What is a Balanced Diet Anyway?

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Kevin Aister DO

Aug 19, 2020

The United States has a pretty big weight problem. According to the latest data from the Center for Disease Control:

  • More than 1 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight
  • More than 2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight or have obesity
  • More than 1 in 3 adults are considered to have obesity
  • About 1 in 13 adults were considered to have extreme obesity
  • About 1 in 6 children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 were considered to have obesity

Despite this data – a healthy weight is very much in your reach and it all starts with a balanced approach to your diet.

You have probably heard from just about everybody all about the different fads that allegedly make the pounds melt off. The truth, however, is that following basic nutritional guidelines is one of the most important components of any weight management plan. It’s simple – healthy eating supports healthy weight.

What is Considered a “Balanced Diet”?

A balanced diet is defined as a diet that gives your body the nutrients it needs to function at peak performance. Specifically, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 from the US Department of Health say a healthy eating plan emphasizes:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • whole grains
  • fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
  • lean meats
  • poultry
  • fish
  • beans
  • eggs
  • nuts

And is low in:

  • saturated fats
  • trans fats
  • cholesterol
  • salt (sodium)
  • added sugars

It is important to avoid eating “empty calories,” which are calories that provide little to absolutely no nutritional benefit. Americans consume empty calories most often in:

  • bacon
  • sausages
  • cakes
  • cheese
  • cookies
  • doughnuts
  • energy drinks
  • fruit drinks
  • ice cream
  • pizza
  • sports drinks and sodas

Sticking to a balanced diet provides benefits that go beyond weight management. A healthy diet can help prevent diabetes, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, arthritis, blood pressure and other chronic diseases. Let’s stay healthy Prevention Generation, and really work to balance our diets!

 

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