Home HEALTH What is a balanced diet?

What is a balanced diet?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that nutrients must be present in the right proportions to ensure a balanced food.

In the real sense of the above definition, food has to be measured, in most cases weighed and calculations done to arrive at a balanced meal.

This is actually recommended for everyone. Those who want to do actual dieting should see a dietician and get a well calculated diet plan.

This will, however, depend on a lot of factors which will also be assessed.
It is recommended that 55-65 per cent of energy (calories) should come from carbohydrates. From 25-35 per cent of calories should come from fats and oils and from 10-15 per cent from proteins.

Calories simply represent the unit of measurement of the energy value of food. Just as weight is measured in kilograms, the energy value of food is measured in calories. These figures and percentages do call for calculations.

Important roles of fruits, vegetables and water

Fruits have to be taken in appropriate quantities three or five times daily. We however have to desist from eating large amounts of fruits at a time.

Only one orange qualifies as a serving size, only one apple qualifies as a serving size of fruit, Pineapple and pawpaw cut to the size of a sardine tin also qualify as serving sizes. Every other fruit has a specific serving size.

Quantities of fruits however do change based on an individual’s health status. Your soups and stews should be done with the vegetables. Up to a cup full of fresh vegetables can be eaten or added to a meal.

Almost 70 per cent of our body weight is water. All reactions that are necessary for life and upkeep of the body occur in a water medium in the body.
Toxic end products of reactions in the body are excreted via water either in sweat, urine or by evaporation.

In our climate, it is estimated that we lose close to 3000ml (3L) of water daily. A similar volume of water however has to be taken to replace the loss.

The specifics

The overall calorie that every individual must consume varies from person to person and is specific to a person’s age, weight and activity level. And they ought to be followed.

When you report to the dietician, he or she first assesses your nutritional status; they also take your dietary history and then review your laboratory results. The stage is then set for dietary advice and interventions.

This might be helpful

Eating a balanced diet presents us with a lot of benefits. First we will be able to build a strong immune system that will enable you to fight disease more effectively. Disease can be better managed if we can consume well balanced diets.

The diet however does not only need to be balanced but also it must be healthy. Make sure that food is stored well under the best of storage conditions.

Too much of any particular food nutrient source makes food bad. This has dire consequences. The choice left to me now is to strive to eat well balanced meals. What about you?

• The writer of this article is a Dietician at Trust Hospital & Clinics. Grab copies of my book titled: “Diet, Health & Wellness” and my video and audio diet advice on CDs. Contact: 0244090262, Also available at Kingdom Books and Stationery Shops at the following locations: Osu, Marina mall, Tema, KNUST campus, UCC Campus.


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