Wondering what you should be eating in 2016? In November of last year, twenty of the world’s most highly respected nutrition researchers met in Boston. They came from some of the most prestigious universities, including Harvard, Yale, Cornell, and Stanford. It was a major and rare occasion to have such an esteemed group all together. Each of them came with their own dietary philosophies that ranged from vegan to Paleo and Mediterranean to low-fat. Their primary goal was to see what nutrition principles they could agree on and ultimately, to reach a consensus on which foods belong most in a diet designed for longevity and good health. After two long days of debate, the researchers agreed upon a dietary pattern that should help people avoid spikes in blood sugar, clogged arteries, digestive disorders, and chronic disease.
The eating plan they recommend is one that’s (drum roll please):
1. Higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low or non-fat dairy, seafood, legumes (beans and lentils) and nuts
2. Moderate in alcohol
3. Lower in red and processed meats
4. Low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, and refined grains
They also agreed that eliminating entire food groups or conforming to a single dietary pattern is not necessary. No one diet is the end all and be all. There are a variety of ways one can eat healthy based on individual health needs, dietary preferences, and cultural traditions.
In terms of my own knowledge and research background, I strongly support these guidelines. They’re simple and sensible, yet powerful in their potential to impact health. They’re not fanatical or overly restrictive, like so much of the nutrition advice given out these days. They also provide an enjoyable and delicious way to eat!
I encourage you to use these guidelines as you plan for the year ahead. Are there certain foods you need to eat more of, like fruits and vegetables or maybe, beans? Is your current intake of sugary foods too high? Let’s the consensus of the experts help you make 2016 your healthiest year yet.
For healthy eating in 2016 there’s no need for fad diets or eliminating entire food groups. Eat more whole (less processed) plant based foods, along with less meat and sugar. If you drink alcohol, moderate your intake.
P.S. Please pass this blog on to those who might benefit! Here’s the list of researchers who took part in the meeting:
Scientific Consensus Committee
David Katz, MD, MPH, Founding Director, Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, Yale University (New Haven, CT)
Walter Willett, MD, DrPH, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition; Chairman of the Department of Nutrition, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health; Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA)
Steven Abrams, MD, Professor and Chair, Department of Pediatrics, Dell Medical School, University of Texas (Austin, TX)
Sara Baer-Sinnott, President, Oldways (Boston, MA)
Neal Barnard, MD, President, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine (Washington, DC)
S. Boyd Eaton, MD, Professor Emeritus, Emory University (Atlanta, GA)
Alessio Fasano, MD, Director, Center for Celiac Research; Chief, Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition and Associate Chief, Department of Pediatrics, Basic, Clinical and Translational Research, Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, MA)
Christopher Gardner, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine (Stanford, CA)
Frank Hu, MD, PhD, Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health; Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA)
David Jenkins, MD, DSc, PhD, Professor, Department of Medicine and Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto; Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital; Director, Risk Factor Modification Centre, St. Michael’s Hospital (Toronto, Ontario, CA)
Tom Kelly, PhD, Chief Sustainability Officer, Sustainability Institute at University of New Hampshire (Durham, NH)
Miguel Ángel Martínez-González, MD, MPH, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Navarra (Pamplona, Spain)
Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, Dean, Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy (Boston, MA)
Malden Nesheim, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Nutrition and Provost Emeritus, Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)
Dean Ornish, MD, Founder and President, Preventive Medicine Research Institute; Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco (Sausalito, CA)
Simon Poole, MBBS, DRCOG, Medical Practitioner and Commentator (Cambridge, UK)
Eric Rimm, ScD, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition and Director of the Program in Cardiovascular Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA)
Joan Sabaté, MD, DrPH, Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Loma Linda University School of Public Health (Loma Linda, CA)
Meir Stampfer, MD, DrPH, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA)
Antonia Trichopoulou, MD, PhD, President, Hellenic Health Foundation and Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Nutrition at the School of Medicine, University of Athens (Athens, Greece)