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Essay on Healthy Diet
- Essay on the Introduction to Healthy Diet
- Essay on the Essential Constituents of Healthy Diet
- Essay on the Quantity of Food for Healthy Diet
- Essay on the Calories in Healthy Diet
- Essay on the Proportion of Fat, Protein and Carbohydrate in Healthy Diet
- Essay on the Choice of Foodstuff in Healthy Diet
- Essay on the Percentage Composition of the Ordinary Articles of Healthy Diet
Essay # 1. Introduction to Healthy Diet:
In general terms, as adequate diet is one which permits normal growth, maintenance and reproduction. The diet of any individual, viz., adult male or female, lactating or expectant mother, children, infants, etc., may be calculated.
It should be specially remembered that in infants before six months age, starch should be given in moderation and milk should be the chief diet, with added amounts of minerals and vitamins. As a matter of fact it is not definitely known how much food is just adequate for infants and children. A little excess over the calculated value is always desirable.
The following few actual examples may be helpful:
i. A Man Weighing:
A man weighing 70 Kilograms and with an energy requirement of 3,000 C should have the following diet- Protein—70 gm (or to provide for a margin of safety—100 gm). Thus will yield 100 × 4.1 = 410 C. Fats- same amount as proteins, i.e., 100 gm. This will yield 100 × 9.3 = 930 C. Total of these two is 1,340 C.
The remaining, i.e., 3000—1340 = 1660 C should come from 1,660/4 = 415 gm of carbohydrates. However for practical purposes, it is usually presumed that 1 gm of carbohydrate yields 4 C, 1 gm of protein 4 C and 1 gm of fat 9 C, and necessary adjustments are made in the calculation of calorific requirement in the diet.
ii. A Man in Nitrogen Equilibrium:
A man in nitrogen equilibrium excrets 12 gm of nitrogen per day. His total calorific requirement is 3,000 C. His diet chart should be as follows- Protein requirement =12 × 6.25 = 75 gm. This is his actual protein requirement. This will yield 75 × 4.1 = about 308 C. Fats approximately same quantity, i.e., 75 gm. This will yield 75 × 9.3 = about 698 C. These two make up 1,006 C. The remaining 3,000-1,006 = 1,994 C should be supplied by 1,994/4 = about 500 gm of carbohydrates.
It has been observed that an average adult can maintain his nitrogen equilibrium by taking as low as 35- 45 gms of protein daily. In economically backward countries the total Calorie obtained from a combination of protein and fat is usually as low as 15-25 percent.
iii. Diet of School Student:
For school student (age 10-15) the calorific requirement is same as that of an adult. The protein requirement is high and is about 2.5 gm per Kilogram of body weight per day. Rest of the calculations should be done in the above method.
iv. Diet of an Infant:
For infants before six months, the total calorific supply should be aimed at between 700-1,000 C. [May be approximately calculated from the above mentioned principles.] it should receive small amounts of polysaccharide. Whole of his diet should preferably be given in the form of milk till the fourth month, and after that it can be supplemented with some form of semi-solid food.
The amount of milk can be calculated from the percentage composition of cow’s milk, from which its calorific value per ounce can be known. The protein requirement should not be less than 4 gm per Kilogram of body weight per day. It is to be noted that the fat content of this milk diet is in large excess than the accepted standard for adults. This is very helpful in infants whose B.M.R. is very high. Because, it supplies enough energy in comparatively small volume.
v. Diet for the Aged:
The calorific requirement should be reduced as the age advances according to the following:
3.0% reduction between 30 and 50 years
7.5% reduction between 50 and 70 years
10.0% reduction between 70 and 80 years
vi. Diet for Pregnant or Lactating Mothers:
Additional allowance over the normal requirements: During pregnancy 500 extra Calorie and 20 gm extra protein, during lactation 1,000 C and 40 gm protein. Extra amount of iron, calcium and different vitamins should also be provided.
vii. Lactovegetarian Diet:
Protein should be given from milk and pulses. Other same as above.
The following points should be taken into consideration while estimating adequate diet for an individual:
Essay # 2. Essential Constituents of Healthy Diet:
Normal diet must contain the following six items:
(5) Minerals and
The first three are of energy production, growth and mechanism i.e., for the utilization of energy, synthesis of various necessary metabolites viz., enzymes, hormones etc.
Essay # 3. Quantity of Food for Healthy Diet:
Energy for physiological processes is provided by the combination of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The daily energy requirement or the daily calorific need is the sum of the basal energy demands plus that required for the additional work of the day. The energy is quantitatively expressed as units of heat which in this case is the kilocalorie. It is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of a litre of water by 1°C at a range around 15° to 16° C.
