Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating

By | December 15, 2017

In this revised and updated edition of the bestselling Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy, Dr. Walter Willett, for twenty-five years chair of the renowned Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, draws on cutting-edge research to explain what the USDA guidelines have gotten wrong—and how you can eat right.

There’s an ever-growing body of evidence supporting the relatively simple principles behind healthy eating. Yet the public seems to be more confused than ever about what to eat. The never-ending promotion of celebrity and other fad diets gets in the way of choosing a diet that is healthy for both you and the planet that we all share.

So forget popular diets and food trends. Based on information gleaned from the acclaimed Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Study, which have tracked the health and eating habits of thousands of women and men for more than thirty years, as well as other groundbreaking nutrition research, this revised and updated edition of Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy provides solid recommendations for eating healthfully and living better and longer.

Dr. Willett offers eye-opening new research on choosing foods with the best types of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and the relative importance of various food groups and supplements. He clearly explains why controlling weight, after not smoking, is the single most important factor for a long, healthy life; why eating some types of fat is beneficial, and even necessary, for good health; how to choose wisely between different types carbohydrates; how to pick the right protein “packages”; and what fruits and vegetables—not juices!—fight disease. Dr. Willett also translates this essential information into simple, easy-to-follow menu plans and tasty recipes. Revised and updated, this new edition of Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy is an important resource for every family.Aimed at nothing less than totally restructuring the diets of Americans, Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy may well accomplish its goal. Dr. Walter C. Willett gets off to a roaring start by totally dismantling one of the largest icons in health today: the USDA Food Pyramid that we all learn in elementary school. He blames many of the pyramid’s recommendations–6 to 11 servings of carbohydrates, all fats used sparingly–for much of the current wave of obesity. At first this may read differently than any diet book, but Willett also makes a crucial, rarely mentioned point about this icon: “The thing to keep in mind about the USDA Pyramid is that it comes from the Department of Agriculture, the agency responsible for promoting American agriculture, not from the agencies established to monitor and protect our health.” It’s no wonder that dairy products and American-grown grains such as wheat and corn figure so prominently in the USDA’s recommendations.

Willett’s own simple pyramid has several benefits over the traditional format. His information is up-to-date, and you won’t find recommendations that come from special-interest groups. His ideas are nothing radical–if we eat more vegetables and complex carbohydrates (no, potatoes are not complex), emphasize healthy fats, and enjoy small amounts of a tremendous variety of food, we will be healthier. You’ll find some surprises as well, such as doubts about the overall benefits of soy (unless you’re willing to eat a pound and a half of tofu a day), and that nuts, with their “good” fat content, are a terrific snack. Relying on research rather than anecdotes, this is a solidly written nutritional guide that will show you the real story behind how food is digested, from the glycemic index for carbs to the wisdom of adding a multivitamin to your diet. Willett combines research with matter-of-fact language and a no-nonsense tone that turns academic studies into easily understandable suggestions for living. –Jill Lightner

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3 Comments

Anonymous on 12/15/2017 at 22:01.

Very nearly all that you can want from a nutrition book – research based, sober, practical and readable. The text directly opposes the then current USDA food pyramid and its demonisation of all fats combined with heavy emphasis on refined carbohydrates and dairy. Dr. Willett presents his own food pyramid, built on whole-grains, unsaturated fats and lean meat – in many aspects similar to the Mediterranean diet.I could personally do without the entire recipes section, but other…

Anonymous on 12/15/2017 at 22:20.

It’s been clear to me for a long time that the FDA food pyramid — in it’s many forms, is not a truely healthy way to eat. Way too much carbohydrate. The really bad thing is that it drives other programs such as how our military is fed and how the food stamp program works. FDA info is governed more by food industry lobbiests than science.So in steps Dr. Willett with science-based information on nutrition. He has reworked the pyramid by using scientific studies. The book is…

Anonymous on 12/15/2017 at 22:34.