Harvard Newsletter Limits Dairy Intake

“Why should I limit my dairy intake to one to two servings a day?” The question and answer are in the June 7, 2012 issue of Harvard HEALTHbeat, a publication of the Harvard Medical School.

The Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH)  has created the Healthy Eating Plate to highlight its differences from the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) MyPlate. Both are designed to help make good nutrition easier for the public. For a comparison chart, visit Comparison of the Healthy Eating Plate and USDA’s MyPlate. Through all the links provided, readers of this blog from around the world can access more detailed information to see what works for them. Both are excellent resources for portion size, nutrition guides, tips on healthy eating, recipes, and more.

A major difference between the two is on dairy. The USDA recommends three servings of dairy a day. HSPH recommends one to two servings of dairy a day. The article in Harvard HEALTHbeat states that this is enough to satisfy “much of our calcium requirement.” The rest is better obtained, ingested, absorbed from dark green leafy vegetables, beans, tofu, fortified orange juice, and cereals. Eating this way may also reduce the number of calories consumed as the other sources are likely to have fewer calories than dairy.

Unlike dairy (even low-fat dairy), the other sources are lower in fat, high in fiber, high in anti-oxidants and vitamins. Dark green leafy vegetables are a good source of vitamin K which is important for bone formation. So the glass accompanying the plate in Healthy Eating Plate is filled with water and for MyPlate is filled with milk.

Both plates are half covered with fruit and vegetables. Both recommend filling the rest of the plate with protein and grains. MyPlate recommends at least half the grains be whole grains whereas Healthy Eating Plate specifies whole grains.


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