Healthy Eating Diets, Drop The Fast Foods
And Go Back To The Good For You Basics
A Question of Perception - What Do Healthy Eating Diets Mean to You?
Quick: When you hear the word "diet,” do you think instantly of eating—what you eat and how you eat? Or of abstinence from eating—as in cutting your caloric intake or denying yourself certain foods?
The question is worth asking, because too many young women, particularly in the United States, view their diet as little more than a mechanism for weight control. But healthy eating diets, properly understood, are much more than that. Food is the fuel that keeps us cooking on a cellular level.
Consequently, the way we eat has direct bearing not only on those dreaded digits displayed on the electronic scale, but also on our strength, stamina, alertness, longevity, and ability to ward off disease. Too much emphasis on the weight-reduction aspect of diet, we believe, obscures the more significant and positive role that food plays in maintaining optimal health.
If people nowadays appear more fixated than ever on dieting (as opposed to diet), the reason can be at least partially attributed to the glut of new and often conflicting nutritional information we are constantly exposed to. Related to this trend is the steady stream of fad diets that continually find their way into the popular press, each of which seems to capture the public’s imagination for a brief period, only to be replaced by a new and, we are assured, better program.
One guru tells us we will thrive on a diet consisting mainly of protein, while another points out the various virtues of juices. Some experts say that red meat is OK if you choose the right cuts and downsize the portions, while others adopt a strictly vegan approach. Some folks swear by supplements; others wouldn’t touch ‘em for love or money. And so on.
Thankfully, the reality of eating on healthy eating diets is far less complicated than the hype of eating right. In a simpler day and time, Home Economics teachers taught their students that there were four main food groups:
The meat group, which includes not only red meats, white meats, and seafood, but also tofu and nuts (and peanut butter), which typically contain plant proteins.
The diary group, which consists of milk, eggs, yogurt, and cheese, as well as variations on these animal by-products such as ice cream, sour cream, and cottage cheese.
Vegetables and fruits
Breads, cereals and pastas
Although most dieticians now use the food pyramid as a model for healthy eating diets and make finer distinctions than are reflected in the list above, the four food groups still provide a snapshot of a sensible, balanced diet that contains everything you need for robust health, and in the case of young people, for vigorous growth and development as well.
The recommended percentage of your diet that you derive from each group will vary of course, but no one group is more or less important to your health than another. Proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, certain minerals, and yes, even those much maligned fats, all deserve a place on your plate each and every day.
You might be surprised to learn that the typical Americans diet does, in fact, contain generous contributions from each of the major food groups. As a result, the diseases associated with malnutrition1 don’t pose much of a threat for the great majority of U.S. citizens.
There are, of course, important exceptions—notably, among the poverty-stricken, the homeless, and people suffering from severe eating disorders—but they are seen in a comparatively small percentage of the total population.
Our problems, when they occur, more often revolve around the number and type of calories we consume rather than the utter lack of necessary nutrients. Collectively, we often eat too much. And even more frequently, we eat too many of the wrong things.
To give just one telling example: Dieticians and other health experts recommend that fats comprise no more than 25 percent to 30 percent of our daily diet; yet the average American receives a whopping 40 percent of calories from fat sources.
That fact—coupled with our fast-paced, go-getter society—goes a long way toward explaining why heart surgeons in this country don’t have any trouble staying busy! On the other hand, most of us don’t eat nearly enough leafy greens, drink enough water, or consume the amount of dietary fiber required for optimal health.
Diet, eat healthy nutrients not fattening empty calories and enjoy healthy eating diets for a lifetime.
Healthy Eating Diets