Alcohol in the Diet (Facts for Health and Long Life)

What is the role of alcohol in the diet? The science-based Harvard Good Eating Pyramid is based on science. It recommends moderate drinking.

USDA Food Pyramid

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) developed its Food Pyramid. The goal was to provide dietary facts in a simply way. But it reflects the economic interests of the producers. They’re producers of beef, sugar, poultry, eggs, pork and other foods. And they’re worth billions of dollars per year. These producers and their powerful trade groups exert great pressure on the USDA. They want it to recommend their products in the Food Pyramid.

The USDA Food Pyramid wasn’t developed by any nutritional or medical agencies. Nor any whose purpose is to promote public health. It was developed by federal lawyers.

Diet advice should be based on medical research. It shouldn’t reflect the winners of competing economic self-interests. The USDA serves its masters well. But the public suffers.

“At best, the USDA Pyramid offers wishy-washy, scientifically unfounded advice on an absolutely vital topic – what to eat. At worst, the misinformation contributes to overweight, poor health, and unnecessary early death.” 1

alcohol in the dietHarvard Food Pyramid

Doctors at the Harvard School of Public Health knew of these problems. They cooperated with doctors at the Harvard School of Medicine. Together they created a new food pyramid. It’s based on scientific research findings. Not on economics or politics.

The Harvard Good Eating Pyramid is based mainly on research evidence from three world-famous studies. They were the Physicians’ Health Study. The Nurses’ Health Study. And the Health Professions Follow-up Study. These studies examined hundreds of thousands of people for over 25 years. It also uses evidence from many other medical studies. They involved tens of thousands more.

Dr. Walter C. Willett

Dr. Willett is widely considered to be the world’s foremost authority on nutrition. He has received many prestigious scientific awards. Dr. Willett is Chair of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. He’s also Professor in the Harvard School of Medicine.

The Harvard Good Eating Pyramid and the scientific evidence supporting it are in Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy. The sub-title is The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating.  It’s by Dr. Willett and colleagues at Harvard. Its advice about alcohol in the diet is based on scientific evidence. Not on self-interest. Nor on politics.

The book is available in most libraries.

Alcohol in the Diet

1. Willett, W. et al. Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy, p. 11.
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