Regardless of diet or even lifestyle modification, like most things in life, eating a well-balanced diet is key to getting more refined fuel for better bodily function and health.
To simplify, think of a dish. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, a quarter of your plate should consist of non-red meat protein and the other quarter should include whole, unrefined grains. The remaining half of your plate should consist of vegetables and fruits.
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Likewise, when cooking, it is best to use vegetable oils such as olive, canola, soybean, corn, sunflower, peanut, etc. while taking care to limit and avoid partially hydrogenated oils that contain unhealthy fats.
Harvard’s concept of this healthy eating plate is based on the quality of the diet rather than the actual amount consumed, although both are important in my opinion. They claim that the type of carbohydrate is more important than the amount in the diet, emphasizing consumption of vegetables (limit potatoes), fruits, whole grains and beans.
In the United States, we have both the luxury and the curse of having unlimited sugary drinks at our disposal that have very little nutritional value. Contrary to the message the USDA has promoted for decades, the Healthy Eating Plate encourages and endorses the use of healthy oils and does not specify the maximum recommended daily percentage of healthy fats in our diets.
Our diets evolve over time influenced by many social and economic factors that have a complex interaction to shape our individual dietary patterns. These factors include income, food prices, cultural traditions, preferences, beliefs, geographic characteristics, and even environmental ones such as climate change.
You can still enjoy your favorite foods, even if they’re high in calories, fat, or added sugars by eating them less often, eating smaller portions, or substituting a lower-calorie version. No matter the belief, environment, new diet or plan, it’s best to stay consistent, be moderate, do the best you can with choices and balance and practice what you can keep together with exercise. Thus, energy intake (calories) must be in balance with energy expenditure.
Dr. Rushi S. Patil, MD, PhD, with Citrus Oral and Craniofacial Surgery, is board certified and a graduate of Lekanto High School. Visit the web at www.citrusofs.com.