Lately, it seems that you can’t go anywhere without hearing about the important of good nutrition. But what is good nutrition, really? While the foods you choose cannot themselves guarantee good health or weight loss, eating the right kinds of food in appropriate amounts can improve your health or weight loss, eating the right kinds of foods in appropriate amounts can improve your health and help you to lose weight. In other words, you need to strike a healthy balance when it comes to eating.

In order to strike that balance, variety is key. Not only does eating a variety of foods keep your meals interesting, it also helps to expand your food repertoire while supplying your body with all the nutrient it requires.

The Key Players

The Macronutrients

The important part of eating a healthful variety of foods is an appropriate balance of the macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

Carbohydrate, which come mostly from fruits, vegetables, breads, cereals and whole grains, are the major source of energy. Unfortunately, misinformation about carbohydrates abounds- eating bread and pasta will make you fat, for example. The truth is, eating too many calories from any food, whether it’s a carbohydrate, fat or protein, can cause weight gain. For most people, though, a diet higher in carbohydrate and lower ┬áin fat can actually lead to weight loss.

In addition to providing energy, complex carbohydrate are the major source of dietary fiber in the diet, adding bulk of a feeling of fullness and playing a part in the prevention of certain diseases. Suggested that 50-60 percent of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates.

Fat: Friend or Foe?

As the most concentrated source of calories in the diet ( nine calories per gram of fat versus four calories per gram of both carbohydrates and proteins), fat has gained a bad reputation of late, and that has given rise to a myriad of fat-free and low-fat products. However, some dietary fat is necessary to provide essential fatty acids and to act as a carrier for certain fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). In addition, fat takes a longer time to be digested and absorbed into the blood-stream, which can actually hep you to feel full and satisfied after eating. The goal, then, is not to eliminate fat entirely but to consume the right amount and type.

There are three kinds of fat: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, all of which contain the same number of calories. Saturated fats (linked to a greater risk of heart disease), such as butter, are solid at room temperature. Unsaturated fats, which include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, are generally confound primarily in liquid vegetable oils and most margarines. Suggested a total fat intake per day of less than 30 percent of calories and a saturated fat intake per day of less than 10 percent of calories.