Choose Your Daily Diet and Balance Your Food

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balanceWe begin a new cycle of publications connected with diets and healthy eating. In our materials you'll read about counting fat, carbohydrate and fibre. Learn to balance the amounts of fat, carbohydrate and fibre you consume daily, because your good health depends on them.

Your diet should provide all the energy, protein, vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy and active every day, so enabling you to enjoy life to the full.

In our affluent society, however, it is very easy to choose a diet that is too high in fat, sugar and salt and too low in fibre, especially as our busy lifestyles often mean eating takeaways or ready-prepared foods. It is well known that a high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt diet may be harmful, leading to increased risk of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and certain forms of cancer.

Choosing to eat sensibly is clearly vital to good health. Although there are no single 'good' or 'bad' foods, the key to better health is to select a balanced range of nutritious foods every day, and indulge in fattening or less nutritious 'treats' less often.

Find and read any Pocket Fat, Carbohydrate & Fibre Counter. It will help you achieve all this, to make your diet more balanced. It will enable you to understand the composition of a wide range of available foods and give you the knowledge to select and balance your daily nutritional requirements and those of your family.

Dietary energy is measured in kilocalories (kcal) or kilojoules (kj), which comes from three major food sources: protein, fat and carbohydrate. The daily number of calories (as they are more usually known) needed depends on your sex, age, weight and activity level.

While protein is essential for the growth and maintenance of body tissues, most adults eat more than enough. High-fibre foods such as bread and pulses also provide useful amounts of protein, so achieving your daily fibre target can mean that you also obtain your protein requirements.

There are three essential nutrition elements in the foods you choose: fat, carbohydrate and fibre. (Although fibre is not a nutrient it has a vital role in keeping the gut active and healthy).

The most useful foods are highest in carbohydrate and fibre - so aim to limit the fats and choose starchy, not sugary (low-fibre), carbohydrates.

Your diet need not meet strict daily targets. Balance too much fat one day with less the next. Overall, try to achieve a healthy diet and remember that eating should be enjoyed!

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