Dr. Weil’s food pyramid, http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02995/Dr-Weil-Anti-Inflammatory-Food-Pyramid.html,
The United State’s Department of Agriculture’s, “MY Plate”, http://www.choosemyplate.gov/.
The Atkins Food pyramid, http://www.atkins.com/Science/Atkins-Food-Pyramid.aspx
On the heels of “WTF am I eating”, http://valeriegoldstein.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/wtf-am-i-eating/, I thought it would be nice to also shed some light on WTE (what to eat) on a healthy balanced diet. There are so many different nutrition philosophies out there, so much confusion about what is healthy, and, not so healthy to eat and way too much controversy on what really is the “perfect” diet for you.
Take a look at the pictures above. Different food suggestions, different ideas of how to eat healthy. Yet, they have one big similarity. There is no mention of chips, cookies or ice cream. Sure it is ok to dabble a little bit once in a while but junkie convenience foods have crept their way into daily eating and for some of us desserts are a staple after each meal.
These three diets (shown above) are examples of the anti-inflammatory diet, the low carb diet and the calorie controlled diet; just a few of the hundreds of thousands of different ways to feed yourself. With so many diets out there, which is best? What food plans work and how are you supposed to know WTE?
A balanced diet, or food plan, is not the same for everyone. By definition, balanced eating would apply solely to consuming a balanced ratio of nutrients from carbs, protein and fat (1:1:1) where calories are distributed evenly across the board at about 33% of total calories for each macronutrient. You should understand that most “healthy” plans do not emphasize this balanced equation. Also, personal situations may dictate and override a general balanced diet formula. A healthy diet will be different for everyone based on their own special circumstance. For example:
- Being athletic can change the nutritional playing field. Athletes may benefit from eating a balanced ratio of nutrients but the formula may need a little tweaking to account for their goals to fuel, recover and repair from the stress of long bouts of physical activity and the additional specialized needs for any particular sport.
- Hippocrates, 460 BC– 377 BC, is noted for his famous quote “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. This means that if you have a medical condition, such as diabetes, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, polycystic ovarian syndrome etc… a “balanced” diet may require tipping the scales more towards certain nutrients like healthy fats and away from others, like carbohydrates, to assist the body in equalizing the medical imbalance of that particular health condition.
- If you are healthy, exercise and within your goal weight, eating an equal amount of calories from protein, fats and carbs should be the goal.
There is a lot of information out there on WTE. My best advice is to understand what your personal needs are and mold a healthy balanced nutrition plan that will work for you. Nutrients can act in your favor or against you. It is your choice. If you need to use these general plans to jump start your healthy eating use them but long term, strive to “balance” and personalize your eating, tailored just for you.