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Essay about healthy balanced diet

A balanced diet is one that provides an adequate intake of energy and nutrients for maintenance of the body and therefore good health. A diet can easily be adequate for normal bodily functioning, yet may not be a balanced diet. An ideal human diet contains fat, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, water and fibre all in correct proportions. These proportions vary for each individual because everyone has different metabolic rates and levels of activity.
Malnutrition results from an unbalanced diet, this can be due to an excess of some dietary components and lack of other components, not just a complete lack of food. Too much of one component can be as much harm to the body as too little. Deficiency diseases occur when there is a lack of a specific nutrient, although some diet related disorders are a result of eating in excess. An adequate diet provides sufficient energy for the performance of the body to function.
Carbohydrates, fats and proteins provide energy. Proteins are a provider of energy in an emergency, but are primarily used as building blocks for growth and repair of many body tissues. We also need much smaller amounts of other nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. Despite the small quantities needed these are essential to provide a healthy diet.
Within the cells of our body, the nutrients ingested are converted to other compounds, which are then used for metabolism and other cellular reactions. Starch, a major carbohydrate is converted to glucose which can be then synthesised into fat for storage, proteins are synthesised from amino acids, and phospholipids are made from glycerol and fatty acids.
Carbohydrates are a rapid source of energy; they are the body's fuel. The bulk of a balanced diet should be made from carbohydrates. If eaten in an excess of the dietary requirements carbohydrates are easily stored as fats in the cells.
An average adult requires about 12,000kJ of energy a day, most of this is s...

Fig 2: % DRV for 1 day for males between 19-50 years of age.

The key to a healthy balanced diet is not to omit any foods or food groups but to balance what you eat by consuming a variety of foods from each food group in the right proportions for good health.

The diet given holds a number of health implications. The amount of energy, fat and sodium consumed are well greater than the DRV's recommendations. However, the amount of fibre consumed is slightly less.

According to the Dietary Reference Values 702.7 kcal more energy is consumed by the given diet than required. The total amount of energy required by individuals depends on their level of activity and on their body weight. In particular, the more active they are, the more energy they can consume without gaining weight. The energy in the diet is provided by carbohydrate, protein, fat and alcohol. The amount of energy made available to the body by each of these varies. Energy is stored in the body as fat in adipose tissue. When the diet provides more energy than is required, the excess is stored as fat and the person puts on weight.

From the nutritional analysis taken it is possible to see that almost twice as much fat is consumed than the DRV suggests, 91.

There are no calories, vitamins or minerals in fibre and it is not digested when we eat it. Fibre is essential for healthy bowel function. When fibre passes through the bowel it absorbs a lot of water, so it increases the bulk of the waste matter. This also makes the waste softer and increases the speed and ease with which it passes through the bowel. A diet rich in fibre has many health benefits. It reduces the risk of a number of bowel problems. These include constipation, haemorrhoids (piles), diverticular disease and cancer of the colon or large bowel. In addition, soluble fibre helps to stabilise blood sugar levels because it slows down the rate at which glucose is absorbed into the blood stream. It also helps to lower blood cholesterol levels, which is important for reducing the risk of heart disease. Furthermore the feeling of fullness which fibre produces can help people who are trying to lose weight to control their appetite.

2.7 times more sodium is consumed than the DRV recommends. Sodium is vital for controlling the amount of water in the body, maintaining the normal pH of blood, transmitting nerve signals and helping muscular contraction.

A high dietary salt intake is an important causal factor in the development of hypertension (high blood pressure). Hypertension increases the risk of strain on the heart, enlarges the heart muscle, prevents an adequate blood supply from reaching the heart, and may lead to heart failure, angina or heart attack.

In order to prevent the possible health implications which would arise with the given diet some necessary changes to the diet will have to occur.

Diet Modifications

Fig 3: Diet number one modifications.

Fig 4: Nutrition Information for diet number one modifications.

Fig 5: % DRV for 1 day for males between 19-50 years of age, (modifications).

Comparing the revised diet with the original diet, it is now possible to see that the levels of energy, fat, dietary fibre and sodium are now more or less ideal. The lower values are due to the removal of foods such as pizza which would be high in fat and sodium. The chips were also removed as they also have a high amount of fat in them.

Practical Number 2

Two Day Diet

Fig 6: Two day food and drink intake.

Fig 7: % DRV for 2 days for males between 19-50 years of age.

Fig 9: Energy Contribution.

During the two days, the foods which gave the highest amount of energy came from the chicken curry, tuna mayonnaise sandwich, and chicken salad sandwich.

Fig 10: Protein Contribution.

The foods which contributed to the highest amount of protein came from the chicken curry, tuna mayonnaise sandwich, and chicken salad sandwich.

The 1991 UK Dietary Reference Value for the percentage of energy that should be derived from protein is 15%. The percentage of energy derived from my protein intake is 25%, which is a significant difference. Protein is essential for building and repairing cells in the body. A common problem in the UK is too much protein consumption, particularly animal protein. Excess protein is converted into fat in the body. Many protein-rich foods are also high in calories and saturated fat. A high-protein diet may therefore lead to obesity.

Fig 11: Fat Contribution.

The fat in my diet is mainly contributed by the chicken curry, tuna mayonnaise sandwich, and eggs.

The UK Dietary Reference Value suggests that 35% of energy should be derived from fat if there is no alcohol consumption in the given period.

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