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

Making Sense of Vitamins and Minerals: Choosing the foods and nutrients you need to stay healthy

About half of all Americans routinely take dietary supplements. The most common ones are multivitamin and multimineral supplements. Making Sense of Vitamins and Minerals: Choosing the foods and nutrients you need to stay healthy explains the evidence behind the benefits and safety profiles of various vitamins and minerals. It also includes the recommended minimum and maximum amounts you should consume, as well as good food sources of…

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Some foods are good for you, some are bad. But which are which? You may think you’re eating a healthy diet? But do you know for sure?  The answers, according to the latest nutritional science, are not always the same as we once thought. Many previously held assumptions have turned out to be wrong, and new findings may be surprising. Do you know:

  • Some of the healthiest foods are FATS (do you know which ones?)
  • What’s the better choice: corn or avocado? (the answer might surprise you).
  • Why organic spinach can be dangerous to your health (but not if you follow a simple tip)
  • That frozen fruits and vegetables can be more nutritious than fresh?

Scientific evidence has shown that what you eat can reduce your risk for developing heart disease and diabetes, and ward off some forms of cancer, hypertension and osteoporosis.

Making healthy food choices is more important than ever. But are you sure you’re making the right ones? Our report, Healthy Eating: A guide to the new nutrition provides the latest thinking on the food-health connection, expert guidance on the best foods to incorporate into your diet, and more.

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
    • Eggs in moderation
  • 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


Healthy eating is easier than ever. That’s because we know so much more about what a healthy diet looks like than we did even five years ago. Choosing healthy foods based on good science remains the best known way to reduce your chances of developing heart disease and diabetes and to help ward off hypertension, osteoporosis, and some forms of cancer.

We’ve known for many years that certain foods promote good health — especially fruits, vegetables, fiber, plant oils, and whole grains. But the latest nutritional science shows that there is not a single “healthy diet.” Instead, there are many patterns of eating around the world that sustain good health. A healthy eating pattern also includes enough energy (calories) to fuel the body, but not so much as to cause weight gain.

Eating more whole foods — unprocessed foods with few ingredients listed on the label, if the product has a label at all — isn’t all that difficult. It takes a little organizing to have the ingredients on hand and the right equipment, but actually putting it all together takes just minutes. That’s what this report will help you discover — that healthy eating is easier than you think. There are many ways to get away from factory-processed foods laden with fat, sugar, and salt.

In addition, the U.S. government has revamped its Dietary Guidelines for Americans and they are described in this report.

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