(BOSTON) -- Although the United States Department of Agriculture unveiled MyPlate, the replacement for the food pyramid, just a few months ago, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health say MyPlate doesn't offer enough about good nutrition, and they've offered their own version.
Harvard has unveiled its modified version of the USDA plate, called the Healthy Eating Plate. Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard, says it addresses the shortcomings of MyPlate.
"The main thing is that MyPlate isn't specific enough to really give enough guidance," Willett said.
MyPlate is a USDA resource that offers nutrition recommendations. It's symbolized by a plate with four sections -- fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins -- with an attached glass of milk that the agency says should all be part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Harvard's plate also has the same four sections but with more detailed information on what foods to eat, and which ones to avoid. For example, in place of the grains section, Harvard's includes a whole grains section.
"There's a distinction between any old grains and whole grains," Willett said. Eating too many refined grains, such as white bread and white rice, can increase the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, he said.
Other differences include an explanation of what proteins are healthy -- poultry, fish, beans and nuts -- emphasizing the need for healthy fats, such as olive and canola oils and explaining that potatoes aren't a healthy vegetable choice.
Harvard's plate also replaces milk with water and recommends only one to two servings a day of low-fat milk.
"Modest dairy consumption is OK, but having a glass of milk with every meal is excessive and does not reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures," Willett said.
The USDA has not yet responded to a request for comment.
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