It didn’t take the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) very long to steal the thunder from USDA’s new MyPlate healthy eating recommendations.
The HSPH just released their Healthy Eating Plate (HEP) recommendations and (no surprise!) it’s significantly different from the USDA’s MyPlate. The HSPH scientists have routinely questioned the government’s diet advice and they are never shy about pointing out the flaws they see in the USDA’s dietary guidelines.
“Like the earlier U.S. Department of Agriculture Pyramids, MyPlate mixes science with the influence of powerful agricultural interests, which is not the recipe for healthy eating,” Walter Willett, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition and chair of the Department of Nutrition at HSPH. “The Healthy Eating Plate is based on the best available scientific evidence and provides consumers with the information they need to make choices that can profoundly affect our health and well being.
Here’s a look at the HSPH’s Healthy Eating Plate and how it differs from USDA’s MyPlate:
* Vegetables: The HEP puts more emphasis on veggies and makes it clear that potatoes and French fries don’t count.
Eat an abundant variety, the more the better. Limited consumption of potatoes is recommended, however, as they are full of rapidly digested starch, which has the same roller-coaster effect on blood sugar as refined grains and sweets. In the short-term, these surges in blood sugar and insulin lead to hunger and overeating, and in the long term, to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic disorders.
* Fruits: Choose a rainbow of fruits every day.
* Whole Grains: MyPlate is simply “grains” while HEP focuses on whole grains.
Choose whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole wheat bread, and brown rice. Refined grains, such as white bread and white rice, act like sugar in the body. Eating too many refined grains can raise the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
* Healthy Proteins: MyPlate gives no indication of the best types of protein options.
Choose fish, poultry, beans, or nuts, which contain healthful nutrients. Limit red meat and avoid processed meats, since eating even small quantities of these on a regular basis raises the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, and weight gain.
* Healthy Oils: Use olive, canola, and other plant oils in cooking, on salads, and at the table, since these healthy fats reduce harmful cholesterol and are good for the heart. Limit butter and avoid trans fat.
* Water: MyPlate recommends milk but shows no other beverages; HEP gives more details about calorie-free beverages and limits dairy.
Drink water, tea, or coffee (with little or no sugar). Limit milk and dairy (1-2 servings per day) and juice (1 small glass a day) and avoid sugary drinks.
*Stay Active. HEP promotes physical fitness; MyPlate does not address exercise.