The principles of a healthy diet

A diet is whatever a person eats, regardless of the goal—whether it is losing weight, gaining weight, reducing fat intake, avoiding carbohydrates, or having no particular goal. However, the term is often used to imply a goal of losing weight, which is an obsession for many people.

 

Standard healthy diets for children and adults are based on the needs of average people who have certain characteristics:

  • They do not need to lose or gain weight.
  • They do not need to restrict any component of the diet because of disorders, risk, or advanced age.
  • They expend average amounts of energy through exercise or other vigorous activities.

Thus, for a particular person, a healthy diet may vary substantially from what is recommended in standard diets. For example, special diets are required by people who have diabetes, certain kidney or liver disorders, coronary artery disease, high cholesterol levels, osteoporosis, diverticular disease, chronic constipation, or food sensitivities. There are special dietary recommendations for young children, but little guidance is available for other age groups, such as older people.

 

A healthy balanced diet should aim to include a wide range of different foods from the four main food groups (bread, other cereals and potatoes, fruits and vegetables, milk and dairy foods, meat, fish and alternatives). The nutrients provided by these foods have specific functions in the body and are outlined below. Foods and drinks in the 'foods and drinks containing fat and/or sugar' food group add interest and enjoyment to our diet but should be eaten sparingly.

 

Food group

Examples

Quantity

Main nutrients provided

Top tips

Bread, other cereals and potatoes

Bread, pasta, rice, breakfast cereals, potatoes, yams, plantain, cous cous etc

These should be the main part of every meal (one third of meal)

Carbohydrate
B vitamins
Calcium
Iron
Dietary fibre

Try to eat brown, wholegrain or wholemeal varieties to increase fibre intake

Fruit and vegetables (fresh, frozen and canned)

Oranges, apples, bananas, carrots, peas, tomatoes, kiwi, pineapple, cabbage, broccoli, grapes, lemons, aubergine, courgette etc

These should be a main part of every meal and at least five servings should be consumed a day

Vitamin C
Carotenes
Folate
Carbohydrate
Fibre

Try to have different fruits and vegetables each day to provide a range of beneficial nutrients

Milk and dairy foods

Milk, cheese, yogurt and fromage frais

Three servings a day

Calcium
Phosphorous
Magnesium
Vitamin B12
Protein

Chose lower fat varieties if you are watching your wasteline!

Meat, fish and alternatives

Beef, lamb, pork, chicken, beans, lentils, eggs and fish

One or two servings a day

Iron
Protein
B vitamins
Zinc
Magnesium
Essential fats

Try to trim the fat from meats before cooking to reduce fat intake

Foods and drinks containing fat and/or sugar

Crisps, fizzy drinks, sweets, butter, margarine, cakes and biscuits

Should be consumed only in moderation

Fats
Sugars
Salt

Try not to drink sugary drinks between meals in order to protect teeth

(Source : http://www.milk.co.uk/page.aspx?intPageID=129)

 

 

Common diet plans

Here's a summary of six common weight-loss strategies in circulation today

 

Low-fat diets

Cutting down on high-fat foods can help you cut down on your daily calories and thus help you lose weight. So why don't low-fat diets always work? Even a low-fat diet can lead to weight gain when people ignore the total amount of calories they're eating and regularly exceed their daily calorie goals. Too many calories from any source, low-fat foods included, can add pounds.

Low-carb diets

Followers of these eating plans believe that a decrease in carbs results in lower insulin levels, which causes the body to burn stored fat for energy. Initially, when you follow a low-carb diet you may lose more weight than if you followed a low-fat, low-calorie diet. This increased weight loss may or may not continue long term depending on your commitment to following the eating plan.

A low-carb diet doesn't appear to be any easier to maintain than are other diets. Studies comparing low-carb diets and low-fat diets have found that after a year, people drop out of both diets at similar rates. This suggests that the low-carb diet, like so many diets, is no easier to stick to long term.

Glycemic-index diets

The glycemic index ranks carbohydrate-containing foods based on their effects on blood sugar. Similar to the theory behind low-carb diets, most low-glycemic-index diets claim that lowering blood sugar levels leads to weight loss.

You may have difficulty following a diet that emphasizes only foods with a low-glycemic-index ranking. Many factors other than food influence your blood sugar level, including your age and weight, the type of food preparation, and the portion size.

Meal replacements

Meal replacements provide less than 400 calories a meal and are nutritionally complete. You replace one or two meals a day, such as breakfast and lunch, with a low-calorie shake or meal bar. Then you eat a healthy third meal, between 600 and 700 calories, of your own choosing. Meal replacements — if used as directed — can be as effective as other weight-loss diets.

