The Harvard School of Public Health sent a strong message to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and nutrition experts everywhere with the recent release of its “Healthy Eating Plate” food guide. The university was responding to the USDA’s new MyPlate guide for healthy eating, which replaced the outdated and misguided food pyramid.
Harvard’s nutrition experts did not pull punches, declaring that the university’s food guide was based on sound nutrition research and more importantly, not influenced by food industry lobbyists. The greatest evidence of its research focus is the absence of dairy products from the “Healthy Eating Plate” based on Harvard’s assessment that “…high intake can increase the risk of prostate cancer and possibly ovarian cancer.” The Harvard experts also referred to the high levels of saturated fat in most dairy products and suggested that collards, bok choy, fortified soy milk, and baked beans are safer choices than dairy for obtaining calcium, as are high quality supplements.
Kudos to Harvard for promoting greater consumption of vegetables and fruits, as well as healthier protein options such as fish, beans or nuts. And kudos to Harvard for ignoring the lobbyists and showing the USDA what healthy eating is all about.