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A Good Diet: What Should You Be Eating?

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what you should eat in a good diet Comstock/Thinkstock

Experts agree that a good diet should contain balanced amounts of food from five main food groups. These are:

Fruit and Vegetables
At least five portions of fruit and vegetables should be consumed every day. This isn’t as much as it sounds because this includes juices and snacks.

Starches include foods such as potatoes, rice, pasta, bread and other wholegrains.

Dairy Products
Dairy products include milk, cheese, and yogurt (assuming you have no dairy allergy).

Protein Foods
Protein is found in foods like meat, fish, eggs, beans, pulses and nuts (assuming you have no nut allergy).

Fat and Sugar
The current advice is that these should only be consumed in small quantities, although there is some controversy over whether a low-fat diet is really that good for you. (1)

What if I’m Vegetarian?

Vegetarians can still get fats and protein from eggs and other dairy products, beans, pulses (such as lentils), nuts and oils like olive oil so it is perfectly safe to exclude meat and fish from your diet.

Very strict vegetarians (vegans) who also exclude dairy products can maintain good health as long as they eat plenty of non-dairy protein sources (beans, pulses, nuts and oils).

As many strict vegetarians may be low in vitamin B12, found commonly in meat, they should also make sure they eat plenty of dried apricots, dates and figs as these all contain vitamin B12, as well as making sure they include broccoli and spinach in their vegetable selection and potatoes in their starch selection as these also contain vitamin B12.

The British Vegan Society recommends getting vitamin B12 from fortified breakfast cereals, milk substitute drinks, soy mince and yeast extract spreads as these are a good source of B vitamins (but only if you have no problems with yeast infections). (2)

The Low Fat Diet Controversy

A study carried out in the Cancer Research medical journal found that a low carbohydrate, high protein diet slows cancer growth in animals and that if animals were fed on a typical government recommended western diet (high carbohydrate, low fat) their cancer tumors spread more quickly.

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I think there's two key things when making your diet. The first one is get everything your body needs, the second one is to do so in a way that isn't harmful - like you can get your nutrients from fast food, but at the same time it would reduce your health. Then there's all the things that fall under that, like having an overall low GI diet, not eating too much processed foods, and all that. If you do that, you can't really go wrong.
My own website about health, that provides practical advice everyone can follow, is www.faevia.com, if anyone is interested in how I make my diet healthy.

June 5, 2012 - 4:20am

Balance, moderation and variety. These are the words that should be preached more and more. Starch, proteins and fats all have a vital role to play in the development and health of the human body. Obviously problems will always arise whenever the balance is broken and somethings are taken more and others less. This simple truism should never be disregarded.

June 3, 2012 - 12:51am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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