What Constitutes a Healthy Diet?

When it comes to what you should and shouldn’t eat, everyone seems to have a different answer. Some say carbs are good, others say carbs are bad. It’s the same with fat, gluten, meat, dairy, and even fruit. 

With so many mixed messages from so many sources, you may be wondering what to eat.

Here at Symonett Weight Loss Center in Colton, California, we hear your question and your concern. Our weight-loss specialist, Dr. Elmer Symonett, sees many people falling victim to diet fads and myths. That’s why we offer dietary counseling with a nutrition expert. 

Whether you want to lose weight or just make better food choices, we can help. Here, we want to give you a general guide to a healthy diet. And for the record, there are no “bad” foods, just better choices.

Healthy diet basics

According to the World Health Organization, the primary goal of a healthy diet is to prevent malnutrition and disease. So, what constitutes a healthy diet?

Though the nutrition guides have changed over the years, the basics of a healthy diet have stayed the same. Whether you learned about the four basic food groups or MyPlate, your eating plan should include a variety of healthy foods from all food groups, which includes:

What about fat? There’s fat in many healthy foods, such as avocados (fruit), nuts and seeds (protein-rich food), and fatty fish like salmon (protein-rich food). Vegetable oils, butter, margarine, and mayonnaise are also sources of fat, as well as cheese and whole milk. 

Oils aren’t listed as their own food group, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, your body needs dietary fat. And it isn’t bad, especially when it comes from healthy sources, like nuts, olive oil, and fatty fish.

Maximizing your nutrition

Eating a variety of foods sounds simple enough, but you can take things a step further to really maximize your nutrition. The food you eat supplies your body with energy (calories) and essential nutrients, including carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

To get the most bang for your nutritional buck, your healthy diet should include foods naturally rich in essential nutrients. In most cases, these nutrient-dense foods are low in calories too, which makes it easier for you to maintain a healthy weight.

To maximize your nutrition we recommend:

If you have concerns about the nutritional quality of your diet and food choices, we can help. In addition to dietary counseling, we also offer natural supplements

Diet, weight, and health

The current 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends you limit your intake of foods high in saturated fat (marbled red meat, butter), added sugar (soft drinks and baked goods), and sodium (processed foods, frozen meals, fast food). Limiting these substances may reduce your risk of developing a chronic disease such as diabetes or heart disease.

Additionally, foods high in saturated fat, added sugar, and sodium tend to be high in calories and lower in nutrients. So, with these foods you get very little bang for your nutritional buck. Not to mention the effect they may have on your ability to maintain a healthy weight.

Of course, like many people, you may think this means you have to cut out all your favorite foods, like pizza, french fries, and ice cream. But that’s not how a healthy diet works. It’s OK to eat treats, but the bulk of your food choices should be healthy to optimize wellness and maintain your desired weight.

Though there are some general rules for what constitutes a healthy diet, no single diet plan works for all. We’d be happy to help you design a plan that fits your food preferences, health needs, and lifestyle. Call our office or book an appointment online today. 

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