However, recent convention, has been agreed to have the joule as the unit of energy and to convert 1Kcal = 4.10 K joules (or 1 kilocalorie is equal to 4184 or 4188.5 joules). The quantity of food will be proportional to the total energy requirement of the individual.
The total energy requirement can be calculated from the following data:
B.M.R can be determined from the surface area (vide B.M.R.) on the whole, the average adult male has a surface area of 1.8 sq . metres and a B.M.R of about 72 percent per hour or 40 C per sq. metre of body surface.
ii. Nature of Work Done by the Individual:
Work involves expenditure of energy, over and above the basal metabolic rate.
The following is a rough estimate:
a. Sedentary work – without any muscular effort (such as the brain workers) – 20-25% (about 400 C)
b. Light work – 30-40% (700 C)
c. Moderate exercise – 50-60% (1,000C)
d. Heavy work – 100% or more (2000 C). The total energy requirement will be B.M.R. plus these figures.
iii. Allowance for Growth:
Infants, growing children, pregnant women, mothers, athletes and convalescent patients require at least 50% more food over and above their actual B.M.R. This additional amount is necessary to provide for active growth.
iv. During Waking Hours:
Ingestion of food stimulates metabolism by 5-10%.
Essay # 4. Calories in Healthy Diet:
The basal calorie requirement of an individual is 40 calorie per sq. metre per hour.
Thus in an average adult male, having a surface area of 1.8 sq. metre, the total energy requirement during 24-hour period may be obtained by calculating as follows:
8 hours’ sleep = (40 × 1.8) × 8 = 576 C
8 hours awake = basal + 30% (i.e., 10% for stimulating action of food +20% for minor activities, etc.) = 576 C + 174 C = 750 C
8 hours’ moderate work = basal (576 C) + 1,000 C = 1,576 C
Total = (576 + 750 + 1,576) C = 2,902 C (roughly about 3,000 C).
To provide for the 10% loss in cooking and faulty absorption, the purchased value of the food should have 300 calories more, total 3,300 C.
The average calorific requirement of a man doing light work is 3,000 C net or 3,300 C as purchased. The average housewife needs about 10% less (2,700 C net) a lady doing more active work has the same requirement as the average male.
Men doing hard work should receive up to 4,000 C. the requirements of the children are suggested to be as follows:
It is to be noted that children of 12 and over require as much food as an adult. Girls between 14 and 18 should have 2,800-3,000 C. For boys of the same age-3,000 C – 3,400 C. (A little over the requirements of an adult light worker.)
According to Lusk the following are the energy requirements for different age groups in the young people. [1.0 represents 3,000 C or 1 adult unit (called Man value)] Age 0 – 6. = 0.5 (i.e., 1,500 C). Age 6 – 10 = 0.7 (i.e., 2,100 C). Age 10 -14 = 0.83 (i.e., 2,500 C). Boys 14 – 20 = 1 (i.e., 3,000 C). Girls 14 – 20 = 0.83 (i.e., 2,500 C).
Distribution of Calories in the Diet:
i. Protein Requirement:
The protein requirement must be carefully maintained. A minimal amount of protein is indispensable in the diet to provide for the replacement of tissue proteins which undergo wear and tear. If the protein content of diet is in excess, the remainder is utilised to produce energy.
The requirement of protein is not only quantitative, but also qualitative, since metabolic aspect of protein is intimately connected with its amino acid composition. The essential amino acids must be supplied in the dietary protein which is the basis of the qualitative aspect of protein material. First class proteins contain more essential amino acids than others. For adults the adequate maintenance dose is 1 gm of protein per Kg of body weight per day.
To provide enough margin of safety, 100 gm per day is advocated. One-half of it must be given in the form of ‘first class’ proteins or proteins of ‘high biological value’. For infants and growing children 3-4 grams of proteins per Kg of body weight per day; for school boys and girls, pregnancy, lactation, etc., 2-3 gm per kg of body weight per day.
