Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating by Walter C. Willett
Eat, Drink and Be Healthy is not a diet book. Rather, it is a book that cuts across diets and food trends. Using detailed dietary information collected from numerous sources over decades of research, Dr. Walter Willett is able to tell you about what is really known when it comes to healthy eating.
The first targets of Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy are the USDA's Food Guide Pyramid and their Healthy Eating Index, which measures how well diets conform to the Pyramid. By comparing the dietary habits of over 121,000 female participants in the Nurses' Health Study, Willett concludes that the advice of the USDA is wrong. "[T]hose with the highest scores on the Healthy Eating Index were no less likely to develop a major illness or die than those with the lowest scores over a twelve year period." (The emphasis is mine.) Similar results were found in data from over 50,000 males who took part in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.
What is known is the effect of weight, and of various food choices, on health.
Remember the advice to reduce the number of eggs in your diet? Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy says that, "Healthy men and women who ate up to an egg a day were no more likely to have developed heart disease or to have had a stroke over many years of follow-up than those who ate less than one egg a week." An all-egg diet may not be recommended, either, but we can stop feeling guilty about the occasional omelette. And substituting margarine for butter may be worse for your health, if the margarine is made from hydrogenated oils.
There are sections on carbohydrates, including the concepts of the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load, choosing which protiens to eat, the dietary benefits of fruits and vegetables, calcium and vitamins, and even how much water you need. All of this is tied back to his Healthy Eating Pyramid, an alternative to the USDA's Pyramid.
At the end, after telling you what is known to be important for healthy eating, Willett brings it all together with a summary, and some sample menus and recipes that show how you too can Eat, Drink and Be Healthy.
Always consult with your doctor before making any changes to diet or exercise.