Just what is 'healthy eating'?

Just what is 'healthy eating'?

Healthy eating is a term that is used with seemingly gay abandon. But just what is ''healthy eating'' and how does it help us to become successful dieters?

Simply put, healthy eating is a term given to eating a balanced diet that will give you all the nutrients and energy you need to remain healthy. Bet that doesn''t help much does it?! :) Let''s get into the subject a little...

If you look up the definition of ''diet'' you will find that it has several meaning, but scientifically it is used to refer to your everyday food and liquid that you consume daily. Your ''diet'' then, and being a successful ''dieter'' means that your faily food and liquid intake should be enough to maintain your body in a healthy state and give you the energy to perform your daily tasks. This is no mean feat.

In todays'' western civilisation we have access to foods so unhealthy (if consumed to excess) that it is extremely difficult to eat a diet that gives sufficient nutrients, both macro and micro, and energy in the right quantities.

Some foods are so processed that all is left is simple carbs (i.e. sugar) and fat and almost zero vitamins, minerals and other micro nutrients. Examples include sweets, crisps (chips if you''re in the US) and other ''junk'' foods. In fact, junk food is so readily available that it is easy to go through days and weeks without eating any unprocessed foods whatsoever! This most certainly is detrimental to your health and it''s becoming very common for some severely overweight people to actually be malnurished (vitamin and mineral deficiencies)!

So, healthy eating is really all about getting all the various nutrients in the right quantities to help ensure you stay healthy. Because of this, there are quite a few things you have to bear in mind if you want to be on a ''healthy eating diet''.

First and foremost is to eat few processed foods. In general, most processed foods are far inferior to their unprocessed alternatives. Apple pie vs. apples for instance. Or beef sausages vs. rump steak. White bread vs. wholegrain bread. This is common sense, but with today''s busy modern life it''s all too easy to go for processed foods as they take far less time to prepare and store for longer.

Next is foods high in fat and sugar. Our intakes of these macro nutrients (used in the majority to provide energy) are often far too high and can cause all sorts of health issues, such as diabetes and obesity. A healthy eating diet will have moderate amounts of both in combination with proteins and complex carbohydrates (starchy foods and fruit / vegetables).

Percentage-wise, on a healthy eating diet, about 30% of your daily calorie intake should come from fat, 10% from sugar, 50% from complex carbohydates and about 10% from protein.

Do not worry too much about getting exactly these figures, however. They''re guidelines, nothing more and you should go with what feels right to you.

Micro Nutrients
Many people often ignore the micro nutrients, and it''s easy to do so - after all, they''re so small and insignificant, right? Wrong!

Do not ignore your vitamin, mineral and fiber requirements (beyond the scope of this article, look elsewhere on the site for information). Learn about food values and make sure that your healthy eating diet overall has sufficient quantities of the micros. It''s okay to go above the recommended daily amounts (RDA''s) for most vitamins and minerals, as long as you don''t go crazy(!), so just concentrate on beating the RDA''s and you''ll be good to go.

It wouldn''t be right to discuss healthy eating without mentioning the most important nutrient of all - water!

Water is the single most important nutrient of all and without it you will die within just a few shorts days - no other nutrient is so important to sustaining life. It should come as no suprise then how important water is not just to your sheer survive but also to your long term health.

Dehydration is a difficult thing for your body to cope with and should be avoided where ever possible (but don''t get paranoid about it). Drinking plenty of liquids (fruit juice and other non-caffeinated drinks can be included) is a very important part of any ''healthy eating'' lifestyle.

Alcohol has been shown time and time again to have quite a few beneficial properties and can be quite good for your health - as long as it is not consumed in excess. Binge drinking or long term large consumption can be very bad for your health. Cirrhosis of the Liver, weight gain, depression, feminisation can all occur as a consequence of drinking too much alcohol.

So then, what really is ''healthy eating''? It''s about eating the right types of foods and drink that ensure good intake of all the nutrients and energy you require, whilst avoid intake of too much processed foods, junk foods, fat, sugar and alcohol. Simple! The hard part is sticking to it, and making your diet ''healthy eating'' on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. With dedication and will power you will succeed and be a truly Successful Dieter. Good luck!