carb511The question I probably get the most about nutrition is: “What type of diet do you recommend?” When people ask this question they are expecting a simple answer such as Paleo, gluten-free, or vegan.

The truth is that there is no one best diet for everyone.

Here are some of the factors that contribute to my definition of a healthy diet:

1. Adequacy

Your diet should provide adequate nutrients to meet your individual needs. Quite often a diet that eliminates an entire food group will put a person at risk of nutrient deficiency. For example, the Paleo diet eliminates dairy products. If other calcium-rich foods are not included to replace dairy, it puts one at risk of a calcium deficiency. Remember, osteoporosis is an old age disease. Cave men didn’t live long enough have to worry about it.

2. Variety

The diet should include a variety of choices. Not only does this prevent boredom, but it also limits the chance of over- or under-consuming nutrients.

3. Moderation

No food should be eaten in excess and no food needs to be completely eliminated (except in the case of allergies, religion, or ethics). Nutrient excess can be as dangerous as nutrient inadequacy.

4. Calorie control

A diet should provide the appropriate number of calories to meet your individual needs. Diets higher in calories are required to fuel physical activity and growth. If weight loss is the goal, calories should be low enough to promote fat loss, but high enough to provide adequate energy and to prevent metabolism disruption.

5. Enjoyable

The food you are eating should be enjoyable to eat and enjoyable to prepare. Quite simply, if you don’t like the food you are eating it will not be sustainable long-term.

6. Affordable

Your grocery bill should fit within you budget. For example, a diet that calls for multiple servings of meat or expensive powders and supplements is likely not financially sustainable.

The bottom line:

There are many factors involved in the makeup of a healthy diet. Eating healthy should not be viewed as a temporary fix, but as a long-term solution.

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