What really is a & # 039; balanced diet & # 039;? The study that could help you lose weight in 2021

It is well known to all that a healthy diet can help reduce the risks of diseases related to being overweight or obesity, such as some cancers, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. As part of a healthy diet, experts around the world advise people to eat a variety of foods.

In the UK, for example, the NHS Eatwell Guide divides foods in food groups (starchy carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, dairy or dairy alternatives, protein and fat). To achieve a "balanced diet," the guide advises people to try to eat a certain amount of food from each food group.

This is how the Professors of Psychology at Swansea University Rochelle Embling, Aimee Pink, Laura Wilkinson and Menna Price, in an article collected by 'Science Alert'.

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One of the reasons that variety of foods is included in the recommendations is because different foods have different nutrients. Eat one varied diet can benefit our health by reducing the risks associated with malnutrition, which occurs when we do not get adequate amounts of nutrients from our diet.

Malnutrition can cause weak muscles, decrease mobility, increase disease and cause respiratory problems, among other symptoms.

But what the Dietary guidelines defined as "variety" can often be confusing and too simplistic, and very different from what the general public may define as variety.

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Research has shown that in addition to having variety as part of the entire diet, we can measure the variety within meals (for example, having several dishes or foods from different food groups on our plate) as well as between meals (such as having different foods for lunch every day).

Importantly, research has also found that the variety can refer to foods that differ in their characteristics (such as their appearance, taste, texture, or smell), as well as the nutrients found in them.

By this definition, eating a chocolate cake and a strawberry cake would be a form of variety, as they differ in taste, despite having a very similar nutritional profile and belonging to the same food group. It also means that individual foods and dishes with mixed ingredients (such as pizzas or sandwiches) can have variety.

At the moment, the dietary guidelines of the UK are based on people use your own judgment to achieve an overall balance of different foods in your diet. But is it easy for consumers to identify the variety?

The study

In a new study that university professors just published, they wanted to find out if and how people living in the UK recognize the variety of foods and define it. To do this, we ask the participants to comment on a variety of photographs showing different types of food as part of an online survey.

For example, they were shown supermarket aisles displaying different brands of food, meals consisting of multiple foods from different food groups, and mixed dishes, and foods that contained different flavors, colors, and textures, such as salads with a mixture of vegetables or pizzas. with different ingredients.

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Although the participants often identified and discussed different types of variety, tended to define only variety as eating foods from different food groups as part of the complete diet, a definition that is consistent with the use of variety in dietary guidelines.

These results suggest that, try to follow a dietary guide and eat a healthy diet, people may place less importance on variety in food. For example, if we only need to achieve an overall balance, then they may believe that it doesn't matter if we have less or more variety in one meal, as long as we make a difference in the next meal.

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It is important to think about the variety of foods, because research shows that people eat more when foods and foods differ in appearance, taste and texture within the same plate. Each new food characteristic we experience keeps us interested in a meal for longer, later delaying the feeling of fullness that would normally lead us to stop eating.

In other words, the variety of these characteristics disrupts the process known as "specific sensory satiety". This effect can increase the risk of overeating.

For this reason, eating a variety of foods within the food groups (with the exception of fruits and vegetables) has been linked to having a higher body weight. East variety type could potentially increase disease risks related to being overweight or obese.

Variety and health

As variety encourages us to eat more, variety in Meals can be more helpful when eating fruits and vegetables. This is not only because they have fewer calories than other food groups, but they are more nutritious (they contain important vitamins and minerals), so eating a greater variety of fruits and vegetables can benefit our health. But it may be less helpful when eating high-calorie foods, when the risk of overeating is higher.

For example, we could make sure we have two or more servings of vegetables different on our plate at dinner time to increase the amount of vegetables we eat. When consuming high-calorie foods, we could choose options that themselves have less variety, such as plain chocolate instead of those with flavored fillings.

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So that dietary guidelines are helpful, they should be more specific about what variety means and how can we monitor the variety in our diet. While eating foods from different food groups helps us achieve a diet rich in different nutrients, we must also be aware of the effects of variety on the amount of food we eat during meals. To achieve the proper balance, variety should be encouraged in some food groups, such as fruits and vegetables, but not in others.

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