Scientists and health professionals are beginning to understand that the old fashioned criticism of single nutrients as the root of all evil is not the most helpful approach to healthy eating.
We don’t tend to eat sugar, salt or fat on its own. We eat a complex diet composed of many different foods, often combined together to make meals.
This means instead of arguing over whether we should eat more butter or less sugar, it’s more important to look at our diet as whole, thinking about how that food fits into your overall diet. Not just today, but also over weeks and months.
Healthy eating is therefore a balance of quality, quantity and frequency, and each person's diet varies depending on their own activity level, nutritional needs and goals.
Modern Western diet trends have today led to us eating more meat and animal products, less fresh fruits and vegetables and more processed convenience foods which is in part responsible for growing rates of chronic diseases such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer.
At present, a way of eating inspired by the traditional Mediterranean diet is thought by scientists to be one of the healthiest to follow, promoting long life good health. This diet is abundant in whole foods: fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, legumes, unsaturated oils (e.g. olive or rapeseed oil), with modest intakes of dairy, meat and even alcohol.
Whole foods are foods that have been processed and refined as little as possible, before being eaten. They are loaded with everything our bodies need, from carbohydrates, protein, fats, fibre, minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients and many more.
In nutrition, diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism. Our dietary habits can help nourish our bodies and manage weight but it’s only one part of the pyramid that makes up a healthy lifestyle; enjoying food with others, being active and getting enough sleep are all important for physical and mental well-being.
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