10 things to look for in a healthful diet

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A healthful diet is one that is adequate, balanced, controls calories, is moderate and comprises of variety.

Your diet should contain foods that suit your personality, lifestyle, family, culture/tradition and of course your budget. Ultimately, a healthful diet should deliver pleasure and optimal health.

Here’s how to determine a healthy diet:

1. Includes all classes of foods. A healthful diet will not eliminate either carbohydrates or proteins or fats from your food. Any diet that will totally eliminate any class of food is likely to be lacking in essential nutrients and does not offer any variety. This sorts of diet are difficult to follow.

2. Promotes physical activity and calorie control. Think about it, energy in should be equal energy out to burn calories. The only guaranteed way to burn fat is to keep within your daily calorie requirements and move in active exercise. A healthful diet will not advocate weight loss pills, shakes, body wraps or any product offering quick fixes.

3. Does not promote specific supplements or foods. You should watch out for any weight loss programme that promotes foods or supplements that can only be bought from selected distributors. Chances are these products contain ingredients that have not been proven or are harmful.

4. Promotes different combination of food groups. A healthful diet will not restrict you to specific food combination that should be eaten at specific times. There is no scientific basis for any restrictive food combination. This will also diminish your ability to enjoy your meals.

5. Contains healthy quantities of different foods. A healthful diet will not limit you to specific foods daily. Some diets recommend that you eat only a particular food daily or they restrict the number of certain foods.

6. Takes pre-existing health conditions into consideration. Ideally, before getting on any weight loss programme, you should be required to get clearance from your physician. If you are on a programme like ours at TBA Wellness Hub that is run by a medical doctor and team of professionals, this would be taken care of at your first appointment during a health risk assessment. A healthful diet must, therefore, pay attention to medical conditions and be designed to improve health.

7. There are no rigid menus. You should have a meal plan as a guide to your nutrition. A healthful diet should not be rigid with meal plans or at specific times to eat meals. This will make it near impossible to incorporate your personal preferences. For example, you should be able to replace grilled turkey with chicken, or kale with spinach.

8. Will promote a healthy lifestyle. This includes healthful eating, physical activity, stopping of harmful habits, stress management and changes that will benefit your health.

9. It is not about calorie restrictions. Any weight loss programme that restricts your calorie intake beyond what is recommended as your daily calorie intake will usually be prescribed by a doctor. Individuals on such plans are closely monitored. Very low-calorie diets are reserved for people with severe obesity or obesity-related health problems. This kind of diet cannot supply all the nutrients required and as such supplementation is necessary.

10. Does not promote rapid weight loss. A healthful diet promotes healthy weight loss, between 0.2-1kg weekly. Any programme that promises you more than 1kg loss weekly is likely depleting your body water.

Now that you know what to look for in a healthful diet, why don’t you take it a step further and have one customized for you? This in addition to active exercise is the best way to lose weight and keep it off.

Remember to keep meals healthful, colorful and fun.
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