What is a Balanced Diet?
Besides leading to enhanced life expectancy and general improvements in wellness, eating a balanced diet every day has also been proven to increase energy in the workforce of the United States with sometimes staggering results.
The benefits to general health and wellness of eating a good supply of the proteins, fiber, minerals and vitamins that the body requires to function at its optimum capacity each day has been well documented, and backed-up by science but it was not until a 2008 report was published by ComPsych Corporation that it became clear that a well-balanced diet was the driving force of the nation's workforce and hence economy.
The key findings of its Health & Productivity Index which followed a survey of 1,000 employees across the U.S. from employers of all sizes and industries include:
50% of workers with balanced diets had high energy, while only 5% of employees with unbalanced diets had high levels of energy
73% of employees with healthy diets reported high levels of productivity, compared to 24% with poor dietary habits
51% of ideal weight employees experienced high morale, compared to less than half that amount of overweight employees
57% of healthy weight employees proved to be more highly productive, while only 27% of overweight employees reached high levels of productivity
It was clear from these findings, said ComPsych CEO Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz, that energy was a key factor in productivity. He also stated that lack of energy was the most common health-related complaint heard from employees.
After addressing the many work benefits of a balanced diet, you're still left wondering; what the heck constitutes a diet that is nutritionally balanced and how can you lose weight by following one.
Components of a Balanced Diet for Losing Weight
Carbs are not thy enemy!
First off, carbohydrates don't make you gain weight or become fat. They are your bodies preferred energy source and should make up anywhere from 50-60% of your total calorie intake primarily from complex choices (i.e. whole grains cereals, wheat bread). For the average person this works out to about 6-10 servings daily based on portion sizes and energy expenditure.
Sugars, which are often referred to as empty calories, are also a carbohydrate and should be limited as much as possible (less than 10% of your total calories).
Fruit is just good for you.
Consume 2-4 servings daily. Fruit is best for you in its rawest or most natural state. Plus, it's loaded with vitamins, minerals and a ton of other vital nutrients your body loves.
Don't leave the veggies out.
When selecting between broccoli or brussels sprouts, you don't get too excited. Veggies are not your palettes first choice, right? Not to worry, with time you should get use to the texture and taste and may begin to crave them in the future. Shoot for 3-5 servings daily. Vegetables also are best for you eaten raw.
Moo for dairy.
You know that dairy has calcium (critical for bone health) and other essential nutrients like protein.
The Food Pyramid recommends 2-3 servings each day. This is particularly important for women who are far more likely to suffer from osteoporosis.
Meat, beans, eggs and fish.
These foods are jam-packed with protein. However, they can also be very high in fat and saturated fat, so try to always go with the leaner choices and prepare the foods in healthier ways.
For example, remove the skin and bake them instead of deep-frying during cooking. Consume 2-3 serving each day made up of 2-3-ounce portion sizes.
Avoid fats and sweets like the plague.
To be avoided at all costs (just kidding). Do try to keep your servings as limited as possible and use sparingly.
Last, but not least: a balanced diet for losing weight.
Determine your caloric needs for weight maintenance.
Based on that number, eat 250 balanced calories under it and try burning an additional 250 calories daily by increasing your physical activity or starting an exercise routine. This will translate into a one-pound weekly loss of weight.
The conclusion to be drawn is that the connection between well-balanced diets, weight and energy not only lead to general wellness, but are an essential factor in the workplace and that companies that promote healthy food as part of a comprehensive wellness program can expect to reap rich dividends from their employees in terms of performance and output.