What is a healthy diet? How to eat healthy according to science?
Last year, you or someone around you probably had a diet. Statistics show that in the past 12 months, 49.3% of people used diet to lose weight. You may diet at least five times (maybe more) in your life.
This is very reasonable. You live in a weight-conscious culture. And you know that weight is closely related to health, so you will try to lose weight. At the same time, you may be curious to ask: “What is a healthy diet?”
If you want to lose weight, you have many choices, such as hominid diet, ketogenic diet, low-fat diet, low-carb water diet, vegetarian food, fruit food, 30-day whole food, wheat-free diet, Jenny Craig diet, Duran fiber diet, Dub row diet, fit for Life diet, pure meat diet, Miami diet, starch-free diet, etc., each has its advantages and disadvantages.
There is a thought-provoking statistic: Among dieters who use the popular weight loss diet, it is estimated that 95% of people will regain their weight within one to five years. Moreover, looking at these dazzling suggestions, it is really difficult to know who to believe or exactly what you should eat.
Even if the restrictive popular weight loss diet can really help you lose weight in a short period of time, is it okay to continue eating like this? Let your body ban carbohydrates from now on? Or stop eating fruit? Or just eat fruit? What if I had some cream and bacon?
This is really mind-blowing! Moreover, from the statistics, it is difficult to deny the fact that these popular weight loss diets are useless at all. In the words of Susan Powter, a fitness icon in the 1990s, it is time to “stop fooling around again.”
Say goodbye to “popular weight loss diet” forever
Think about it: If your body can no longer lose a pound, does this mean you should give up trying to eat healthy food? of course not.
Adopting this short-term popular weight loss diet is almost doomed to failure. The answer is: you must turn your attention to eating for health in the next life, instead of desperately dieting in a short time, just to achieve an ideal weight standard.
Health comes in all shapes and sizes. Regardless of your weight, you should feel at your best every day. Please provide your body with scientifically proven nutrients required for human growth, which will have many benefits. You will be radiant, your body will feel good, and you will have plenty of energy. In addition, you can be mentally and emotionally prepared every day to cope with your goals and challenges.
There are also long-term benefits. Healthy eating habits are related to maintaining the health of various parts of the body, including your heart, brain, bones and joints, as well as metabolic functions, and so on.
The key to success is to change your behavior patterns for life. Find a way to eat it that is natural and can be used for life. Establishing a more positive relationship with healthy food will help you live a healthy life for a long time and enjoy what you like with the people you love.
Below you will read an overview of a healthy diet, including the diet that science has shown is most beneficial to health. You will also receive relevant guidelines and goals to help you work hard to steadily achieve permanent changes to your daily diet.
What is a healthy diet?
Most people are wrong. The food they eat will lose weight, but not enough to help them live a healthy and long life.
A 2019 study found that the intake of almost all healthy foods was below the optimal standard. Researchers report that healthy foods you do not eat are at least as important as unhealthy foods you might eat often. They pointed out that “the death toll caused by an undesirable diet exceeds the other risks of smoking in the world.”
When it comes to negative health effects, inadequate intake of whole grains and fruits is the culprit. Not eating enough nuts and seeds, vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids, cellulose, and polyunsaturated fats will also have a negative impact on quality of life. Ingesting too much salt is also a serious problem that affects long-term health.
This research reveals which foods you need to add to achieve a healthy diet, not just focus on which foods need to be subtracted. Author Michael Pollan briefly summarized this point in his book “In Defense of Food” (In Defense of Food), when he observed that we should “eat food, but don’t eat too much, mainly vegetable food.”
Healthy eating patterns are usually a variation of the Mediterranean diet (imitating the traditional diet patterns of countries around the Mediterranean). These diets emphasize the intake of whole, minimally processed foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds, and beneficial fats (especially those derived from extra virgin olive oil).
This type of diet can be adjusted according to most dietary habits, cultural or moral preferences. Whether it is animal food or not, it can be very healthy; although it often requires us to plan carefully to ensure the integrity and balance of vegetarian and vegan diets. Many people find that adding some meat to their diet is more helpful in controlling hunger, but this is only your personal choice. You can also choose organic agricultural products and grass-fed or pasture-raised animal products.
In addition, drinking water the most thirst-quenching.
The science of tasting a healthy diet
There is a lot of evidence that insisting on a natural food diet based on plant foods can achieve the most important health effects, that is, health and longevity.
A healthy diet can provide many nutrients needed for human health, including omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and antioxidants, as well as a range of vitamins and minerals; they work together to bring significant health benefits. This is confirmed by many research results and thousands of people.
A study of 23,153 Germans aged 35-65 years found that high intake of fruits, vegetables and whole wheat bread, and reduced meat intake are associated with improved health. For those who maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI), never smoke, and exercise for three and a half hours or more per week, this result is even more significant.
A study conducted by the World Health Organization found that it is never too late to start improving diet. They believe that those who adhere to a healthy diet will prolong their lives by 60 years of age.
Dozens of studies and clinical trials have shown that the Mediterranean diet helps maintain:
- Healthy waist and weight / BMI
- Normal cholesterol
- Healthy blood sugar
- Normal lipids / lipoproteins
- Healthy blood pressure and circulation
- Normal cognitive function
Lower glycemic index and healthy diet
Generally, a healthy eating pattern consists of foods with a low glycemic index or load.
When it comes to glycemic index, common sense should guide your decision, the goal is to limit the lack of nutrition, processed foods containing refined starch and sugar, rather than limiting natural foods. Many starchy vegetables (such as carrots and fruits) also have a high glycemic index.
But there is no evidence that these foods are harmful
In fact, a review in 2018 showed that eating more fruits has great benefits, which should be partly due to their high fiber content and prebiotic effects (that is, they can feed intestinal beneficial bacteria). Cardiovascular, digestive, metabolic, respiratory and bone health are all beneficial. In addition, eating fruits will also improve mental health and skin health.
A day of healthy eating (suitable for adults)
Now that you have a good overall understanding of all aspects of a healthy diet, let us delve deeper into how these foods constitute your daily diet.
The following standards reflect the commonality and differences of the most mature healthy eating patterns, including the Mediterranean diet, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (commonly known as DASH), and the Mediterranean-DASH-diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND for short), flexible vegetarian (or semi-vegetarian) diet, and the USDA dietary guidelines.
No food must be banned; all foods are suitable for a healthy diet. But there is a principle: the intake of certain foods must be very modest, which we call “special circumstances” food.
In general, food in special circumstances is harmful to your health and waistline. But when you can indulge, please enjoy it without guilt, but only a few times a month:
- Desserts and sugary foods
- Potato chips and processed snacks
- Refined grains such as white bread or pasta
- Fried or fatty dishes
- Processed and cured meats (bacon, salami, etc.)
- Soda or juice
The most important thing is to find an effective diet balance for you. To find out what you like, pay attention to your body’s signals, not just rely on taste buds. What food does your body like? How do certain foods make you feel? You may wish to write the answers to these questions on the food diary.
Try new foods, but do not force yourself to eat what you do not like. Your best diet should be composed of the healthiest and most nutritious foods that you will love for life.
Wayne Probert is a senior reporter at Zobuz, covering state and national politics, and he is a grantee with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Before joining Zobuz, he worked as a freelance journalist in Kentucky, having been published by dozens of outlets including NPR, the Center for Media.