But what is a healthy diet?
Nowadays, every developed country worldwide has its own so-called Healthy Diet Pyramid. There are different healthy diet pyramids in Europe, as well as in USA, China, Japan and so on. They differ of course from country to country, depending on the different climatic and cultural factors.
The German’s Healthy Diet Pyramid, created by the German Nutrition Society named DGE (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung), in 26.09.2000 is still active and useful nowadays. (www.dge.de)
The German Nutrition Society (DGE) has compiled 10 dietary guidelines DGE based on the most recent scientific knowledge, aimed to help you enjoy eating and maintain a balanced diet. A wholesome diet keeps you in good health and promotes vitality and well-being.
1. Versatile eating habits
Enjoy the diversity of foods available. Characteristics of a well balanced diet are a variable choice, an appropriate combination and adequate quantities of high-nutrient and low-energy food.
2. Ample cereal products – and potatoes
Bread, pasta, rice, grain flakes, preferably from whole grain, as well as potatoes contain hardly any fat but plenty of vitamins, minerals as well as dietary fibre and phytochemicals. Consume these foods preferably with low-fat ingredients. At least 30 grams of dietary fibre daily, especially from whole-grain products, are recommended. A high intake lowers the risk of various nutrition-related diseases.
3. Vegetables and Fruit – take ‘5 a day’
Enjoy 5 portions of vegetables and fruit daily, as fresh as possible, cook for a short time only, or take 1 serving as a juice – ideally with each main meal and also as a snack between meals. You profit by consuming plenty of vitamins, minerals, as well as dietary fibre and phytochemicals (e.g. carotenoids, flavonoids).
4. Milk and dairy products daily; fish once to twice a week; meat, sausages and eggs in moderation
These foods contain valuable nutrients, e.g. calcium in milk, iodine, selenium and n-3 fatty acids in saltwater fish. Meat contains minerals and vitamins (B1, B6 and B12). However, 300 – 600 grams of meat and sausages per week are sufficient. Rather choose low-fat products, especially with meat and dairy products.
5. Fat and fatty foods in moderation
Fat provides essential fatty acids and foods containing fat also comprise fat-soluble vitamins. Fat is particularly high in energy, therefore too much dietary fat can promote overweight. Too many saturated fatty acids increase the risk of dyslipidemia with the possible consequence of cardiovascular diseases. Rather favour vegetable oils and fats (e.g. canola oil, soybean oil and margarines produced therefrom). Be aware of hidden fat found in several meat and dairy products, pastry, sweets, fast food and convenience products. Overall, 60 – 80 grams of fat daily is sufficient.
6. Sugar and salt in moderation
Only occasionally consume sugar and food or beverages containing various kinds of sugar (e.g. glucose syrup). Be creative in flavouring with herbs and spices, but use little salt. Rather favour iodised and fluoridated table salt.
7. Plenty of fluid
Water is of vital necessity. Make sure your daily fluid intake is approximately 1½ litres. Rather choose water, carbonated or non-carbonated, and other beverages low in calories. Consume alcoholic drinks only occasionally and only in small amounts.
8. Prepare tasty, carefully cooked dishes
Preferably cook food on low heat, if possible for a short time, using little amount of water and fat. This will preserve the natural taste, conserve the nutrients and avoid the formation of harmful substances in food.
9. Take your time and enjoy eating
Do not eat in passing. Allow plenty of time for eating. This promotes your sense of satiation.
10. Watch your weight and stay active
Combine a balanced diet along with plenty of physical exercise and sport (30 – 60 minutes daily). An ideal weight will promote well-being and good health.