What is a Healthy Diet?
Health Nucleus clients enroll presumed to be healthy, but some are found through our integrated assessments to have asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic health concerns, which now detected, can be treated through standard medical care. A healthy diet can benefit many of these concerns.
Why is it important to have a healthy diet?
Poor diet has been linked to major health risks including, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, some cancers, and obesity.
Obesity or excess weight due to poor nutrition, can lead to lung disorders, fatty liver disease, metabolic syndrome, kidney disease, reproductive and pregnancy complications, gastrointestinal abnormalities, high blood pressure, arthritis and higher morbidity.
A healthy diet is one of the most important defenses against many chronic diseases.
Am I considered overweight or obese?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (2016) being overweight or obese is defined as weighing more than expected for your height.
How many people are overweight?
- About 1/3 of U.S. adults are obese and approximately 17% of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese.
- According to the World Health Organization, obesity worldwide has nearly tripled since 1975, with more than 1.9 billion overweight and 650 million obese globally.
- You can prevent obesity and other chronic diseases with a healthy diet.
What is a Healthy Diet? And how do I start?
- Eating healthy is a lifestyle change, therefore starting with small changes can lead to greater success and build healthier eating habits.
- You want to have a variety of healthy foods. Remember that it does matter what you eat/drink now; the right approach to eating today can help you live a healthy future.
- Healthy eating includes micronutrient and macronutrient foods, which are nutrient dense. Examples of these foods include various fruits and vegetables, lean meats, poultry and fish, nuts and legumes, whole grains, and low fat dairy products.
What types of Diets are healthy?
- The American Heart Association promotes the DASH diet for preventing and lowering high blood pressure. This diet includes foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meat, fish, nuts, seeds and legumes. It also promotes reducing salt intake which reduces blood pressure and heart disease risk.
- The Mediterranean Diet has been popular over the years. It helps promote weight loss, supports heart and brain health, cancer prevention and diabetes control. It encourages fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, olive oil, seafood, poultry and eggs.
- The National Institute of Health’s National Cholesterol Education Program, promotes the Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC) diet, claiming to lower LDL cholesterol by 8-10% in six weeks, in addition to promoting weight loss.
- The Dean Ornish diet claims to help with weight loss, heart disease, and preventing cancer through a plant-based diet.
How do I use calories to monitor my weight?
You can calculate how many calories your body needs to carry out cellular activities and normal body functions (breathing and heart pumping. Remember this does not include the calories you burn walking and exercising during the day)
Once you calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) you can learn more about how to maintain, gain or lose weight. For example:
- If you eat the same number of calories that the body burns in a single day your weight will not change.
- If you eat more calories than you burn in a single day you will gain weight.
- If you eat less calories than you burn in a single day you will lose weight.
- In order to lose 1 pound of fat you need to burn negative 3,500 calories. For example: if you burn 500 more calories than your body needs in a day for 7 days this calculates as: 500 calories X 7 days = 3,500 total calories = 1 lb lost.
- There are various weight loss apps for your phone that can help you track how many calories you are eating and burning.
Tip for weight loss: According to the Centers for Disease Control eating foods that are low energy dense will help you feel full and control feelings of hunger. For example, eating spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, citrus fruits, carrots and celery instead of high energy dense foods such as, potato chips or candy bars, which don’t promote a feeling of fullness. This will aid in successful weight loss.
Where can I get more information?
For additional information, please seek further guidance from your primary care provider or Registered Dietician. There are also many Apps and technologies to support healthy nutritional choices
American Heart Association (2015). The American Heart Association’s Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations. Retrieved from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/The-American-Heart-Associations-Diet-and-Lifestyle-Recommendations_UCM_305855_Article.jsp#.WrAMANPyvBI
Centers for Disease Control and prevention. (2016). Defining Adult Overweight and Obesity. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/defining.html
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. (2015). Health Risks of Being Overweight. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/health-risks-overweight
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity (2015). Low-Energy-Dense Foods and Weight Management: Cutting Calories While Controlling Hunger. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/nutrition/pdf/r2p_energy_density.pdf
Segula, M. (2014). Complications of obesity in adults: A short review of the literature. Malawi Medical Journal, 26(1), 20–24.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2018). Importance of Good Nutrition. Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/fitness/eat-healthy/importance-of-good-nutrition/index.html
United States Department of Agriculture (2017). My Plate, my wins. Healthy Eating Solutions for Everyday Life. Retrieved from https://www.choosemyplate.gov/find-your-healthy-eating-style-and-maintain-it-lifetime