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Diet for Healthy Balanced Weight Loss
Calorie and Food Guidelines for Healthy Weight Reduction Plan
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Healthy Weight Loss Eating Plan

Balanced Diet for Healthy Weight

By definition, "diet" refers to what a person eats or drinks during the course of a day.

Weight Loss Diet

If you want to lose weight, it is often helpful to gradually change the types and amounts of food you eat and maintain these changes for the rest of your life. The ideal diet is one that takes into account your likes and dislikes and includes a wide variety of foods with enough calories and nutrients for good health.

Planning Your Weight Loss Diet

How much you eat and what you eat play a major role in how much you weigh. So, when planning your diet, you should consider: What calorie level is appropriate? Is the diet you are considering nutritionally balanced? The following information will help you answer these questions.

Diet - Calories

Most weight-loss diets provide 1,000 to 1,500 calories per day. However, the number of calories that is right for you depends on your weight and activity level. At these calorie levels, diets are referred to as low-calorie diets. Self-help diet books and clinical and non-clinical weight-loss programs often include low-calorie diet plans.

Diet - Rate of Weight Loss

The calorie level of your diet should allow for a weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week (after the first week or two when weight loss may be more rapid because of initial water loss). If you can estimate how many calories you eat in a day, you can design a diet plan that will help you lose no more than 1-2 pounds per week. You may need to work with a trained health professional, such as a registered dietitian. Or, you can use a standardized low-calorie diet plan with a fixed calorie level.

Diet - Nutrition

Ensure your diet contains all the essential nutrients for good health. Using the Food Pyramid and the Nutrition Facts Label that is found on most processed food products can help you choose a healthful diet. The Food Guide Pyramid shows you the kinds and amounts of food that you need each day for good health. The Nutrition Facts Label will help you select foods that meet your daily nutritional needs.

Diet - Adequate Vitamins and Minerals

Eating a wide variety of foods from all the food groups on the Food Guide Pyramid will help you get the vitamins and minerals you need. If you eat less than 1,200 calories per day, you may benefit from taking a daily vitamin and mineral supplement.

Diet - Adequate Protein

The average woman 25 years of age and older should get 50 grams of protein each day, and the average man 25 years of age and older should get 63 grams of protein each day. Adequate protein is important because it prevents muscle tissue from breaking down and repairs all body tissues such as skin and teeth. To get adequate protein in your diet, make sure you eat 2-3 servings from the Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts Group on the Food Guide Pyramid every day. These foods are all good sources of protein.

Diet - Adequate Carbohydrates

At least 100 grams of carbohydrates per day are needed to prevent fatigue and dangerous fluid imbalances. To make sure you get enough carbohydrates, eat 6-11 servings (see Figure 2) from the Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta Group on the Food Guide Pyramid every day.

Diet - Adequate Fiber

Eat a daily fiber intake of about 20 to 30 grams. Adequate fiber helps with proper bowel function. If you were to eat 1 cup of bran cereal, 1/2 cup of carrots, 1/2 cup of kidney beans, a medium-sized pear, and a medium-sized apple together in 1 day, you would get about 30 grams of fiber.

Diet - Small Amount of Fats

No more than 30 percent of calories, on average, from fat per day, with less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat (such as fat from meat, butter, and eggs). Limiting fat to these levels reduces your risk for heart disease and may help you lose weight. In addition, you should limit the amount of cholesterol in your diet. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in animal products such as meat and eggs. Your diet should include no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day (one egg contains about 215 milligrams of cholesterol, and 3.5 ounces of cooked hamburger contain 100 milligrams of cholesterol).

Diet - Plenty of Water

At least 8 to 10 glasses, 8 ounces each, of water or water-based beverages, per day. You need more water if you exercise a lot.

Diet - Variety of Foods from All Food Groups

These nutrients should come from a variety of low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods. To get variety - and with it, a nutritious diet - choose foods each day from the Food Pyramid. See also Diet Reviews

We gratefully acknowledge material from:
USDOA and USDHSS, plus:
BBC Weight & Health
Diet Information
Weight Control Network


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