The Harvard School of Public Health has come out with a new Healthy Eating Plate that looks like this:
This new "Plate" is based on what Harvard refers to as the newest scientific evidence on what a healthy diet should consist of. It came out in response to the USDA's MyPlate that was released earlier this year. MyPlate was an improvement on the traditional "Food Pyramid" Americans have used as a guide to what was thought to be healthy eating in the past. Neither of those guidelines however, were based on the newest research - according to Harvard.
So let's take a look at what this new scientific research is telling us...
Harvard's Healthy Eating Plate Guidelines:
Fill half of your plate with vegetables and fruits: The more color and variety, the better. Potatoes and French fries don't count as vegetables on the Healthy Eating Plate, because they are high in fast-digested starch (carbohydrate), which has the same roller-coaster effect on blood sugar and insulin as white bread and sweets. These surges, in the short term, can lead to hunger and overeating, and in the long term, can lead to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and other health problems.
I'm not sure where potatoes are placed in this new healthy eating plate - perhaps we shouldn't be eating them? I'm certainly not willing to give up my breakfast potatoes yet, Harvard... we need to discuss this!
Fill a quarter of your plate with whole grains: The Healthy Eating Plate says to choose whole grains, the less processed, the better, and to limit refined grains. What are refined grains? Pretty much anything white and/or prepackaged and convenient - white bread has been over-processed and the nutrients have been stripped and returned - or "enriched" as they like to call it. But nothing can replace the original. It might taste good - but essentially you are getting no nutritional value from that Wonderbread. Sorry folks... Here's the whole grains you can eat, in their complete and unprocessed forms: amaranth, barley, brown rice, bulgur (cracked wheat), whole-wheat pasta or couscous, flaxseed, millet, oats, quinoa, rye, spelt, wheat berries, wild rice.
Put a healthy source of protein on one quarter of your plate: fish, chicken, beans or nuts. Limit red meat and avoid processed meats like bacon, cold cuts, hot dogs, etc. Why? Over time, regularly eating even small amounts of these foods raises the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer. 'Nuff said.
Use Healthy Oils: like canola, coconut oil, grapesed and olive for cooking and at the table - butter should be limited. Trans fat should be avoided entirely.
What to Drink: drink plenty of water - you can also drink tea and coffee with limited amounts of sugar. Limit milk and dairy products to one to two servings per day, since high intakes are associated with increased risk of prostate cancer and possibly ovarian cancer. Limit juice to a small glass per day as juice is high in sugar. Skip the sugary drinks such as sodas; they provide lots of calories and virtually no other nutrients. Over time, routinely drinking sugary drinks can lead to weight gain, increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, and possibly increase the risk of heart disease.
Stay active: no matter what we eat - we've got to keep moving! This seems to be one area that all the "experts" can still agree on. Move dammit!
What's all this scientific evidence mean for vegans?
That we were right all along... You can live without meat and dairy products and in fact, are better off without them.
What do you think of this new Healthy Eating Plate? Do you agree with the ratios?