As the mankind evolves and learns the secrets of healthy and long life, one can say with reasonable surety that healthy diet is the key to long productive life.
Over the past century, deficiencies of essential nutrients have dramatically decreased, many infectious diseases have been conquered, and the many can now anticipate a long and productive life.
At the same time, rates of chronic diseases—many of which are related to poor quality diet and physical inactivity—have increased. Many adults have one or more preventable, diet-related chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and overweight and obesity.
However, a large body of evidence now shows that healthy eating patterns and regular physical activity can help people achieve and maintain good health and reduce the risk of chronic disease throughout all stages of the lifespan.
Key Characteristics of diet
Consume a healthy eating pattern that accounts for all foods and beverages within an appropriate calorie level.
- A healthy eating pattern includes:
A variety of vegetables from all the subgroups—dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other Fruits, whole Grains, Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products Oils.
- A healthy eating pattern limits:
- Saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium
- Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars
- Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats
- Consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium
If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age.
In tandem with the recommendations above, people of all ages—children, adolescents, adults, and older adults—should meet the Physical Activity prescriptions to help promote health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. People should aim to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. The relationship between diet and physical activity contributes to calorie balance and managing body weight.
Junk Food (From Wikipedia)
Junk food is a pejorative term for cheap food containing high levels of calories from sugar or fat with little fiber, protein, vitamins or minerals. Junk food can also refer to high protein food like meat prepared with saturated fat – which some believe may be unhealthy, although some studies have shown no correlation between saturated fat and cardiovascular diseases. Many hamburger outlets, fried chicken outlets and the like supply food considered as junk food.
Despite being labeled as “junk”, such foods usually do not pose any immediate health concerns and are generally safe when integrated into a well-balanced diet.
However, concerns about the negative health effects resulting from the consumption of a “junk food”-heavy diet, especially obesity, have resulted in public health awareness campaigns, and restrictions on advertising and sale in several countries
When junk food is consumed very often, the excess fat, carbohydrates, and processed sugar found in junk food contributes to an increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and many other chronic health conditions. Also consumers tend to eat too much at one sitting and consumers who have satisfied their appetite with junk food are less likely to eat healthy foods like fruit, vegetables or dairy products. Studies reveal that as early as the age of 30, arteries could begin clogging and lay the groundwork for future heart attacks.
Education on Diet & Nutrition:
Scientific evidence suggests that diet plays an important role in the onset of chronic disease. In particular, diets high in saturated fats, calories, cholesterol and salt are associated with chronic conditions such as coronary heart disease, diabetes mellitus, stroke, osteoporosis and obesity. Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) the rate of obesity among children and adolescents has doubled over the past decade and is now considered an epidemic. There have been an increasing number of programs created in hopes to eliminate this rising statistic to create a healthier nation.
Nutrition education programs aim to delay, avoid or reduce the prevalence of these chronic and life threatening conditions. Nutrition education can take many forms from one-on-one sessions to large group classes. Taught by experienced and educated individuals, nutrition education classes help the public make nutritious food choices and provide a foundation of dietary information to shape healthy behaviors. At any age, nutrition education classes can provide benefits on a direct and indirect level.
Scientific evidence suggests that disease or conditions related to nutrition can be positively affected through practicing appropriate nutrition education. Direct benefits of nutrition education include changing habits by learning associated behaviors. For example, condition specific education benefits for heart disease include decreased intake of sodium, how to prepare foods with less salt, decreased fat intake, increased intake of complex carbohydrates and weight control.
Similarly, nutrition education can reduce obesity by using sound weight control methods in reducing intake of fat and calories and increasing intake of fiber, complex carbohydrate, fruits and vegetables. Methods include nutrition label reading, preparation techniques, explaining dietary guidelines and meal planning. Nutrition education can directly assist in decreasing food cost through strategic food buying, meal planning, home gardening skills and decreasing fast food consumption.
Indirectly, completing nutrition education can positively enhance one’s life. Quality of life may increase by providing nutritious, appealing meals that will lead to better health, increased energy, stamina and less illness. Nutrition education may indirectly improve one’s self-image by improving feelings of wellbeing, improved appearance through weight control, increased motivation, knowledge and skills.
Whether you are trying to prevent chronic disease, lose weight or simply follow a healthier lifestyle, nutrition education can provide you with tools and strategies to succeed in meeting your goals.
Traditional versus Modern diet
Traditional diets have been found to be much higher in nutrients than todays modern food supply. Foods made for high production, factory production and mass markets do not offer us the same levels of nutrients that come from smaller scale, organic and biodynamic practices. Traditionally raised foods supply us with higher levels of vital vitamins, minerals probiotics, and other valuable nutrients that are missing in our current food system. They have been shown to increase health and wellness while decreasing or reversing disease.
Conventional foods come with increased risk for disease, inflammation, weight gain and depression. Making the switch to real whole foods can offer great benefit your health and happiness.
Fast food (From Wikipedia)
Fast food is a type of mass-produced food that is prepared and served very quickly. The food is typically less nutritionally valuable compared to other foods and dishes. While any meal with low preparation time can be considered fast food, typically the term refers to food sold in a restaurant or store with preheated or precooked ingredients, and served to the customer in a packaged form for take-out/take-away.
Fast food restaurants are traditionally distinguished by their ability to serve food via a drive-through. Outlets may be stands or kiosks, which may provide no shelter or seating, or fast food restaurants (also known as quick service restaurants). Franchise operations that are part of restaurant chains have standardized foodstuffs shipped to each restaurant from central locations.
