Why balanced diet is necessary for maintaining healthy body?

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The Knowledge of Balanced Diet and Nutrition i.e. Vitamin and Menerals has a direct effect on maintenance of Souud Health of an Individual.

Balanced Diet Definition

A Balanced diet contains all Nutrients Required for Health in appropriate proportions, and is Normally Achieved by eating a variety of Foods.

Eating a Balanced diet requires a certain amount of Knowledge and Planning .If any Nutrients is eaten in Excess, or is Deficient, Health may be Adversely affected. For eg. A High- Energy diet can Lead to Obesity , and An iron- Deficient one to Anaemia.

A Balanced Diet is important in maintaining a healthy Body Weight and can be Assessed by Calculating Body Mass Index(BMI).

Body Mass Index


Body Mass Index(BMI) =Weight(Kg)/Height (m2)

Interpretation of BMI

<16                ; Severly Underweight

16-19            : Underweight

20-25           :Normal Range

26-30           :Overweight

31-40           :Obese

>41               :Severely Obese


What is a healthy diet consist of ?

A healthy diet or Balanced diet or prudent diet is defined as the diet which contains different types of foods,possessings the Nutrients -Carbohydrates,Fats,Proteins,Vitamins and Minerals-in a proportion to meet the Reuirement of the Body .

The basic components of Balanced diet is highly variable,as it differs from country to country , Depending upon the availability of Foods.Social and cultural habits , besides the economic status, age ,sex and physical activity of the individual largely influence the intake of diet.

The Nutrition Expert Group,Constituted by the Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR) has recommended the composition of Balanced diets for Indians According to Age & Sex.


Balanced Diet according to Age and Sex (all Values in g)

Food Item


(Either Sex)

Reference ManReference Women
1-3 years  4-6 Years10-12 years
1. Cereals  175      270    420      460    410
2.Pulses   35      35     45       40    40
3.Leafy Vegetables   40      50     50       40    100
4.Other Vegetables   20     30     50       60    40
5.Roots   10     10     30       50     50
6.Milk and Milk Products  300    250     250      150     100
7.Oil and Fat   15     25     40       40     20
8.Sugar and Jaggery   30     40     45      30     20

Principles of Diet Planning:

No Food is perfect though most foods Contains more than one Nutrients. In Generals, A Mixed diet consisting of Foodstuffs from different food groups is likely to be Adequate in Proteins, Vitamins and minerals,if it is adequate as regards energy needs.

In Formulating diet for any individual, the following Broad Principles should be Adopted:

  • Diet should be a” fibre Rich ” Balanced diet and must provide the required recommended daily Calories.
  • Total Calories Requirement ,
    • At least 50% Calories Should be provided by Carbohydrates ;
    • 25-30% from Proteins
    • 20-25% From Fats
  • Cost of the diet should be Affordable .
  • The diet should be such that which can be prepared easily or not too Time consuming.
  • Locally and Seasonally available foods should be used ; this will reduce the cost of the diet.
  • The Diet Menu should be Frequently changed to Avoid monotony.

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Healthy diet/Balanced diet  Essentials :

  • An Adequate diet has an Energy value Sufficient to provide for;
    • The Requirement of the Basal Metabolism
    • The Stimulating action of the Food-stuffs,
    • The Need of varying degrees of muscular work.
  • It must have adequate amount of the contituents of Normal/Balanced diet  in Appropriate ratio.
  • Adequate additional provision must be made for Children , Reqirement of menstruation, Pregnancy ,Lactation , illness and old age.

Components of a balanced diet:

Nutrition is a  dynamic process in which the food that is diagested, Absorbed and used to promote body function or distributed to all body tissues for proper Utilization.

The Dietary Components or Nutrients are:

  • Proteins
  • Fats
  • Carbohydrates
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Dietary Fibres
  • Water

Nutritional Needs of the Body in terms of Calories

      Nutrients needed by the body :

1.The physiological Calorie Value of Foods for Different Nutrients is:

  • Carbohydrates : 4 kcal/gm
  • Protein              : 4 kcal/gm
  • Fat                     : 9 kcal/gm

2. There are wide Variations in individual calories Requirements even among persons living under similar Conditions.

  • According to ICMR ,The total calories requirements For Indians at Rest  means Complete Physical and Mental Rest called Basal Metabolic Rate(BMR). 
    • For Men        :38-40 kcal/hour/m2  BSA = 1500/2000 kcal/day
    • For Women  :33-35 kcal/hour/m2 BSA  = 1200/1500/kcal/day

3. Factors affecting Calories Requirements:

Age :

  • Infants Require about 750kcal/day during first 3 months of life,rising to 1000kcal/day at 10-12 (1 year)
  • Children & Young adults grow very fast and thus the Following Calories Requirement have been Proposed.
    •   Age (in Years)  Kcal/day
                     1-3        1500
                     4-6        1800
                      7-9        2200
                     10-12        2700
                     13-15        3100
                     16-20        3500
  • Old Age Person:
    • With the advancement of age Basal Metabolic Rate of an Old individual Falls, Amount of Physical Activities also Decreases, therefore Calories Requirement Decreases.


Recommended Daily Requirement of Calories of women are about 20-25% lower than those of a man of the same age.

    Body Size & Weight:

Both BMR and the Calories Requirements of Mechanical work are directly proportional to the body Weight.

Physical Activities

Daily Calories Requirement Increases with the type of Physical Activities.

             Calories Requirements  of Physical Activity

                                                  Work LevelAdditional Calories Requirements
1. Light work e.g. Domestic work         10%
2. Moderate work e.g. Gardening, Tennis, Cycling, Carpentry etc.         20%
3. Heavy work e.g. Coal mining, Loading , Football, Athletics etc.         30%
4.Very Heavy work e.g. Black-smith work, Swimming, Hill Climbing etc.         40%

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  1. People eat less where the Environmental temperature exceeds 25-40 degree Celsius, the Energy intake Reduce by 5-10%
  2. In Cold Climate : The Calories Requirements should be increased by only 3% for every 10 degree celsius of mean of external Environmental Temperature.

Specific Dynamic Action (SDA) of the Foods

The Specific Dynamic Action (SDA) of a food is Obligatory Energy expenditure that occurs during its assimilation into the Body.Maximum Heat production Seen after ingestion of Proteins.

Thyroids Hormones

Thyroid hormones stimulates Heat production in the body ;an action seen in secondary to stimulation of O2  consumption which increases Heat production.

  • The Magnitude of Calorigenic action depends upon the level of Catecholamine secretion and on the level of BMR before the injection.
    • If initial BMR is Less , Then after injection of T3 or T4 , rise in BMR is more
    • If initial BMR is more, the rise in BMR is less.


Catecholamines increase the BMR only in the presence of T4 and Adrenal Cortex.

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