Health Promotions - Recommended Healthy diet ingredients and quantity


Many chronic diseases - particularly obesity, diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease - cause premature mortality and morbidity and are potentially preventable by dietary change.

Table shown below suggests the composition of the 'ideal healthy diet'. The values given are based on the principle of:

  • reducing total fat in the diet, particularly saturated fat
  • increasing consumption of fish which contain n-3 (or ?-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • increasing intake of whole-grain cereals, green and orange vegetables and fruits, leading to an increase in fibre and antioxidants.

Reductions in dietary sodium and cholesterol have also been suggested. There would be no disadvantage in this, and most studies have suggested some benefit.

Recommended Healthy Diet
Intake Approximate amounts (%) Helpful Hints
Energy % derived from    
Carbohydrate 40 Increase fruits, vegetables, beans as well as bread and pasta.
Sugar 10 Increase fruits, vegetables, beans as well as bread and pasta.
Protein 12 Decrease red meat
Total Fat 30 Decrease meat and chese and increase olive and other vegetable oils.
Saturated Fat 10  
Cholesterol (mg/day) <300 Decrease meat and eggs
NSP - Non starch polysaccharides (g/day) 30 Increase bran and cereals
Salt (g/day) 6 Decrease prepared meats and do not add salt to food.


Fortification of foods with specific nutrients is common. In the UK margarine and milk are fortified with vitamins A and D, flour with calcium, iron, thiamin and niacin, and breakfast cereals with several vitamins and iron. Not all substances used in fortification have nutritive value. For example, Olestra is a polymer of sucrose and six or more triglycerides which has been introduced to combat obesity. It is not absorbed and is therefore used particularly in savoury snack foods (where it has FDA approval) as a 'fake fat'. Therefore, it results in a reduction in total calories. It has side-effects (mainly in the gut) and its use is being carefully monitored.

The interests of the individual are often different from those associated with government policy. A distinction needs to be made about nutrient goals and dietary guidelines. Nutrient goals refer to the national intakes of nutrients that are considered appropriate for optimal health in the population, whereas dietary guidelines refer to the dietary methods used to achieve these goals. Since dietary habits in different countries vary, dietary guidelines may also differ, even when the nutrient goals are the same. Nutrient goals are based on scientific information that links nutrient intake to disease. Although the information is incomplete, it includes evidence from a wide range of sources, including experimental animal studies, clinical studies and both short-term and long-term epidemiological studies.

Energy Expenditure

Energy Stores

Basal Metabolic Rate

Recommended healthy diet

Dietary requirements


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