We need food to survive. Without food we will die very quickly. It is a very simple fact. The human body can live only on food. And the food we eat will give us energy to help us move from A to B, develop muscles, repair tissues and so on.
The problem is that most people’s diet is totally unhealthy and doesn’t give them enough nutrients to live a healthy life. Food which has been pre-processed and which is full of chemicals and additives is not really ‘food’ at all. Food which has been stripped of all its nutrients is really ‘garbage’ because it does not provide the real food we need. Food which has been processed and has lost most of its nutritional value is a dead weight on your table. And the ‘real food may be food that is being repackaged as healthy’.
So, what is the answer? An effective nutritional strategy that ensures good health, is a balanced diet, based on real food. But this is not an easy task when confronted by a busy lifestyle, shopping and the variety of ready-made foods on offer. With today’s supermarkets you can buy almost everything in packaged form, including many kinds of food which have lost many of their nutrients. And the ingredients used in these modern formulations are not always easy to understand.
A balanced diet must contain a wide variety of food from different food groups, ideally with high quality protein sources, complex carbohydrates and some vitamins. This means that you should be able to eat all the main food groups, including dairy, grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, milk, eggs and poultry. You may not be able to eat all the food groups, but you should eat many of the other important food groups.
In addition to being able to eat all the main food groups you should also try to minimise your intake of fat and cholesterol, because these are the main source of dietary fibre. Complex carbohydrates can provide energy without the storage of sugar in your body, like fats do, by providing you with the energy stored in the muscle cells. Meat is another rich source of dietary fibre that can provide an important part of your daily intake of energy. Fish, eggs and poultry are also rich in dietary fibre, which can also provide you with energy.
Unsaturated fatty acids are considered healthy fats. The problem is that the majority of available fats are derived from the oil that comes from some types of animals, such as dairy products, butter and palm oil. The hydrogenated oils derived from foods also contain high levels of trans fatty acids, which are thought to increase the risk of heart disease. The beneficial effects of unsaturated fatty acids on the heart are not clear. They may help to keep the arteries clean and prevent blood clots, but they could also raise the levels of cholesterol and cause problems with the heart.