Diet Planning

low calorie

low calorie

Diet

The word “diet” probably brings to mind meals of lettuce and cottage cheese.
By definition, “diet” refers to what a person eats or drinks during the course
of a day. A diet that limits portions to a very small size or that excludes
certain foods entirely to promote weight loss may not be effective over the long
term. Rather, you are likely to miss certain foods and find it difficult to
follow this type of diet for a long time. Instead, it is often helpful to
gradually change the types and amounts of food you eat and maintain these
changes for the rest of your life. The ideal diet is one that takes into account
your likes and dislikes and includes a wide variety of foods with enough
calories and nutrients for good health.

Calories

How much you eat and what you eat play a major role in how much you weigh.
So, when planning your diet, you should consider: What calorie level is
appropriate? Is the diet you are considering nutritionally balanced? Will the
diet be practical and easy to follow? Will you be able to maintain this eating
plan for the rest of your life? The following information will help you answer
these questions.

Low-calorie
Diets

Most weight-loss diets provide 1,000 to 1,500 calories per day. However, the
number of calories that is right for you depends on your weight and activity
level. At these calorie levels, diets are referred to as low-calorie diets.
Self-help diet books and clinical and non-clinical weight-loss programs often
include low-calorie diet plans. The calorie level of your diet should allow for
a weight loss of no more than 1 pound per week (after the first week or two when
weight loss may be more rapid because of initial water loss). If you can
estimate how many calories you eat in a day, you can design a diet plan that
will help you lose no more than 1 pound per week. You may need to work with a
trained health professional, such as a registered dietitian. Or, you can use a
standardized low-calorie diet plan with a fixed calorie level. The selected
calorie level, however, may not produce the recommended rate of weight loss, and
you may need to eat more or less.

Good
Nutrition

Make sure that your diet contains all the essential nutrients for good
health. Using the Food Guide Pyramid and the Nutrition Facts Label that is found
on most processed food products can help you choose a healthful diet. The
Pyramid shows you the kinds and amounts of food that you need each day for good
health. The Nutrition Facts Label will help you select foods that meet your
daily nutritional needs. A healthful diet should include:

Vitamins
and Minerals

Adequate vitamins and minerals. Eating a wide variety of foods from all the
food groups on the Food Guide Pyramid will help you get the vitamins and
minerals you need. If you eat less than 1,200 calories per day, you may benefit
from taking a daily vitamin and mineral supplement.

Adequate
Protein

The average woman 25 years of age and older should get 50 grams of protein
each day, and the average man 25 years of age and older should get 63 grams of
protein each day. Adequate protein is important because it prevents muscle
tissue from breaking down and repairs all body tissues such as skin and teeth.
To get adequate protein in your diet, make sure you eat 2-3 servings (see Figure
2) from the Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts Group on the Food
Guide Pyramid every day. These foods are all good sources of protein.

Adequate
Carbohydrates

At least 100 grams of carbohydrates per day are needed to prevent fatigue and
dangerous fluid imbalances. To make sure you get enough carbohydrates, eat 6-11
servings (see Figure 2) from the Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta Group on the
Food Guide Pyramid every day.

Fiber
Intake

Adequate fiber helps with proper bowel function. If you were to eat 1 cup of
bran cereal, 1/2 cup of carrots, 1/2 cup of kidney beans, a medium-sized pear,
and a medium-sized apple together in 1 day, you would get about 30 grams of
fiber.

Adequate
Protein

The average woman 25 years of age and older should get 50 grams of protein
each day, and the average man 25 years of age and older should get 63 grams of
protein each day. Adequate protein is important because it prevents muscle
tissue from breaking down and repairs all body tissues such as skin and teeth.
To get adequate protein in your diet, make sure you eat 2-3 servings (see Figure
2) from the Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts Group on the Food
Guide Pyramid every day. These foods are all good sources of protein.

Fat
Per Day

No more than 30 percent of calories, on average, from fat per day, with less
than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat (such as fat from meat, butter,
and eggs). Limiting fat to these levels reduces your risk for heart disease and
may help you lose weight. In addition, you should limit the amount of
cholesterol in your diet. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in animal
products such as meat and eggs. Your diet should include no more than 300
milligrams of cholesterol per day (one egg contains about 215 milligrams of
cholesterol, and 3.5 ounces of cooked hamburger contain 100 milligrams of
cholesterol).

Fixed-menu
diet

A fixed-menu diet provides a list of all the foods you will eat. This kind of
diet can be easy to follow because the foods are selected for you. But, you get
very few different food choices which may make the diet boring and hard to
follow away from home. In addition, fixed-menu diets do not teach the food
selection skills necessary for keeping weight off. If you start with a
fixed-menu diet, you should switch eventually to a plan that helps you learn to
make meal choices on your own, such as an exchange-type diet.

Exchange-type
diet

An exchange-type diet is a meal plan with a set number of servings from each
of several food groups. Within each group, foods are about equal in calories and
can be interchanged as you wish. For example, the “starch” category could
include one slice of bread or 1/2 cup of oatmeal; each is about equal in
nutritional value and calories. If your meal plan calls for two starch choices
at breakfast, you could choose to eat two slices of bread, or one slice of bread
and 1/2 cup of oatmeal. With the exchange-type diet plans, you have more
day-to-day variety and you can easil

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