Meal providers

Some people have a difficult time knowing what they're supposed to eat. Busy schedules leave little time for meal preparation. In such cases, relying on ready-made meals eaten at home may deserve consideration. These services can be expensive.

Group approaches

You don't have to lose weight alone. Group programs can support your efforts, giving you eating plans, exercise recommendations and support from others on the same dietary path. After joining, expect regular weigh-ins, group meetings and activity sessions.

 

(Source : http://www.mayoclinic.com/print/weight-loss/NU00616/METHOD=print)

 

 

Diabetic Diet

If you have diabetes, your body cannot make or properly use insulin. This leads to high blood glucose, or sugar, levels in your blood. Healthy eating helps to reduce your blood sugar. It is a critical part of managing your diabetes, because controlling your blood sugar can prevent the complications of diabetes.

Wise food choices are a foundation of diabetes treatment. Diabetes experts suggest meal plans that are flexible and take your lifestyle and other health needs into account. A registered dietitian can help you design a meal plan.

Healthy diabetic eating includes

  • Limiting sweets
  • Eating often
  • Being careful about when and how many carbohydrates you eat
  • Eating lots of whole-grain foods, fruits and vegetables
  • Eating less fat
  • Limiting your use of alcohol

Cholesterol Diet

Although the different types of fat have a varied—and admittedly confusing—effect on health and disease, the basic message is simple: Out with the bad, in with the good. As you limit the amount of trans and saturated fats in your diet, as the American Heart Association, National Cholesterol Education Program, and others recommend, keep in mind that there is no good evidence that replacing saturated fat with carbohydrates will protect you against heart disease, while there is solid proof that replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fats will help.

Try to eliminate trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils. Check food labels for trans fats; avoid fried fast foods.

Limit your intake of saturated fats by cutting back on red meat and full-fat dairy foods. Try replacing red meat with beans, nuts, poultry, and fish whenever possible, and switching from whole milk and other full-fat dairy foods to lower fat versions.

In place of butter, use liquid vegetable oils rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in cooking and at the table.

Eat one or more good sources of omega-3 fats every day—fish, walnuts, canola or soybean oil, ground flax seeds or flaxseed oil.

(Source : http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-full-story/index.html)

 

Diverticulitis diet

Diverticulitis occurs when small, bulging pouches (diverticula) in your digestive tract become infected and inflamed. A diverticulitis diet, which includes clear liquids and low-fiber foods, gives your digestive tract time to rest during your diverticulitis treatment. A diverticulitis diet is not a treatment for diverticulitis.

 

Diverticulitis diet during an attack

During an attack of diverticulitis, your doctor may recommend diverticulitis treatments. Your doctor may also recommend that you stick to a clear liquid diet for two or three days.

Foods and beverages allowed on a clear liquid diet include:

  • Broth
  • Clear soda
  • Fruit juices without pulp
  • Ice chips
  • Ice pops without bits of fruit or fruit pulp
  • Plain gelatin
  • Plain water
  • Tea or coffee without cream

 

Diverticulitis diet once signs and symptoms begin to resolve

As you start feeling better, your doctor will recommend that you slowly introduce low-fiber foods.

Low-fiber foods include:

  • Canned fruits
  • Desserts without seeds or nuts
  • Eggs
  • Enriched white bread
  • Fruit juice with little or no pulp
  • Low-fiber cereals
  • Milk
  • Yogurt or cheese without seeds or nuts
  • Smooth peanut butter
  • Tender meat, poultry and fish
  • White rice or plain pasta, noodles or macaroni
  • Well-cooked vegetables without seeds or skins

 

Diverticulitis diet after an attack

If you're no longer experiencing diverticulitis, your doctor may recommend you eat a high-fiber diet.

Slowly increase the amount of fiber in your diet. As your body adjusts to your new diet, you can add more fiber. Aim for at least 25 grams of fiber each day if you're a woman, and 38 grams of fiber each day if you're a man.

High-fiber foods include:

  • Brown rice
  • Fruits
  • Legumes, such as lentils and dried beans
  • Whole-grain breads, such as whole wheat, rye and bran
  • Whole-grain cereals that include wheat, bran or oats
  • Wild rice
  • Vegetables

 

(Source : http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diverticulitis-diet/MY00736/METHOD=print)

(Original article: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/diverticulosisanddiverticulitis.html)

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