Chef. Vanessa Domínguez
WHAT IS A DIET?
If we journey into food history, we will find that humanity’s eating habits as well as food itself, have evolved according to the needs and demands of modernity.
The relationship between health and food is as complex as the evolution of humanity since the array of food and of eating habits around the world are endless.
Nowadays we hear more and more about organic foods and ecologically sustainable technologies, as well as about the importance of a healthy diet but we should first explain, WHAT IS A DIET?
We sometimes misconceive what a diet is, we think about feeding regimes aimed to lose weight or to increase muscle mass. We believe that following a particular one (the moon diet, zero carbs, etc.) will help us stay healthy but as a matter of fact, a “DIET” is every food ingested in a day. “The diet” is the body’s fuel that provides the energy and elements needed for our body’s proper functioning.
And what are the elements required by our body to work properly?
Our body needs carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water
These elements are present in food and they nourish our body; that is why they are called nutriments, and each one performs very important functions.
A good diet must also be determined by the activity level since this defines the person’s necessary daily energetic intake.
A good diet must be complete, sufficient, varied, well-balanced and innocuous.
This means that food intake must provide all the necessary nutrients to satisfy the body’s eating needs; must be enough to cover each individual’s requirements according to age, size, sex, activity, and health; all the nutrients must be in reasonable proportion, and it must not represent a hazard to health.
Nowadays, the yoga boom, naturism, and the concern to carry a healthier life have led increasing numbers of people to choose vegetarian options, believing them to be the way to detox the body and avoid illnesses. Nevertheless, care should be exercised when switching to a vegetarian diet since our body must not be subject to such a radical change overnight. Our body is used to certain animal-based nutrients as well as plant-based ones so any change in diet should be achieved gradually.
A naturist doctor once told me that most people who decide to become vegetarian because of trend or whim, without proper and previous information regarding what this really implies for the body, end up as doctors’ patients at some point since their bodies can lose balance of proteins and other essential nutrients and start lacking calcium, vitamin B12, and iron, therefore generating illnesses such as anemia, osteoporosis, etc.
His advice is to consider important aspects when adopting a vegetarian diet as an informed, conscious, and responsible decision: A safe average adaptation period for the body in order to become completely vegetarian is three years and it should be done gradually; a strict vegetarian diet is not recommended during pregnancy and lactation periods since it can lead to malnutrition for the fetus as well as for the mother and calcium intake should be observed during lactation.
I am not against a vegetarian diet, but I think that we should be well informed regarding what and how we eat, since paying attention to our health has never been as important as in these complex times we are currently going through.
This article is for information purposes only
- Macías M, Adriana; Quintero S María Luisa; Camacho R, Esteban; Sánchez, Juan Manuel. “La Tridimensionalidad del Concepto de Nutrición: Su relación con la educación para la salud”, 2009, 1229–1135.
- Paradojas de la alimentación contemporánea. Vol. 5. Icaria Editorial, 1996.