In nutrition, the diet is basically the amount of food ingested by an animal or human being. It can be defined as the amount of calories that are absorbed by the body as consumed. The usual definition of diet is “the amount of calories necessary to maintain the normal level of body weight in humans.” Different people have different requirements for diet; the average American diet contains about twenty-six thousand calories per day. This is less than three-hundred calories per day for men and about seven thousand calories per day for women. Most people in the United States are somewhat overweight, and this extra weight increases the risk of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers of the colon, stomach, and prostate.
There are three broad groups of diets. The first group is the Western diet, which consists of meat, milk, and eggs. The second group is the Eastern diet, which include fruits and vegetables; rice; and bread. The third category, called the lacto-ovogetarian diet, includes beans and nuts as staples. In other words, all plants are staples, but certain animals are permitted to have certain animal fats and oils.
The most important issue in deciding what is a prudent diet is your total intake of calories, which must be greater than the calories burned through exercise and other physical activities. Because of this, healthy diets usually include a variety of food groups, with lean meats, low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and whole grain breads as the major sources of carbohydrates. The fat should be low-fat and come mostly from nuts, olive oil, and avocados.
An individual’s level of habitual nourishment usually varies, because different people require different kinds of foods and drinks regularly provided or required by their particular lifestyle and health state. In a case where one has a low level of habitual nourishment, it is important to choose a variety of nutritious food and drink regularly provided or required by his/her diet. For example, an individual with a high level of habitual sugar intake might consider fruits and vegetables as a good, healthy choice for a part of his/her daily diet. The same individual would possibly avoid meat, dairy products, and eggs if he/she were to consume such a large amount of sugar regularly. In both cases, the goal is to increase fruit and vegetable intake, and to decrease the overall sugar intake.
On the other hand, someone with a high consumption of dairy products, including cheese, may find it difficult to avoid meat or dairy products. High-fat dairy products provide an abundance of vitamins and minerals and can often help regulate blood glucose levels. A low-fat dairy product that offers an adequate amount of nutrients for a part of a day’s diet may help to maintain energy and muscle mass. Low-fat milk and yogurt, plus milk products, may help to regulate cholesterol and blood sugar levels. When selecting a source of calcium for the diet, it is best to look for low-fat alternatives, or calcium-enriched drinks, rather than the usual full-fat varieties. These sources are often better for providing essential mineral and vitamin nutrients.
Fats should be restricted in any diet plan, especially saturated fats. This is because these fats can cause weight gain over time and may even increase the risk of certain types of cancers. Instead, the focus should be on unsaturated fats and oils, which are found in a number of different foods. Some examples include nuts, olive oil, avocados, and various seeds and nuts (including peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, and sunflower seeds). All fats should be cooked slowly to retain more nutrients. For instance, instead of pan frying foods, and using butter or shortening whenever possible, gradual cooking helps to maximize the effects of the fat.
Many people are confused about the new definition of dieting, as well as what this definition actually means for them. As previously mentioned, this definition has become a bit of a misnomer for many people, simply because the word diet itself no longer has any specific connotations. A diet may include exercising, eating a variety of foods, or even drinking several glasses of water per day. However, these aspects are not essential to dieting, and a person can choose to do none of these things, or do them in conjunction with each other for optimal results.
This definition of dieting can also help those who are just beginning a diet. The first step to dieting is making changes in your eating habits, and this is done by reducing or eliminating foods that are high in fat and sugar and increasing foods that are low in these things but provide other nutritional benefits. A diet can be broken into sections, with one segment maintaining a steady rate of weight loss, and the next segment going back to where you were in the previous diet. Each such segment should be made up of approximately four hundred calories per day. Those diets that emphasize reducing fat and calorie intake, while increasing the amount of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein are the most successful. Diets in which you eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, and decrease your calorie intake but increase the amount of fiber, vitamins, and protein have had less success than diets that emphasize the opposite.