More whole grains

So, much like Harvard’s Healthy Eating Pyramid was a dramatically more effective version of the USDA’s Food Guide Pyramid, so too is the Healthy Eating Plate a more reasonable approach to plate-based meal-planning.

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