Healthy Eating: A guide to the new nutrition

Eat real food. That’s the essence of today’s nutrition message. Our knowledge of nutrition has come full circle, back to eating food that is as close as possible to the way nature made it. Based on a solid foundation of current nutrition science, Harvard’s Special Health Report Healthy Eating: A guide to the new nutrition describes how to eat for optimum health.

Healthy Eating: A guide to the new nutrition Cover

Lose Weight and Keep It Off

Successful weight loss depends largely on becoming more aware of your behaviors and starting to change them. Instead of relying on willpower, this process demands skill power. This Special Health Report, Lose Weight and Keep It Off, offers a range of solutions that have worked for many people and can be tailored to your needs.

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Discover the Foods that Fight Disease and Help You Achieve Better Health!

The foods you eat have the power to help you live a longer, healthier life. Choose the right foods and you’ll fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to prevent nearly every disease and dysfunction from cataracts, infertility, and neurodegenerative conditions to cardiovascular disease and cancer.

But just as the right foods can help your health, the wrong foods (think: processed) can increase your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and more.

To help you fill your plate with the healthiest foods, Harvard medical experts created Healthy Eating: A guide to the new nutrition. This Special Health Report uses the latest information from the nation’s top nutrition experts to bring you the well-researched, specific recommendations
that have the potential to make you stronger and healthier.

For example, you’ll discover:

  • Harvard’s 6 simple steps to healthy eating
  • How processing can destroy nutrients like vitamins B and C
  • Why oranges are a healthier choice than orange juice
  • 4 ways to turn your favorite recipes into veggie-filled dishes
  • How to spot “high fiber” foods that aren’t that healthy
  • 7 reasons your body needs (healthy) fats
  • Why you may need more protein as you age

You’ll get the inside scoop on nutrition myths that can harm your health such as, saturated fats are no longer bad for you ... coconut oil is a veritable cure-all ... you should eliminate carbs from your diet ... meats are the only source of complete proteins ... and dozens more.

You’ll learn:

  • Why you may want to cut back on eggs if you have diabetes
  • How you can lower risk of heart disease by 30% just by regularly swapping a serving of red meat with fish or chicken
  • About the mineral that helps lower risk of colon cancer
  • Why supplements won’t boost your health as much as whole foods
  • How to tell if a fruit or vegetable is likely loaded with healthy plant chemicals
  • What every health conscious person needs to know about antioxidants

You’ll find tips for creating healthy meals with what you have in your pantry ... Easy and delicious ways to get more vegetables into your diet ... 6 secrets to smarter snacking ...Plus you’ll get a Special Bonus Section at no extra cost with 17 mouth-watering, healthy recipes.

Make sure you’re making the right food choices for your good health. Order your copy of Healthy Eating: A guide to the new nutrition today.

Prepared by the editors of Harvard Health Publishing with faculty editor Teresa Fung, ScD, RD, LDN, Adjunct Professor, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Professor of Nutrition, Simmons College and Nutrition Editor Sharon Palmer, RDN. 53 pages. (2016)

  • A healthy eating style
    • In search of a healthy diet
    • Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate
    • Choose whole foods first
    • Focus on plants
    • The Dietary Guidelines for Americans
    • Sustainability on the plate
  • Choosing healthful carbohydrates
    • “Good” carbs
    • “Bad” carbs
  • Finding the best fats
    • “Good” fats
    • “Bad” fats
  • Picking healthful protein
    • The best protein choices
    • What about red meat?
    • The lowdown on dairy
  • Vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals
    • The benefits of food vs. supplements
    • Does your diet deliver the recommended dose?
    • The power of phytochemicals
  • Making healthy beverage choices
    • Water on tap
    • Coffee and tea
    • Drinks to limit or avoid
    • Sports drinks and energy drinks
    • What about alcohol?
  • Putting it all together
    • Meal planning
    • Sneaking in more vegetables
    • Reaping nature’s sweet reward: Fruits
    • Boosting flavor with herbs and spices
    • Trimming salt
    • Powering up with probiotics
    • Are organics worth it?
    • Restaurant survival strategies
  • Snack food makeover
    • Smarter snacks
    • Six snacking strategies
  • Get moving!
    • A well-rounded exercise program
    • Sit less—walk more
  • Special Section: Healthy Recipes
    • Appetizers, soups, and salads
    • Entrées and side dishes
    • Fruit, desserts, and baked goods
  • Resources
  • Glossary


In search of a healthy diet
Surprisingly, given the demonization of both fat and carbohydrates in the media in recent memory, the quest for a healthy diet does not begin with drastically reducing either one. In fact, fat, carbs, and protein all play important roles in the body. Collectively, these three food components are known as macronutrients because the body requires relatively large amounts of each of them (as opposed to micronutrients—essential vitamins and minerals—which are needed in much smaller amounts).

The key to a healthy diet does not hinge on eliminating any of them, but on picking the best sources of all three. In the lingo of the popular media, there are “good” and “bad” carbs. Similarly,  there are healthful and not-so-healthful sources of fat and protein. The more you can tilt your diet in favor of the beneficial ones while reducing the others, the better off you’ll be.

It may sound like a daunting task sorting out one from the other, but it’s easier than you’d think. The first rule of thumb is simply to stick with whole foods as much as possible—that is, foods that most closely resemble the natural food. We don’t mean you should eat everything raw. Cooking is fine. Recipes are fine. But start with real ingredients—fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, eggs, skinless poultry. The more a food has been processed before you purchase it, the more goodness has likely been stripped away.

The second rule of thumb is to increase the amount of plant foods in your diet. Research increasingly shows that a diet based on fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains is healthier than one based on large quantities of meat. Rather, think of meat as an accompaniment, not the centerpiece of your meal.

The third rule of thumb, of course, is to limit your calories, so that you don’t put on a lot of excess weight.

The writer Michael Pollan summed up these points neatly in the opening of his 2008 book In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

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