The Importance of a healthy diet
Diet is a particular pattern of eating and a balanced diet provides the correct amount of all nutrients without excess or deficiency to maintain health. There are many reasons why someone is interested in their diet, for example to improve health, lose weight or increase performance. All nutritional plans need to be designed to suit individual goals, differences and requirements and so there is no one diet that will suit everyone.
It is important that changes to a diet are long term changes because individuals with the highest weight fluctuations have the greatest health risk independent of obesity (1). Every diet should have health in mind because even if you’re thin you can be unhealthy. If you are overweight but physically fit you have a much lower risk of getting cardiovascular disease than if you are lean and unfit (2).
The role of the diet
Many studies have shown that the diet is important in the prevention of diseases such as cancer, coronary heart disease, birth defects and cataracts. Many individuals in the United States have poor diets and it has been shown that with an improved diet there is an increase in disease prevention (3).
A calorie and nutrient controlled diet is shown to have a positive effect on reducing body composition (4). If looking to manipulate body composition the diet plays a very important role regardless of activity.
The energy to partake in daily activities comes from our diet. The amount of energy depends on the macro nutrient content of what we eat in terms of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Carbohydrates provide the most energy and they can be stored as glucose in the blood or glycogen in the muscles and the liver. Fat provides stored energy that can be metabolized into glucose and glycogen (5). Energy is one of the reason why it is important to consume carbohydrates in your diet.
If recovering from injury, illness or fatigue the diet plays an important part of providing full recovery. Important issues in the recovery from sport or physical activity include restoration of liver and muscle glycogen stores, and the replacement of fluid and electrolytes (6).