Balanced Diet Guide
A balanced diet is an adequate supply of nutrients to the individual needs of each person for the maintenance of health and must meet the energy demands of the body.
The basis of a balanced diet is based on a contribution of calories, proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, minerals, vitamins, water and fiber depending on age, sex, stage of development, the situation of the organism, etc. , to avoid situations of malnutrition both by excess and by default.
The elaboration of balanced diets can be facilitated by grouping foods according to their nutritional value since with this the contribution of calories and nutrients can be calculated accurately. In this way, foods have been classified into the following 4 basic groups: milk and derivatives group, meat group, fruit, and vegetable group and bread and cereal group.
Milk group: this group includes not only milk of different origin but its derivatives such as cheeses, yogurts, etc … These foods have high digestibility and their nutritional value lies in the presence of high-quality proteins and lactose, as well as acceptable levels of some minerals (calcium, phosphorus …), vitamin A and B complex.
Meat group: it consists of various foods, but with equivalent nutritional values. In this group are meats, fish from different sources, eggs, legumes, and nuts whose digestibility varies between 70-100%. The foods of this group provide, fundamentally, proteins and lipids with different degrees of saturation. They also contain certain minerals such as iron, phosphorus, magnesium … and B vitamins.
Group of fruits and vegetables: its nutritional value is mainly attributed to the contribution of water-soluble vitamins, carotenoids precursors of vitamin A and minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium … The digestibility varies between 50 and 100% due to the amount of fiber they own.
Bread and cereal group: contains abundant carbohydrates, are used as a calorie supply for the diet. The nutritional value is also complemented by the presence of minerals, such as iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium … and B vitamins. Digestibility is variable, depending on the non-degradable matter.
The development of a balanced diet should consider an adequate distribution of energy, structural and regulatory nutrients. The varied diets allow ensuring the proportionate intake of all the nutrients, having to adjust the necessary calories individually according to the activity developed. Another aspect that must be taken into account is the possible individual variations by genetic, environmental components …
The preparation of the diet through the basic food groups, in addition to using foods of diverse origin and nature, ensures the contribution of all nutrients in appropriate amounts for different needs and physiological situations for age group, sex, physical activity …
In general, it is necessary to meet the following objectives:
- Provide a number of energy nutrients (calories) that is sufficient to carry the necessary metabolic and physical work processes. It is recommended 40 Kcal / Kg of weight and day.
- Provide enough nutrients with regeneration and regulatory functions (proteins, minerals, vitamins …)
- That the amounts of each nutrient are balanced with the rest
- Proteins should not be less than 15% of the total caloric intake. They must be proteins of high biological value
- The carbohydrates will contribute, at least, between 50-60% of the total caloric intake.