In nutrition, the diet is the total amount of food ingested by an organism or individual. It can also be called the nutrient composition of the diet, or nutricosmetics. Nutrient composition refers to the proportions of a nutrient contained in the food that determines the nutritional value of the diet. The principal components of dietary fiber, protein, fat, carbohydrate, and other nutrients are essential to humans. They are needed for living. A shortage of some of those substances in the diet leads to malnutrition, which can cause severe disease and death.
The phrase healthy diet was first used in the American Journal of Medicine in 1900. Since then, the importance of nutrition in our lives has grown considerably. The National Health and welfare survey identified diet as the single most important determinant of life expectancy of Americans. An unhealthy diet results in many health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. An optimal diet not only prolongs life, it prevents illness and prolongs health.
To obtain a balanced diet that satisfies all of the nutritional requirements of the body, it is important to learn about food categories and how their value differs from each other and from the foods themselves. Vegetables and fruit are considered to be part of a balanced diet, since they are made up of at least two-thirds of the daily calories required by humans. Some of the vegetables and fruits in a balanced diet are: leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli, sweet potatoes, and bananas. Fruits, on the other hand, are usually consumed in juice form, such as grapes and apples.
Diets high in protein, low in fat, and rich in carbohydrates are calling low-fat or low-calorie diets. Most people, when given a choice between a low-fat diet and a low-carbohydrate diet, choose the low-fat diet. But many people with diabetes or heart disease choose to follow low-carbohydrate diets, which are similar to the low-fat diets. Diets that are low in calorie intake but high in nutrient content are known as fad diets. The term “fad” comes from the fact that many people who follow these diets don’t stick with them long enough to reach their weight loss goals.
Diets that reduce overall dietary fat and increase consumption of foods with low-glycemic index (GI) are considered to be diets that lower the risk for developing diabetes. The term “diabetic” itself may cause some uncertainty because the diabetes disease is not solely caused by low-fat diets. There are other conditions that are commonly referred to as diabetes, including juvenile-onset diabetes, non-insulin-dependent diabetes, and gestational diabetes.
A number of dietary guidelines exist for the general population. These guidelines are provided by the US Department of Health and Human Services, which is part of the US Department of Agriculture. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans provides a list of recommended dietary allowances for most individuals, along with the estimated average amount of calories and other nutritional information. This guide was developed through the support of the American Heart Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These health agencies provide support for individuals, families, and caregivers to create an individualized, healthy nutrition plan for them.