To provide for the specific dynamic action of proteins on the average the S.D.A. is approximately 5-10% of B.M.R. This is to be provided for by adding proportional amount of carbohydrates and fats.
ii. Fat Requirement:
Fat produces high energy and serves as a vehicle for the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. It also contains essential fatty acids i.e., linoleic, linolenic and arachidonic acis. Out of the total energy requirement 20-30% should come from fats of the diet. The daily intake of fat should be between 50-100 grams per day.
iii. Carbohydrate Requirement:
There should be sufficient carbohydrate in the diet to prevent ketosis. Out of the total energy requirement 60-70% should come from carbohydrates.
iv. Loss During Digestion, Absorption and Cooking:
The full calorific value of the purchased food is not physiologically available. During preparation and cooking about 5% of the energy of the food is lost. Another 5% loss takes place due to incomplete absorption of food. The total loss is 10%. So that, to obtain 1,000 C, the diet should be equivalent to 1,100 C approximately as purchased from the market.
Essay # 5. Proportion of Fat, Protein and Carbohydrate in Healthy Diet:
A correct proportion of these three constituents is essential to avoid ketosis.
This can be done in two ways:
i. The first method is that of the ratio between protein, fat and carbohydrate should be approximately 1:1:4, i.e., if 100 gm of protein be given, fat should also be 100 gm and carbohydrate 400 gm. But considerable variations, specially of carbohydrates, may be done without any harm. In India fat consumption is much less.
ii. The second method is that of the total energy requirement, 10-15% should come from proteins, 20-30% from fats and 60-70% from carbohydrates. This principle has got more in favour than the other one. In this way the three constituents should be distributed.
All salts are adequately supplied in normal diet. In lactating and expectant mothers as well as in infants additional amounts of iron, phosphorus and calcium should be given. In people who undergo a lot of sweating extra quantity of salts should be given.
Essay # 6. Choice of Foodstuff in Healthy Diet:
The articles of food should be selected keeping in view the following facts:
Certain articles cannot be digested by human beings. For instance, elastin and cellulose. Hence, they should not be taken into account for calculating the calorific value of that particular food, but the presence of cellulose in the diet to be considered as they give bulk and provide adequate roughage for prevention of constipation.
An infant before six months does not develop starch-splitting enzymes specially the pancreatic amylase. Hence, starch should be given in moderation before this age.
Articles should be selected in such a way that the subject is generally accustomed to it. Unaccustomed diet cannot be easily digested.
(d) Religious and Social Factor:
Certain classes of people and certain religions have certain restrictions on animal proteins,
It is needless to emphasise that the articles should be selected in such a way that the subject can easily afford to buy.
Value of Cooking:
Cooking has certain advantages as well as certain disadvantages.
The advantages are that:
(a) The food is sterilized,
(b) The food is partly digested (as a result of hydrolysis) and
(c) It is made palatable (which stimulates gastric secretion and thereby digestion). Addition of spices and condiments also serve this purpose.
The disadvantages are:
(a) Some quantity of vitamin is lost,
(b) A small part of energy of the food (about 5%) is lost.
Hence, to avoid this loss of vitamin by cooking, certain amount of uncooked fresh food should be taken (fruits, green vegetables and milk).
Essay # 7. Percentage Composition of the Ordinary Articles of Healthy Diet:
For prescribing diet charts where actual articles of food have to be mentioned, the following facts are helpful.
According to some nutritionists there are in all seven basic food groups:
(1) Bread and cereals,
(2) Dairy foods,
(3) Meats, fish, eggs,
(4) Butter, oils,
(5) Green-leafy and yellow vegetables,
(6) Citrus fruits,
(7) Potatoes and other vegetables, while others suggest four main groups,
(1) Breads and cereals,
(2) Milk food,
(3) Meats, fish, eggs,
(4) Vegetables and fruits.
However, whatever the grouping, the diet should be balanced, containing all the items of food in adequate proportions which will supply the required energy in the body as well as maintain proper growth, normal cytoarchitecture and functioning’s of the body.
For proteins, the following articles should be selected:
Fish, meat, milk, eggs (‘first class’ proteins or proteins of ‘high biological value’), and pulses (‘second class’ proteins or proteins of ‘low biological value’). The protein contents of the other varieties of foodstuffs are so low that for practical purposes they can be neglected.
The protein content of fresh fish is roughly 20% (fat 1.5%); that of meat is roughly 25% (fats about 15%); that of pulses is approximately 15-20%. Whole egg contains 12.8% protein (fat 11.3%) and yolk only has 15.5% (fat 33.3%) of it. Rice and wheat contains 7-8% and 10-11% protein respectively on the average. Although rice contains less protein than that of pulses, its biological value is higher.
Vegetable oils, ghee, butter (all of which are pure fat) and milk, (fat approximately 4%) should be selected.
Cereals (mainly rice and wheat) and root vegetables (e.g. potatoes) contribute the major portion of dietary carbohydrate. All these contain approximately 70-80% carbohydrates (and 6-10% proteins).