Fast food began with the first fish and chip shops in Britain in the 1860s. Drive-through restaurants were first popularized in the 1950s in the United States. The term “fast food” was recognized in a dictionary by Merriam–Webster in 1951.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), fast foods are quick alternatives to home-cooked meals. They are also high in saturated fat, sugar, salt and calories. Eating too much fast food has been linked to, among other things, colorectal cancer, obesity and high cholesterol.
The traditional family dinner is increasingly being replaced by the consumption of takeaway, or eating “on the run”. As a result, the time invested on food preparation is getting lower and lower, with an average couple in the United States spending 47 minutes and 19 seconds per day on food preparation in 2013.
Children and Diet:
Nutrition for kids is based on the same principles as nutrition for adults. Everyone needs the same types of nutrients — such as vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein and fat. Children, however, need different amounts of specific nutrients at different ages.
Consider these nutrient-dense foods:
Protein. Choose seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
Fruits. Encourage your child to eat a variety of fresh, canned, frozen or dried fruits — rather than fruit juice. If your child drinks juice, make sure it’s 100 percent juice without added sugars and limit his or her servings. Look for canned fruit that says it’s light or packed in its own juice, meaning it’s low in added sugar. Keep in mind that one-half cup of dried fruit counts as one cup-equivalent of fruit. When consumed in excess, dried fruits can contribute extra calories.
Vegetables. Serve a variety of fresh, canned, frozen or dried vegetables. Aim to provide a variety of vegetables, including dark green, red and orange, beans and peas, starchy and others, each week. When selecting canned or frozen vegetables, look for options lower in sodium.
Grains. Choose whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn, quinoa, or brown or wild rice. Limit refined grains.
Dairy. Encourage your child to eat and drink fat-free or low-fat dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese or fortified soy beverages.
Aim to limit your child’s calories from:
Added sugar. Limit added sugars. Naturally occurring sugars, such as those in fruit and milk, are not added sugars. Examples of added sugars include brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, honey and others.
Saturated and trans fats. Limit saturated fats — fats that mainly come from animal sources of food, such as red meat, poultry and full-fat dairy products. Look for ways to replace saturated fats with vegetable and nut oils, which provide essential fatty acids and vitamin E. Healthier fats are also naturally present in olives, nuts, avocados and seafood. Limit trans fats by avoiding foods that contain partially hydrogenated oil.
Best practices to follow with children:
- Don’t allow junk food in the house.
If it isn’t in the house, your kids can’t eat it. Or at least they will have a more difficult time getting their hands on it. Buy healthy snacks to keep at home and save the junk for when you are out and can’t avoid it.
- Don’t let your kids drink their calories.
Many children lose weight simply by giving up sugary beverages. Parents greatly underestimate the number of calories and amount of sugar in what their kids are drinking. Did you know that one can of soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar? You would never knowingly give your child that much sugar to drink! And juice is not much better. I think of juice as sugar water. Children do not need to drink juice for its vitamin C. They get plenty of vitamin C from other sources. Think about it. When was the last time you met somebody with scurvy? Replace these sugary drinks with water or flavored seltzers.
- Bigger is not better.
These days, even kid-sized servings are humongous. Most children in my weight loss practice have gained weight from eating too much healthy food, not from eating all junky foods. Remember, all food (even healthy kinds) has calories and if you eat too many calories, you will gain weight. Be sure to serve your children appropriate portions of their meal. At a restaurant, share entrees or ask your waiter to pack part of your child’s portion away before he starts to eat it. We all know how difficult food is to resist when it is sitting in front of you.
4. Everything in moderation.
Tell a child (or an adult) that she can’t eat something and that is all she will want to eat. No food should be off limits. Banning foods leads to uncontrollable cravings. Instead, practice moderation. It is okay to eat ice cream as long as you save it for special occasions and limit it to an appropriate serving size.
- Don’t promote the “clean plate club.”
The best thing you can teach your children is to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. Do not push your kids to eat more than they need, even if you think they have not eaten enough. Our understanding of a proper portion size for a child is overinflated. Push your child to eat the amount you think they need and they will eventually get used to eating that much. And then who wins?
- Go back to nature.
Processed foods, while more convenient, tend to contain more calories than more natural foods. Whenever possible, stick to foods in their purest forms. Fruits, vegetables, meats and grains should make up the bulk of your child’s diet. Save the fast foods and processed foods for occasional treats. My rule of thumb: If you can’t easily pronounce all the ingredients on the food label, skip it!
- Plan ahead.
A small amount of forethought can lead to large amounts of calorie savings. Once a week, sit down and plan the week’s meals. Make sure you have all the ingredients you need to avoid last minute runs to the grocery store. Pre-cook as much as you can over the weekend when you are less stressed. Then, when the weeknight madness arrives, your healthy meal is already prepped!
8.Promote fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
Kids need the calcium in dairy to help their bones grow normally. But regular dairy products are unhealthy because they contain saturated fat, which can cause heart disease. Try to avoid full-fat dairy products. Instead, give your kids low-fat or fat-free cheese, yogurt and milk. They won’t know the difference – but their hearts will!
- If it’s fried, don’t eat it.
Teach your kids that fried foods are unhealthy and try to stay away from them whenever possible. In a restaurant, ask them to grill or bake your food instead of frying it. A great way to prevent cravings for fried food is to serve a healthier version at home. When my kids want fried chicken and french fries, I serve them chicken that has been breaded and then baked in the oven with “french fries” made from potatoes that have been baked to a crisp. They love it and it satisfies their cravings for fried foods.
- Incorporate movement into your child’s daily activities
While vigorous exercise is important, any increase in your child’s movement is helpful. Encourage family walks and bike rides. Grab a ball and play some basketball. When going to a store, pick the worst parking spot so you have to walk further to get to your destination. Ban elevators; take the stairs instead.