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Alternative Names Return to topWell-balanced diet
Definition Return to top
A balanced diet means getting the right types and amounts of foods and drinks to supply nutrition and energy for maintaining body cells, tissues, and organs, and for supporting normal growth and development.
Function Return to top
A well-balanced diet provides enough energy and nutrition for optimal growth and development.
Food Sources Return to top
Milk group (milk and milk products)
Meat and beans group
Grain group (breads and cereals)
Side Effects Return to top
An unbalanced diet can cause problems with maintenance of:
It can also cause problems with bone and muscle systems.
Recommendations Return to top
The term "balanced" simply means that a diet meets your nutritional needs while not providing too much of any nutrients. To achieve a balanced diet, you must eat a variety of foods from each of the food groups.
There are several guidelines available to help you plan your balanced diet. They include:
The most important step to eating a balanced diet is to educate yourself about what your body needs, and to read the nutrition label and ingredients of all the food you eat.
New dietary guidelines from the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA) recommend fewer calories and smarter food choices.
Some of the key recommendations:
References Return to top
Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. Rockville, MD: US Dept of Health and Human Services and US Dept of Agriculture; 2005.Update Date: 2/27/2008 Updated by: Patrika Tsai, MD, MPH, Assistant Clinical Professor, Pediatric GI, Hepatology and Nutrition, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.