Healthy and balanced diet
A nutritious and balanced diet is part of adopting a healthy lifestyle. At any age, it is one of the best ways to improve your health and protect yourself against many health problems.
All foods have their place in a balanced diet. However, the frequency and amount to consume varies depending on the type of food. A balanced diet means:
Eat a variety of quality foods from the 4 food groups.
Be attentive to the signals your body sends you in order to adequately meet its needs:
Hunger signals indicate when to eat. They often manifest themselves as a hollow in the stomach, a drop in energy or gurgling in the stomach.
Satiety signals indicate when to stop eating. They include a feeling of fullness and fullness and a decreased interest in food.
In addition to meeting the body’s needs, eating is a source of pleasure. Sharing a good meal with family or friends and discovering new foods and flavours are ways to enjoy the pleasures of eating.
Canada’s Food Guide
Canada’s Food Guide is a tool for making wise food choices. It meets your needs for vitamins, minerals and nutrients, which are necessary to achieve good health and well-being.
This guide presents the following 4 food groups:
- vegetables and fruit;
- grain products;
- milk and its substitutes;
- meat and meat substitutes.
For each of the food groups, the guide proposes the quantities and types of foods to be consumed each day. These suggestions are presented according to your age and gender. They can also vary depending on your size, your level of physical activity, as well as at different stages of life, for example during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Canada’s Food Guide also encourages you to:
- consume certain types of oil or other fats;
- limit your intake of foods and beverages high in calories, fat, sugar or salt;
- drink water every day, since it is the best drink to quench thirst. Drink more when it is hot or when you are physically active;
- read nutrition labels. To understand how to read these labels, see the Understanding Food Labels page.
Healthy weight management
Overweight (overweight and obesity) is a significant risk factor for many health problems, for example:
- type 2 diabetes;
- cardiovascular diseases;
- several types of cancers, such as colorectal, pancreatic, kidney, breast, uterine and ovarian cancer;
osteoarthritis, which is a form of arthritis.
In addition to being overweight, smoking, physical inactivity and poor nutrition are examples of unhealthy lifestyles.
There are no miracle recipes for losing weight and not gaining it back in the months to come. Also, multiple attempts at weight loss and the methods used may pose health risks. The most important thing is to adopt a physically active lifestyle and a healthy diet. It is better to prevent weight gain than to try to lose it.
Body mass index
The definitions of overweight and obesity are based on body mass index (BMI). BMI is the measurement of a person’s weight in relation to their height. The formula used is: BMI = weight (kg)/height (m)2. It is used to indicate the risks of developing health problems.
However, BMI is not a good indicator of body fat because it does not distinguish between excess fat and excess muscle. It is body fat, especially belly fat, that can have harmful effects on a person’s health and life expectancy.
Warning about weight loss diets
Weight loss diets are generally very severe and it is often impossible to follow them forever.
The body reacts to a diet in the same way as it would to a famine: by reducing the energy expended at rest. By starting to eat as before, or more than before because of deprivation, the body stores the calories it finally receives in the form of fat. The person thus recovers the lost weight and often more. The more diets there are, the more the body tries to protect its reserves and the more difficult it becomes to lose weight.
Several diets recommend weighing or measuring the amount of food consumed. However, each person has their own energy and calorie needs. The portions offered in these diets are therefore not suitable for everyone. The only way to ensure that you consume the amount of food that meets your body’s needs is to rely on the hunger and satiety signals it sends.
Many diets include a list of prohibited foods. However, it has been shown that depriving oneself completely or excessively of a food increases the desire to consume it and leads to eating more of it.
Food, a vital need for living things
Feeding is a need in living beings. People feed, animals feed. Even plants feed on what is in the soil, whether it is water or the nutrients that make it up. As a reminder, water is first and foremost the source of all life on Earth. One thing is certain, you suppress water and all life forms disappear, including the human species. On the other hand, you suppress Man, plants and animals will survive without any problems. Except maybe some domestic or artificial species created by humans. In this article we will talk about food and what healthy eating is.
All this to say that in this article, when we talk about food and nutrition, we must take a step back and consider the subject as a whole. It must always be kept in mind that living beings need to feed on living things, just as machines need energy. In this article, I’m not going to talk to you about what you need to eat to be thin, nor about the proper diet to gain muscle.
The food is dying, alas.
How should our relationship to food be?
Eating a healthy diet has become rare. Indeed, we are currently living in an era where food is neglected. For some, it is another opportunity to generate profit. Before, food was something sacred. A gift from heaven that had to be considered with respect. In many cultures, people are used to being grateful for food. It must be recognized that the relationship to food has evolved over the past few decades.
In conclusion, I would like to say that adopting a healthy diet can be summarized in three simple precepts. The first is that we need to rethink the way we eat and how we relate to food. The second principle is to keep in mind that your body needs all types of food and nutrients. The stakes are in the proportions: nothing is good in excess! The third and final precept is that quality prevails over quantity.