Why balanced diet important
Why is it important to have balanced diet:
Adequate and balanced diets:
It is not enough that all the essential components are present in the diet. The food intake must be adequate, i.e. ideally each meal should provide sufficient
(i) growth-promoting foods
(ii) energy-providing foods, the energy which they release being measured in joules
The degree to which any particular meal is adequate varies in different individuals, according to (a) gender, (b) age, (c) occupation. For example, manual workers need more that do sedentary ‘brain’ workers. It also varies with external temperature (less food is needed in warm climates), and with body size. As far as small differences are concerned, e.g. between a tall slim man and a short slim man, the taller man usually requires more food; however, with great size differences, e.g. between man and mouse, the mouse requires proportionately more because of the continual heat loss from its relatively larger body surface.
For a diet to be balanced, the essential dietary components should be present in the correct proportions, e.g. the energy foods must be evenly distributed between carbohydrates, fats and proteins, on average in a ratio by weight of 5:1:1 respectively. Food should also be palatable.
Milk as a food
Milk provides an almost complete balanced food – it contains carbohydrates, fats, proteins, most minerals and vitamins, and a very high proportion of water. Young mammals are fed exclusively on milk for a short time after birth.
However, milk has several disadvantages as the only constituent of a diet:
1. It contains insufficient vitamin C – infants fed exclusively on milk develop scurvy after about a year.
2. It lacks iron – the mother provides the embryo with a store of iron which the young mammal draws upon during the suckling stage, so preventing anaemia.
3. Its protein is not easily digested.
4. The large volume of water in milk causes excessive fluid intake – the diet becomes too bulky.
5. It lacks roughage.
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