Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School released their version of the US department of Agriculture's (USDA's) MyPlate icon a few days ago. Given the current rising obesity trend, it’s obvious that we humans love to eat with the majority of us unable to balance intake with energy expended. The need for disease prevention and nutrition education with help on how we can slim down our curvaceous figures and control our portion sizes has never been greater. The governments MyPlate icon was designed to be simple and easy to understand. Critics, including nutrition experts at Harvard, felt the MyPlate icon needed to say more. Harvard's Healthy Eating Plate was released September 14, 2011 and may be helpful to those with higher literacy levels eager for more specific information about what they should consume for good health.
Marion Nestle, author of the book, Food Politics, was right on top of this story. She posted the Harvard vs USDA news on her blog and asked her readers to weigh in on the subject. Comments are still flowing in, ranging from those in favor of Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate to those who dislike some or all parts of it. Several of Nestle's readers said that portion sizes were not mentioned. I think portion sizes are indirectly implied by the segmented plate graphics. If one assumes a plate size of approximately 8-10-inches, a quarter of the plate for protein for example, would be approximately 4-6 ounces of meat or fish as recommended by the USDA. It is the proportions of the food groups that are being emphasized with ratio of 3/4 plant foods to 1/4 lean protein.
Go Whole Grains!
Harvard jumped right in and rather than saying, “Make half your daily grains whole grains,” they recommend whole grains... period. What better a time for that suggestion than during Whole Grains month in September!
Bring back Daily Fitness
I like the 'Stay Active' fitness image Harvard shows too. We all need a constant reminder of the importance of daily physical activity, which was missing in the new MyPlate image.
"Potatoes don’t Count"…say what?
The garden gods got angry when they heard perhaps the most controversial of Harvard’s recommendations, which said, “… keep in mind that potatoes and french fries don’t count.” As a proud potato gardener, with all due respect to Harvard, I think they are wrong with that comment. Perhaps they meant that they don’t count because French fries are what most kids and non-veggie eating adults consider as their vegetable duJour. The trouble with potatoes is that they usually are prepared deep fried and can be high in fat and sodium.
Should Dairy be a food group?