The USDA created, a simple guide to help Americans eat better.  But Walter Willett, chair of nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health argues that the USDA’s MyPlate “mixes science with the influence of powerful agricultural interests, which is not the recipe for healthy eating.”  So Harvard has created its own plate, the Health Eating Plate.

Among the substantive criticisms of the USDA’s MyPlate:

MyPlate does not tell consumers that whole grains are better for health than refined grains; its protein section offers no indication that some high-protein foods — fish, poultry, beans, nuts — are healthier than red meats and processed meats; it is silent on beneficial fats; it does not distinguish between potatoes and other vegetables; it recommends dairy at every meal, even though there is little evidence that high dairy intake protects against osteoporosis but substantial evidence that high intake can be harmful; and it says nothing about sugary drinks. Finally, the Healthy Eating Plate reminds people to stay active, an important factor in weight control, while MyPlate does not mention the importance of activity.

See Harvard serves up its own ‘Plate’ Healthy Eating Plate shows shortcomings in government’s MyPlate   Take a look, and share your thoughts…

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One Response to USDA’s MyPlate criticised for “mixing science with the influence of powerful agricultural interests”

  1. LORI ANN BEDELL says:

    Really enjoyed your lecture today.

    My comment about being optimistic due to the burgeoning grassroots food communities was really less about a declaration of vegetarians and vegans being more healthful (though I’d argue that a vegan diet, properly executed is, in fact) than it was an observation that there is a growing number of educated citizens who recognize themselves as having the consumer power to make a difference. I see these groups fueled by self-education and concern for the ethicality of their choices. Certainly, meat-eaters are becoming more conscientious as well as we see a rise in sustainably grown, organic meats and increasing popularity of CSAs,farmers markets. We also see awareness and action on food deserts.

    I agree that there is a systematic imbrication of ethically negative forces and that the idea of citizen and consumer has become conflated in a society marked by profit margin. I’m highly aware of the conflation of “rugged individualism” and “my right as an American” with both overt and subversive commercial messaging. My optimism, however, lies in the awareness that to make change, sometimes we have to start by working within the existing system by voting with our dollars.

    Including such efforts as part of a complex top down and bottom up approach was the essence of my point.

    Grateful for your talk. Wonderful to see you again.

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