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A balanced diet

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Introduction

A Balanced Diet A balanced diet consists of the following quantities per day: * 50-60 percent of kcals from carbohydrates * 10-20 percent of kcals from proteins * 30 percent of fats * A plentiful supply of vitamins and minerals from fruit and vegetables * 2 litres of water Carbohydrate Carbohydrates should provide between 50 and 60 percent of your total calorie intake and its main role is to supply energy to allow the body to function. The energy content of carbohydrate is 1g provides 4 kcals. There are many sources of carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, fruit, vegetables, sweets and biscuits. They all differ in form slightly but are all broken down into glucose because that is the only way the body can use carbohydrate. The functions of carbohydrates are to provide energy for: * The Brain to function * The Liver to perform its functions * Muscular contractions at moderate to high intensities When carbohydrate foods are digested they are all broken down into glucose which is then absorbed in the small intestine and enters the bloodstream. From the bloodstream it can be used immediately as energy or stored in the liver and in the muscles. ...read more.

Middle

In fact, fats are vital to health and perform many important functions in the body. The intake of certain fats does need to be minimised and excess consumption of fats will lead to health problems. The functions of fats are as follows: * Formation of cell membranes * Formation of the myelin sheath which coats the nerves * A component of the brain and nervous system * Protection of internal systems (brain, kidneys, liver etc) * Production of hormones (oestrogen and testosterone) * Transportation and storage of vitamins A, D, E and K * Constant energy source * Store of energy Fats and oils belong to a family called 'lipids' which perform a variety of different roles in the body. Predominantly fats supply energy for everyday activities and movement. They are described as being 'energy-dense' because they contain the most energy out of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. 1g of fat provides 9kcals: Macronutrient Kcals per gram Carbohydrate 4 Protein 4 Fat 9 The smallest unit of fat is called a 'fatty acid'. There are different types of fatty acids present in the foods we eat. In particular, a fatty acid can be saturated or unsaturated. Saturated fats have always been given a bad name until recently when people realised that it is an important part of the diet. ...read more.

Conclusion

Non-nutrients, such as fibre, are also necessary to a healthy diet. Prevents and treats certain diseases Healthful eating can prevent the risk of developing certain diseases such as cancer and heart disease. It is also helpful in treating diabetes and high blood pressure. Following a special diet can reduce symptoms, and may help you better manage an illness or condition. Helps you enjoy life Food is the mainstay of many social and cultural events. Not only does it provide nutrition, it helps facilitate connections between people. Cooking fresh, healthy meals can also be an enjoyable way to spend time, either on your own or with others. Maintains energy and manages your weight A healthy diet can help you feel better, provide you with more energy, and help you fight stress. Athletes should aim to optimise their glycogen stores before exercise ("carbo-loading") as well as eating during exercise. This maximises the glucose availability in your blood which can be used by your working muscles. As a general guideline your intake of glucose should be between 30-60g per hour during a prolonged event. These glucose requirements can be met simultaneously with fluid needs by consuming glucose-electrolyte drinks. Remember glucose and fluid must be ingested well in advance of fatigue (approx. 30mins). Therefore, as a general rule, start drinking early and continue drinking throughout the event. ...read more.

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