What does it mean to eat a well-balanced diet, and how can I attain that? It might be difficult to answer these questions, especially if you are attempting to lose weight or improve your health.
Yet, with careful planning and the correct supplements, such as vitamins and the best protein powders, it is possible to maintain a good, balanced diet while remaining active, strong, and healthy.
The US Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA) release an updated version of their Dietary Guidelines every five years, which serves as the gold standard for healthy eating.
“A healthy eating routine is important at every stage of life and can have positive effects that add up over time,” says a USDA representative. “By following a balanced diet that aligns with the Dietary Guidelines, individuals can reduce their risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.”
A balanced diet, according to Grace Derocha, a dietitian and national spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is one that meets an individual’s nutritional needs while also promoting excellent health and weight management.
“Humans need a certain amount of calories (macronutrients) and nutrients (micronutrients) to stay healthy,” she says. “A balanced diet provides all the nutrients and energy a person requires, without going over the recommended daily calorie intake. It contains the right amounts of a variety of food groups for your body.”
Fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy are the five food groups that make up a balanced diet, albeit the amount of each food that each individual need varies depending on their age, weight, sex, height, and activity level.
According to a USDA spokesperson, “The MyPlate Plan is a great tool individuals can use to find out what and how much of each of the five food groups they should be consuming, based on their lifestyle.”
What Is The Origin Of The Term “Balanced Diet”?
We hear the term “balanced diet” a lot, but where does it come from? It all started with the Italian humanist Bartolomeo Sacchi, aka Il Platina, who is credited with writing the first bestselling diet book, De Honesta voluptate et valetudine, in the 15th century.
“High society became obsessed with his recommendations regarding the relationship between gastronomic pleasure (voluptae) and health (valedutine,” writes Derocha. However, Alvise (Luigi) Cornaro’s How to Live One Hundred Years — Discourses on the Sober Life (1558) is still mentioned today.
“After realising the risks he was taking with his self-indulgent lifestyle, this Venetian aristocrat adopted a frugal diet and lived to become a centenarian,” writes Derocha. “His book makes reference to the ancient writers and thus revives the Ancient Greek principles of moderation to show that a healthy lifestyle starts with a healthy diet.”
Is It Difficult to Eat a Well-Balanced Diet?
Although it takes work, maintaining a balanced diet once it becomes a part of your regular routine is simple. It does not imply a rigorous diet devoid of enjoyment – few people could stick to such a diet – but it does imply that we must make an effort to include enough vitamins, minerals, water, antioxidants, carbs, proteins, and good fats in our daily diets.
“This means a variety of food groups, including fruit, vegetables, grains, starches, dairy and protein foods, such as meat, fish and tofu,” explains Derocha.
Following the USDA’s standards, which suggest filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, just over one quarter with grains, a quarter with protein, such as tofu or fish, and then adding dairy on the side, is a good method to remember how to correctly balance your foods. Because everyone’s needs are different, it’s a good idea to download the Start Simple with MyPlate app, which is meant to help people create daily meal and snack goals to help them reach a healthy diet and to help them achieve a balanced diet.
Is it necessary to have a balanced diet at all times?
According to Caroline Passerrello, a dietitian, nutritionist, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the most significant impact on our health is the pattern of eating over time.
“Additionally, how we feel about ourselves and our food has an impact on our health. Focusing too much on nutrition or health can tip the balance of our thoughts, so I encourage my clients to ensure they are always getting pleasure from the variety of foods they choose to eat,” she says.
The best method to achieve a balanced diet is to eat the most nutrient-dense foods possible and to make every mouthful count, because the advantages of making good choices build over time.
What effect does a balanced diet have on our health?
The truth is that preserving our health requires a well-balanced diet. A well-balanced diet provides your body with the nutrients it requires to function properly, allowing you to live a longer and healthier life.
“Without balanced nutrition, your body is more prone to disease, infection, fatigue and low performance,” says Derocha. “Children who do not get enough healthy foods may face growth and developmental problems, poor academic performance and frequent infections.”
Four of the top ten main causes of death in the United States are directly linked to nutrition, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest: heart disease, cancer, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
What effect does vitamin deficiency have on your health?
When we’re feeling under the weather, a nutrient deficiency in our diet might make us feel even worse. Malnutrition is defined as a lack of nutrition rather than a lack of food, and according to a study published in Preventive Medicine Reports, over 12% of Americans are estimated to be malnourished.
“Malnutrition refers to getting too little or too much of certain nutrients, and can lead to serious health issues, including stunted growth, eye problems, diabetes and heart disease,” Derocha explains.
Malnutrition can be divided into two categories: undernutrition and overnutrition. Undernutrition is caused by a lack of protein, calories, or micronutrients, resulting in low weight-for-height (wasting), height-for-age (stunting), and weight-for-age (stunting) (underweight).
“People who are undernourished often have deficiencies in vitamins and minerals, especially iron, zinc, vitamin A and iodine,’ says Derocha. “This can cause weight loss, loss of fat and muscle mass, hollow cheeks and sunken eyes, a swollen stomach, dry hair and skin, delayed wound healing, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, depression and anxiety.”
Overnutrition occurs when a person consumes too much of a certain nutrient, such as protein, calories, or fat, and as a result, he or she becomes overweight or obese.