Promoting a healthy diet

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Eating well is an important part of a healthy life. When you eat well you will feel better and be more healthy with a reduced chance of disease or illness. In order to maintain a healthy body, it's vital to provide the body with the correct nutritional requirements. The body is like a machine and thus needs a supply of regular energy to keep it going.

To eat a balanced diet you need to combine several different types of foods, from each of the main food groups but in the right amounts so your body gets all the nutrients it needs while maintaining a healthy weight.

This means you should eat:

  • Plenty of bread, rice potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods
  • Plenty of fruit and vegetables
  • Some milk, cheese and yoghurt; Some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein
  • Just a small amount of foods and drinks high in fat and or sugar

Energy is expressed in kilojoules (kJ) but was previously expressed in calories, which are still commonly referred today (1-kilocalorie kcal) = 4.184 kJ

For the human body, energy is obtained from nutrients in food and the following shows how many kJ are in 1g of certain food groups.

1g Carbohydrates = 16kJ (3.75kcal)
1g Protein = 17kJ (4kcal)
1g Fat = 37 kJ (9kcal)
1g Alcohol = 29 kJ (7kcal)

It's recommended in an adult diet the following proportion of energy should come from fat, protein and carbohydrates in the following amounts.

30-35% of total energy should come from fat with 10% of that coming from saturates. 47-50% should come from carbohydrate foods with 10% from sugars. Protein averages 15% of total energy intake and if taken alcohol should contribute around 5%. It's important to remember that these figures are based on population averages and not targeted individuals.

To complement a healthy diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle are also important for a healthy life.