What are the rules of healthy eating according to modern dietetics? Eat regularly, choose the least processed products, eat as many vegetables as possible, and fruit in two portions a day, limit your carbohydrate intake – these are the most important dietary recommendations for healthy eating.
Healthy eating in the minds of most people is a low-fat diet, without pork, sweets and white bread. But is it enough to be healthy and prevent civilization diseases? And above all – is this the right approach? Progress in the field of nutrition sciences is very fast, and new knowledge reaches universities that educate dieticians with a delay of at least a decade.
This means that in practice you should be up to date with scientific research, look for yourself and test whether the new guidelines work. Big progress in official recommendations is the exclusion of carbohydrates as the basic component of a balanced diet and their replacement with vegetables. However, the importance of cholesterol in increasing the risk of heart disease is still overestimated, as if ignoring the new scientific reports.
Healthy eating must be individual and mean something different to everyone. A person with insulin resistance has to eat differently than autoimmune diseases. Unfortunately, sometimes it turns out that even products widely considered healthy can be harmful to some groups of people. That is why it is so important to observe your body, listen to its reaction to food intake and try to choose the best diet for yourself, not just a good one.
Principles of healthy eating according to modern dietetics
1. Eat regularly
Regular meals provide the right amount of energy during the day, have a positive effect on well-being, concentration and maintaining a proper body weight. It’s best to eat between 3 and 5 meals a day. If the meals are more substantial, breakfast, lunch and dinner are sufficient. When smaller meals are preferred, one or two snacks should be added throughout the day.
For optimal health and a slim figure, it is important not to snack or replace meals with a dozen or so snacks a day. This promotes overeating, choosing worthless food and has a negative effect on metabolism. Optimal meal times are breakfast up to an hour after waking up, lunch in the middle of the day, at the time of the greatest activity and dinner 2-3 hours before bedtime.
2. Choose the least processed products
Any dietitian will agree with this statement, regardless of their approach. The higher the degree of food processing, the farther from nature, the worse for health. All powdered foods, fast food, ready meals and products with a long list of ingredients should not appear in a healthy diet. Man-made food additives have not been thoroughly tested and it is not known what long-term health effects their use will bring. They can be recognized by the body as a foreign body and cause a reaction of the immune system and affect the microflora of the body and the state of the intestines.
A typical Western diet is reflected in the condition of the stomach, intestines, pancreas and liver and kidneys, which must filter and excrete all chemical additives. A healthy diet is a menu consisting of products close to nature, unprocessed, with a short ingredients and known origin.
3. Base on vegetables
Vegetables should form the basis of any healthy diet. They are a source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Their selection can be individual depending on any diseases, but generally vegetables are the healthiest group of food products. It is best if they are raw, but baked, steamed and in a small amount of water are also a valuable element of the menu. Although on one floor of the pyramid of healthy eating vegetables and fruits are put together, it is recommended that vegetables constitute ¾ of the daily portion and fruits ¼.
4. Eat fruit in up to two portions a day
It is best to eat fruit for one meal per day. In the second, they can be an addition. There should not be more than 200-300 g per day. Why? Fruit is a source of simple sugars. Despite the content of vitamins and fiber, they must not be eaten too much, because they promote insulin bursts and fluctuations in blood glucose levels, and such conditions have numerous health consequences. Fruit, unlike vegetables, is not an unpunished snack. Their uncontrolled snacking promotes weight gain and accumulation of abdominal fat, and consequently metabolic diseases.
5. Limit carbohydrate intake, increase fat intake
For decades, carbohydrates in the form of cereal products have been propagated as the most important element of a healthy diet and an essential source of energy. However, nowadays, when we have little physical activity, we sit a lot and walk a little, carbohydrates at each meal are not a necessity, and even unnecessary. The need for carbohydrates increases with increasing physical activity, so they are recommended to people who work hard or train a lot. In other cases, it is enough to add carbohydrates in two meals.
By limiting carbohydrates, you need to replace them with another energy component, i.e. fat. Remember that it is mainly not fat cause of weight gain, but excess carbohydrates. Reducing the amount of carbohydrates in favor of healthy fats reduces the insulin fluctuation during the day, which results in higher energy levels, greater satiety, no hunger attacks, reduced snacking and better body composition.
6. Choose good carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are not “the incarnate evil,” but they are also not a product without which the diet loses value. Choosing the right carbohydrate sources is important. The first goal is to consume whole grains, wholemeal flour instead of highly purified. The best choice when it comes to bread is rye sourdough bread.
Rye is much less modified than wheat, and sourdough reduces gluten and phytic acid, making bread minerals more digestible. The most nutritious cereals are quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat. Do you have to give up gluten completely? It depends on the case, but certainly everyone can be recommended to limit the consumption of gluten products.
7. Don’t be afraid of saturated fat and cholesterol
The fact that dietary cholesterol is responsible for atherosclerosis and heart disease is one of the biggest nutritional myths. Scientific studies have shown that cholesterol in food products has very little effect on blood cholesterol levels, and this effect is not clinically relevant in cardiovascular disease. What does it mean? That eggs and offal are a safe part of the diet and do not increase the risk of heart attack.
New analyzes show that animal fats (saturated fatty acids) and dietary cholesterol are not significant risk factors for atherosclerosis and heart attack, and low cholesterol shortens life more than high! Heart disease and atherosclerosis are the result of damage to the endothelium of blood vessels and chronic inflammation, which can be caused by a number of factors, including smoking cigarettes, high blood sugar, incorrect dietary ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, deficiency of B, C, K2 and D3 vitamins.
8. Discard sugar from your diet
Refined sugar in various forms can be found everywhere, even in ketchup and sausages. When eliminating sugar, you must opt out of products that also contain glucose-fructose syrup, invert sugar, cane sugar, maltodextrin, agave syrup or rice syrup. Excess sugar in the diet impairs proteins that build the body’s structures, which translates into very many disease states, e.g. of the eye, kidneys, nervous system and senile dementia. The more sugar, the greater the fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin levels, and thus – the increased the risk of metabolic diseases and weight gain.
9. Do not drink sweet drinks and limit juices
Water and herbal teas should be used for drinking. Sweetened drinks are a huge dose of sugar and chemical additives. Fruit juices should also be just an addition. Drinking large amounts of juice and drinks promotes glycation, i.e. the attachment of glucose molecules to proteins, which impairs their functioning and accelerates the aging of the body. It is also responsible for weight gain, elevation of blood triglycerides and fatty liver.
10. Choose good dairy products
Milk is a very controversial product. Official sources recommend drinking 2 glasses of milk a day as the main source of calcium in your diet. However, the new approach speaks of the total exclusion of milk from cows from industrial farms and a significant reduction in dairy products. Milk and milk products contain a lot of calcium, but it does not necessarily build up in the bone. This is confirmed by new analyzes, which show, among others, that in areas with high milk consumption a larger percentage of postmenopausal women suffer from osteoporosis.
The high content of phosphorus in the dairy means that calcium is leached from the bone to balance its amount in the blood after consumption. Many people find milk intolerant and poorly digested. Causes bloating and other gastrointestinal problems. Dairy products, preferably in acidified form (i.e. better digestible) should appear in the diet no more than once a day. Preferably, it comes from cows grazing in the meadows and is produced by traditional methods. Then it is also a good source of probiotic bacteria.