Earlier this year, the government released MyPlate, an image of the ideal healthy diet on a plate rather than stacked in a confusing pyramid. But is it really the ideal? Harvard released its own version of the healthy plate, which it says is free of the politics surrounding the meat and dairy industries.The Harvard plate removes the cup of milk next to the USDA's plate — which seems to imply a serving of dairy with every meal — and adds a small bottle of oil, to represent heart-healthier oils. It also includes a lot more explanatory text, recommending whole grains in place of refined, and specifying that french fries do not count as a vegetable.
Walter Willett, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health, says the biggest issue with the USDA's plate was the inclusion of milk and the choice to not differentiate between different types of protein.
"It's probably a mix of science and powerful influence from agricultural interests," he said, "and this isn't a good recipe for healthy eating."
Anjali is a former private chef who is currently pursuing a graduate degree in nutrition, with plans to become a registered dietitian. She lives in Los Angeles. You can read more of her health-focused writing at Eat Your Greens.
Read more from Anjali »