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Balanced diet

Food refers to anything that nourishes the body. It includes solids, semisolids and liquids, which help to sustain the body and keep it healthy.

Food is a complex mixture of nutrients and non-nutrients. Nutrients are substances essential to the body as they perform important functions in our body. These when deficient in our food intake lead to ill health.

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and as food is closely related to health it performs functions at all the above levels.

The functions of food are -


There are 3 physiological functions That food performs,

a] Energy giving function -
Body requires energy for performing various activities like sitting, standing, etc and also for activities performed within the body like beating of the heart, expansion and contraction of the lungs. Nutrients like carbohydrates & fats perform this function. These nutrients when burnt in the body energy is released which is used to perform the activities.

b] Body Building function -
The body is made up of several cells. During growth these cells increase in size and also new cells are added to existing ones. Also there is a constant wear and tear of old cells. These have to be replaced. This is called repair. For both these processes proteins are essential.

c] Protective and regulatory function -
Protective function refers to prevention of infection in the body by ensuring that the disease fighting capacity of the body is well functioning

Regulatory function is role of food in controlling body processes like beating of heart, maintenance of body temp etc. Vitamins, Minerals & Proteins perform this function in the body.


Sharing food with someone implies social acceptance.
Food is also an important part of festivals anywhere in the world. Food & religion also go hand in hand. People of a particular religion have common eating patterns.


Food is a way through which emotional needs like need for security love and affection are satisfied. You often serve food as a reward
to show love towards a person.


Diet is : -
What you eat or one's habitual eating
-To restrict oneself of particular food to reduce weight
-Change made in the food you eat according to the disease requirement

Every individuals need for different nutrients like calories, proteins, fats, vitamins & minerals is different and varies with age, sex, activity level, environmental factors, physiological conditions & pathological condition . Therefore diet also changes according to:

1] AGE -
- Infancy
- Preschool age
- School age
- Adolescent age
- Adult
- Old age

2] SEX:
- Female

Sedentary work
- Moderate work
- Heavy work


Pregnancy -

1-3 months
4-6 months
7-9 months

Lactation -



Heart Diseases like Hypertension, Coronary Heart Disease. Gastrointestinal Diseases like piles, diarrhoea, Dysentery, peptic ulcer etc.
Kidney Diseases like nephrotic syndrome, Renal calculus, and renal failure
Liver Diseases like Hepatitis, cirrhosis Diabetes Mellitus

What is a Balanced Diet?

Balanced Diet is a diet, which fulfills all the requirement of the body for different nutrients like calories, vitamins, minerals for its proper functioning.
It is a defined as a diet which contains different foods in those quantities and proportion that the need for different nutrients like calories, vitamins minerals is met with and a small extra amount is provided to make up for a period when you do not meet your nutrient needs adequately like in periods of low intake, change in nature of diet, nutrients lost during cooking.

The important points in the above definition are explained as follows

1] Balanced Diet consists of different types of food.
This is done by selecting food items from 3 food groups classified according to the function they perform, in each & every meal.

The food groups are
A] Energy giving food group which includes -

Carbohydrate rich foods -
Cereals- Rice, wheat, jawar, Bajra, Raji etc
Roots & Tubers-Potato, sweet potato, yam, etc
Sugar, Jaggery, Honey

Fat rich foods- Butter,Ghee,vanaspati,Oils

B] Body Building food group which includes -

Milk & Milk Products
Meat/ Fish / Poultry / egg
Nuts and oilseeds

C] Protective and regulatory functions performing food group which includes
Fruits -

Yellow & Orange fruits- Mango, papaya
Citrus fruits- lemon, orange, lime
Other fruits- Guava, Banana, pear, Peach, plums

Vegetable -

Green leafy vegetable - spinach, fenugreek
Yellow orange vegetable - Pumpkin, carrot
Others - Lady finger, brinjal, Cauliflower, cabbage

2] Balanced Diet meets the nutrient needs.

This is because the right amount and proportion of foods are selected. The amount of food are selected based on R .D. 1 (Recommended Dietary intake) for different nutrients required by the individual. R. D. 1 is the amount of nutrient to be actually consumed in order to meet the requirement of the body (to prevent symptoms of deficiency and maintain normal level of nutrients in the body) and a small extra amount to make up for the period when you do not meet your nutrient needs adequately through your food intake

3] Balanced diet provides for periods of leanness.

This is obvious as it is based on R. D. 1 which already includes a margin of safety.

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