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 recommends the moderate consumption of alcohol. The exception is for those with a good reason not to drink.

Department of Agriculture Food Pyramid

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) developed its Food Pyramid. The goal was to provide dietary information to the public in a highly simplified way. However, the USDA represents the economic interests of the producers. They’re producers of beef, sugar, poultry, eggs, pork and other agricultural products worth billions of dollars per year. These producers and their powerful trade groups exert enormous pressure on the USDA. They want it to recommend their products in the Food Pyramid.

Surprisingly, the USDA Food Pyramid was not developed by any of the federal agencies whose purpose is to promote health. Nor by any of the agencies concerned with nutritional or medical matters.

Diet recommendations should be based on objective scientific medical research rather than 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 University School of Public and the Harvard School of Medicine knew of these problems. Therefore, they created a food pyramid based on scientific research findings rather than 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 20 years. It also uses evidence evidence from many other medical studies involving 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 the Department 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 found in Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy EatingIt’s by Dr. Willett and colleagues at Harvard University. The book is available in most bookstore and libraries. (This website has no economic interest in the sale of the book.)

Resources: Alcohol in the Diet

Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy, p. 11. (Available in audiobook, 2017.)