When we think of eating to lose weight, we always associate it with diets that focus on specific portions and combinations of foods. It conveys images of strict calorie-counting that verges on starvation. From high-protein low-carbohydrate to lemon diet to crash diets and all other forms of dieting in between, weight loss diets are far from healthy. Most of the time, they are ill-designed and do not meet an individual’s nutritional requirements.

The primary objective of a healthy diet is not weight loss. It is the promotion and maintenance of good health. The World Health Organization gave five recommendations on the composition of a health diet: It achieves the right balance between energy and a healthy weight; work towards unsaturated fat consumption as it seeks the elimination of trans-fatty acids; increases consumption of fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts; limits the intake of simple sugars and limits salt or sodium consumption from all sources and ensures that salt is iodized. With these guidelines, a healthy diet prevents many health risks plaguing the nation today which include, among others, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

Healthy diets, then, are not fad diets- the usual diets that those on the road to weight loss adhere to. Healthy diets are meals where all the various food groups are represented. It’s a diet with sufficient amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fats. It’s one where fruits and vegetables figure prominently. It’s also one where water is not neglected.

A healthy diet is not merely a matter of proper food choices. It’s also about healthy eating as well. This means eating a hearty breakfast to jumpstart your day and spreading the rest of your meals throughout in two to three hour intervals. It’s also about smaller portions which you can consume. Not only does this promote wise food spending, it keeps diseases that stem from overconsumption such as obesity, at bay. Healthy eating is also about wise shopping. It means going local for your produce such as fruits and vegetables. It means choosing fresh over preserved. It means going for what’s in season as well.

Healthy eating is also about enjoying mealtimes and chewing food well. It’s not using food as an excuse to vent frustration, anger or depression. It’s about meal planning, diet simplification and moderation. It’s also about living a healthy lifestyle where stress management and exercise form part of life.

When a person eats healthy, a fitter, better and well-balanced individual results. When people observe healthy eating habits and make healthy diets part of their lifestyle, obesity doesn’t become an issue. There would be no need for fad or crash diets that only serves to compound the problem. For those who are already faced with the serious health burden of shedding those extra pounds, all it really takes is the observance of healthy eating and dieting habits and exercise to jumpstart the road back to wellness. In the final analysis, healthy diets, healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle form part of one big package which can only be described as living a “high quality of life.”

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