What is a Balanced Diet
How are you? I strained my hip flexors last week so I was grounded. I could not even walk much. Tiger balm and hot water fomentation and a glass of milk with turmeric each day came to my rescue. Sometimes it is good to take rest especially when there is an injury which could heal only by resting
I used this time to read an amazing book on food. Today I want to talk about one subject that I think is dealt really weirdly in all the courses on nutrition science. The subject is Measurement of the nutrients!
I do not understand how do some people standardize the quantity of vitamins and minerals esp the grams of proteins for everyone? Does the number which they attach to this measurement takes into account that the vitamin A that we get by eating a carrot is different from the same amount of vit A obtained by popping a pill?
Shouldn’t we depend on our bodies to decide what nutritional balance works best for us? As in haven’t you noticed that whenever you do not eat a balanced meal then some kind of self corrective measures kicks in. Some kind of cravings or symptoms start to appear? For example a craving for sweets after a eating meal? or a craving for more glasses of cola after drinking one glass? Thirst after eating sweet stuff? These cravings clearly indicates our body’s way of announcing some deficiencies. But what to eat to balance out these cravings and deficiencies?
I look at a balanced meal not as something which has certain measured quantity of each nutrients in it but it is a meal which has a certain ratio each nutrient in it. So ratio is the important word here.. Let us look at it closely.
Let us understand this concept with the best balanced meal in the world i.e mother’s milk. It has
minerals/vitamins: proteins: fats: carbohydrates: water in the increasing ratio.
Fat is in higher proportion to proteins in mother’s milk. This is indicative of two things.
1. Kids who fed on mommy’s milk naturally have high inclination for butter, Clarified butter(ghee) etc. A thought came to my mind. Lord krishna loved all of these
2. Kids become double their size in a few months of feeding on mother’s milk. This is the reason high fat diets cause obesity in adults
With these two points we got an idea that apart from increased proportion of fats, a balanced diet should have proportion of nutrients similar to that in mother’s milk.
Let us get more info on it. We know that everything that we eat has a certain ratio of proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, carbs etc in it. And then their is the ratio of nutrients that we discussed above that is needed by our body to maintain a balance.
i,e an increasing ratio of minerals/vitamins: proteins: fats: carbohydrates: water with protein and fats almost the same ratio.
Let us look at white sugar. It has nothing but carbohydrates. So when we eat sugar then from the following balanced series. We miss out on all the other nutrients except carbs.
minerals/vitamins: proteins: fats: carbohydrates: water
To compensate for the imbalance, these missing nutrients cause cravings. So we feel thirsty when we eat sweets (water) and we deplete our body’s calcium, vitamins, proteins sources. This is the reason people who eat a lot of sugar develop weak bones, carries, cavities etc.
Now let us talk about lean meat which is high in proteins. It creates cravings of sugar, salts(minerals) and a lot of fluids. Sometimes people end up eating meat with sugary drinks to compensate for both sugar and fluid cravings. This is the reason it is advisable to eat meat or any other high protein diet with bread/chapati or some complex carbs and a lot of water.
Butttt again high protein only can cause a lot of deficiencies and hence cravings like salt cravings thus creating hunger. This as well applies to people who eat vitamin/minerals supplements just like that. Their body starts asking for more of proteins, fats, carbs, water etc. So they experience hunger and hence weight gain. Eat these supplements only when your body needs them. Not because someone said that Vit A supplements are good for skin or calcium is good for bones
Eat everything. Eat them in proportion so that there is balance. When there is balance then only there will be weight loss. Not with any high protein or low fat diet
Drink your milk with sugar (proteins, calcium, fluid, fats from milk + carbs from sugar)
Now I hope you know what causes deficiencies and how a balanced meal can handle those
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