Many people innately understand the components of a healthy diet; they just get hung up on the trivialities. While individual diet plans might differ on 20 per cent of their recommendations, such as daily carb allowances or recommended protein types, the other 80 per cent of healthy diets are going to largely overlap. What follows is a summary of that 80 per cent of commonalities shared by healthy diets--if you get these items down, you will go a long way towards taking control of your health.
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Healthy diets will not promise you the world. In other words, there will be no assertions that you will lose large amounts of weight in small amounts of time or any other outlandish claims. A healthy diet will aim for gradual and sustainable weight loss with a progressive approach to dieting. Thus, a healthy diet will not begin by putting you on a 1,000 calorie deficit or asking you to eat nothing but raw fruit and vegetables. Reasonableness is the key.
Start with Nutrients
A healthy diet will first and foremost ensure sustainable health above and beyond weight loss. Thus, one component of a healthy diet is regular consumption of fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables are essentially "freebie" items while on a diet. You can generally eat as much as you want, and you will not set your progress back. On a healthy diet, aim to have a serving of either fruits or vegetables with every single meal.
Limiting Junk Calories
A healthy diet will encourage you to dispense with all needless calories in your "normal" diet. Thus, most calorie-containing beverages are out, along with sugary fruit drinks, sports drinks and traditional snack foods. Dairy is the one primary exception. If you are not lactose intolerant, some dairy products are perfectly healthy while you are on a diet.
Cut Unhealthy Fats
Healthy diets will eliminate consumption of all trans fats and cut back on consumption of saturated (animal) fats. Some saturated fat is necessary for your body to function properly, but too much can lead to raised cholesterol levels. Thus, a healthy diet will draw a distinct line in the sand between acceptable (omega-3 fats, olive oil, flax) and unacceptable fats (trans fats and excessive saturates).
Encourage Protein Consumption
Your body needs protein to build and repair tissue. Additionally, protein is the most "metabolically friendly" nutrient, as your body expends more calories to digest a gram of protein than it does to digest a gram of carbohydrates or fat. The best protein sources are natural--lean meats, some dairy, nuts, eggs, fish, chicken, and turkey. Additionally, protein intake is linked to increased satiety levels, which means that you will feel full longer--something that is always useful while on a diet.
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