The Basics of Nutrition
With the rise in obesity levels in most of the Western world and with the increasing prevalence of this condition across many under-developed countries, there have been hundreds of diets that have been promoted, both to reduce weight and to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The problem is that while most of them are great and offer impressive results initially, their long-term effects may not be so beneficial. Whether you want to reduce weight or simply eat a healthier diet, the solution does not lie in the latest fad eating regime. Instead, what you need is a system of eating that is both healthy and sustainable over the long term.
Well, the solution to that problem may not be as complicated as you think. Many modern health problems – or the lack thereof – stem from changes in eating habits made over the last 50 years. Prior to World War II, the average male in London consumed over 3000 calories per day, and yet, obesity was not the problem that it now is. Sure, there was, by necessity, more exercise being done, but jogging and aerobics were not around then. Exercise tended to be moderate and performed within the course of general daily routine, such as riding or walking to work or using a push mower rather than a drive-on one. If that is the case, what changes have been made to our modern lifestyles that facilitate the increase in weight among such a large proportion of our population?
To enable ease of access to a healthy diet, the government developed a system known as the food plate. We will start by taking a broad look at this system, and from there, we will look at some easy ways to change eating habits for the better in more detail. These habits are not only healthier but, in many cases, they are cheaper, too. The fact is that much of the obesity explosion we have been witnessing has taken place in the poorer communities of our society, and any changes made need to be accessible to both rich and poor alike.
If you want to live a healthy and well-balanced life, it is important that you maintain a well-balanced diet. The problem is that not all people know how to make sure that their meals are balanced and that they are eating the right kinds of foods to get all the nutrients that their bodies need. It is also important to know how much of these foods you should be eating.
In 2011, the Food Plate replaced the Food Pyramid as an easier means of showing people what they should eat for every meal. It’s a way of zoning your plate and making sure that you fill your plate up with the right food choices. This Food Plate is known as “MyPlate” and is the current nutritional guide published by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Basically, a food plate should consist of at least 75% vegetables, and then the remaining 25% should be partitioned between protein, grains, and fruits. A small saucer of dairy can also be included. Oils are also important to eat because they contain important nutrients, but they are not a real food group. They, however, will still be mentioned within this chapter. The notes below will help you understand the partitions of the Food Plate better.
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