Most of us know someone who is ‘on a diet’ or perhaps you are trying to lose weight yourself. There are some people who appear to be permanently on a diet and others who seem to be able to eat what they want and never gain weight.
However there is some confusion between a ‘diet’ and ‘going on a diet’. The word ‘diet’ can actually mean two things:
- Food and drink consumed by an individual
- A calorie reduction regime with the aim of losing weight
So, when we talk about diet we need to be clear which one we are referring to.
If you are looking to eat a healthy, well balanced diet then aim to eat a selection of foods, preferably from one of the five food groups. These food groups form part of the ‘eatwell’ plate image which features on the Food Standards Agency website.
This image also shows recommended portion sizes. If you wish to know more about these types of foods and ideal amounts then visit our Food Portions section.
A sensible diet is one in which we have a good balance of protein, carbohydrates (both starches and sugars), fresh fruit and vegetables and fats. And a salt intake which doesn’t exceed the recommended 6g a day.
Combine this with exercise, moderate alcohol consumption and reduced stress levels as part of a healthy lifestyle.
This is fine if you are looking to maintain your weight as well as staying fit and healthy. But if you are looking to shed a few extra pounds then things become a bit more complicated.
What is the reason for this? The problem here is that you need to adjust your food intake so that you are consuming fewer calories than you expend. This puts your body into negative energy balance which results in weight loss.
This means following a diet but the question is which one?