Health Education Authority's Eight Guidelines for a Healthy Diet

Written by evelyn trimborn
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Health Education Authority's Eight Guidelines for a Healthy Diet
The guidelines suggest you eat a variety of foods every day. (nutrition image by razorconcept from

The Health Education Authority in the United Kingdom first published the Eight Guidelines for a Healthy Diet in 2001. Since then, the guidelines have become adopted as the British government's position on good nutrition and adapted as part of the Food Standards Agency guidelines. The National Health Service's recommendations on eating a balanced and nutritious diet are based on these eight guidelines.

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Enjoy Your Food

This guideline tries to avoid people thinking that strict dieting is healthy for them. Instead, they should try to eat several healthy meals each day and take time to enjoy them.

Eat a Variety of Different Foods

The secret to a nutritious diet is a healthy one containing a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats as well as lean proteins.

Eat the Right Amount to Be a Healthy Weight

This guideline cautions against overeating. It also cautious against eating so little that there is a danger of the person developing anorexia. Calorie counting can help eaters stay on target and the body mass index is now available to help people judge what they should weigh based on their height to weight ratio.

Eat Plenty of Foods Rich in Starch and Fiber

This guideline refers to the fact that fibre helps people feel more full after a meal and can also help regulate the digestive system. Starch, or complex carbohydrates, help give the body fuel and tend to have less calories and fat than meat.

Don't Eat too Much Fat

This guideline refers to the danger of eating too much fat in our diet, which can cause us to gain weight. Fat should be used in moderation, and since these guidelines were published, people now know that there is such a thing as healthy fats versus bad fats, such as trans fats.

Don't Eat Sugary Foods too Often

This healthy guideline advises people not to eat too many sweets such as cakes, cookies and candies. They are high in simple carbohydrates and sugar and can cause tooth decay. In addition, they are high in calories but lack nutritional value such as vitamins and minerals.

Look After the Vitamins and Minerals in Your Food

This encourages people to get most of their nutritional needs from the foods they eat, rather than from any vitamins and supplements. Therefore, people should eat a balanced diet of protein and carbohydrates, with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

If You Drink, Keep Within Sensible Limits

This guideline should apply to adults only and refers to limiting alcohol consumption each day. Alcohol can damage the body and interfere with nutrition by suppressing the appetite. Since these guidelines were published, experts have learnt more about the health benefits of red wine, but only in moderation.

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