# Assignment 2: How to have a balanced and healthy diet?

At the present time, as the pace of the life is accelerated, many people found that they can’t easily get access to the healthy foods. The most common foods can be reached around the workplaces are fast foods such as hamburgers, french fries, pizza and other high-fat foods with little nutrition. And many scientists indicate that there is a increasing trend that more and more people are getting obesity. So some critics blame it on the fast food chains which are so prospered in America and criticize the high calories inside those fast foods. So today I want to figure out how many calories should a healthy person intake per day and what kinds of foods should people eat. Therefore I can provide a general guideline to people about how to prepare a balanced diet and how to stick with your balanced diet.

Talking about a balanced and healthy diet, there is one thing which you can never neglect – It’s the Calories intake. But it doesn’t mean all people have the same calories intake criteria. Instead, calories intakes should depend on one person’s own specific condition. The key factors include one person’s age, weight, height, occupation, and healthy condition. For some disease such as diabetes the doctors govern your calories intake. So at here I just provide a general guideline as reference to normal people.  Therefore the first thing related to calories intake is to calculate the body mass index or BMI to determine the person is underweight, normal weight, overweight or obesity. The formula is

$$BMI = \frac{\text{Weight in Kilograms}}{\text{Height in Meters}\times\text{Height in Meters}}$$

Underweight = <18.5
Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
Overweight = 25–29.9
Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

For example, assume a person is 70 kg weight and 1.80 m. Then $$BMI = \frac{\text{70 Kilograms}}{\text{1.8 Meters}\times\text{1.8 Meters}} = 21.6$$

This person is in a good interval at normal weight. Generally speaking the calories intake is sufficient and not exceeded. So he/she should not worry much about his/her weight. Then this person should focus on the composition of the diet – eat enough fruits, vegetables, meats, milk, whole grains and other nutrients.

But what if a person is underweight or obesity? Absolutely the current diet is something wrong. The first thing we need to determine how many calories this person needs in daily life. To simplify the process, we can find one person’s optimal calories intake level by using the external website such as calorieking (provided in the reference). This process is very easy and fits to most most people. You only need to input some your information, then you can get a general number for the calories intake. (Very important, this only fits to most normal people. If you have some diseases, or extreme obesity/underweight, you need to consult with the doctors.)

After you have a understanding of your calories intake, the next thing is that you need to divide those calories into 4 parts to form a balanced and healthy diet. Apparently you can not have a healthy body by only eating meat or only eating vegetables. You need a mixed diet menu in every meal. There is a general guideline about the allocation of those calories – one forth should come from fruits, one forth should come from the vegetables, one forth should come from the meat and milk the last one forth should come from the whole grains.

And then, I believe many people will have questions for instance how to determine one forth? I recommend another website Supertracker which is listed below in the references. This is hold by US government to guide all American diets. If you want to know the nutrients from one kind of food, you can just input the food you ate and you will get a detailed nutrition lists. You will know how much calories it contains, how many irons it contains, and all other nutrients it contains.

Based on the information you have learned above, you can find that sometimes the most important part is not how many calories you intake every day, it is the composition of those intake calories. If you have a balanced menu of every meal, you should not concern much about the obesity. And you can check your own healthy condition by using the process above. Then you can modify your life style to best benefit yourself. I hope everyone could find his/her own most balanced and healthy diets.

Source 1: Materials, knowledge, notes from my Nutrition 251 class. Relevant claims: the daily calories intakes depend on people’s heights, weights, gender and age. Credibility: very high credibility, because it’s from the college level class.

Source 2: https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/MyReports.aspx Relevent claims: everyone could find his/her best plan on this website. And people can analyze the components of foods. Credibility: good, this is a website held by US government to help people understand the foods.

Source 3: http://www.calorieking.com/interactive-tools/how-many-calories-should-you-eat/?ref=nav Relevent claim: People can get a approximate calories intakes on this website and it also helps you understand your calories intake condition. Credibility: good, this is a famous website about foods.

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