Balance Diet. What should we eat According to ICMR?

A balance diet is defined as a diet, which contains variety of foods in such quantities and proportions that the need for energy, amino acids, minerals, fats, carbohydrates and other nutrients is adequately met for maintaining health, vitality and general well being.

It also makes a provision of extra nutrients to withstand short duration of leanness A balanced diet is a diet that provides all 6 nutrients; carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, minerals, vitamins, water in proper amounts and proportions to maintain good health.

Definition of Balance Diet

A balanced diet provides all the six nutrients; carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, vitamins and water in proper amounts and proportions to meet all the nutritional requirement of the body.

Each nutrient has its specific role in the body. . Carbohydrates (sugars and starch) provide energy. Fibers provide roughage action. .

Proteins are vital for growth (body building), maintenance and tissue repair. . Lipids provide energy as well as act as carriers of fat soluble vitamins.

Importance of Balance Diet

Vitamins and minerals are required for growth and also for regulation and control of metabolic processes.

Water provides the medium for all body metabolisms. Water is also required to flush out the waste products and remove the toxins.

It is a total cleanser. A balanced diet should meet the energy requirement of the body and also need for growth, maintenance and tissue repair. Balanced diet contributes towards good health.

Principles and Points to be considered while planning balanced diets:

A balanced diet should ensure the proper amounts and proportions of all the six nutrients to maintain optimal health.

Minimum RDA of all nutrients should be met

Factors like age, sex, physiological states (pregnancy, lactation), growth, physical activity, dietary habits, individual likes & dislikes, economic status and food budget of the family, family composition etc. are considered while planning a balanced diet.

Guidelines for calculating individual nutrient amounts of balanced diet. Main purpose of food is to supply energy.

But, while planning the balanced diet, body’s need for growth, maintenance, repair, protection, regulation must be fulfilled first (by proteins & fats) & then the total energy requirement is made up by carbohydrates.

In a balanced diet, the ratio of proteins, fat & carbohydrates would be 2:2:6 (or 1:2:7).

Proteins: First and foremost, the daily requirement of proteins (both qualitative and quantitative) should be met. This amounts to about 10-20% of total energy need.

Balance Diet
Paneer and Cabbage protein rich diet with low carbohydrate.

Lipids: Lipid (mainly fats) need is considered next. It is recommended that the lipids provide about 20% of the total energy requirement.

Lipids should not exceed 30% o the total energy need & minimum should be about 10%. Saturated fat should not exceed 10% of total energy need and at least 10% of the total energy requirement must com from unsaturated fats (poly & mono).

Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates (rich in natural fiber) should make up the remaining energy.

It is recommended that the carbohydrates provide about 60-70% of the total energy requirement, making it the chief source of energy. At least 40% of the total energy requirement must come from carbohydrate to prevent ketosis & muscle wasting Vitamins and Minerals:

The RDA of all vitamins and minerals should also be met When the energy and protein requirement is met and the food is selected from all food groups, the requirement of vitamins and minerals are automatically fulfilled. However, RDA’s of vitamin B iron, calcium and sodium are carefully considered.

Dietary Goals (Recommendations for a balanced diet): Main food: Cereals form the main sources of energy in diets. At least 40% of energy comes from cereals in a balanced diet.

Energy from cereals should not be more than 75% At least 60g of pulses should be taken. Ratio of cereal & pulse should be at 4:1 to ensure the better protein quality (by complementary action).

For non vegetarians 50% of pulses are replaced with one egg or 30 grams of meat or fish. If there are no pulses in the diet, amount of fish, meat or eggs are doubled.

Milk: There should be a minimum of 100 ml of milk included in every ml of fat-free or low-fat milk or milk products is recommended day’s diet. 300

Water: Diet should be containing adequate water to ensure the passage of 1.5 liters to 2 liters of urine per day. Fibers & antioxidants.

Diet should be contain adequate dietary fibers and antioxidants. At least 1 medium sized fruit & green leafy vegetables are recommended per day.

Energy: Total energy supply suggested to be + 50 of RDA.

Protein: Protein should account for about 10 to 15% of the total energy. • Balanced diet must be low in saturated & trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt:

Total fat intake should not exceed 20 to 35% of calories. Lesser than 10% of calories should come from saturated fatty acids. Cholesterol intake should be less than 300 mg/day and trans fatty must be restricted.

Total calories from refined carbohydrates like sugars should be about 5% of total energy requirement. It should not exceed 20% of total energy requirement.

Salt intake should be limited to less than 5 mg/day.

Alcohol: Do not consume more than one alcoholic drink per day for women, two per day for men. Certain individuals should abstain from alcohol completely.

Junk foods: Colas, ketchups & other foods that supply empty calories must be reduced.

ICMR recommend balance diets

In India, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is responsible for setting up. reviewing and revision of balanced diet.

Balanced diet is prescribed by Nutrition expert committee of ICMR based total energy requirement and RDA for all the essential nutrients.

Balanced diet for reference man and reference woman based on portion size & exchange system (ICMR values) is given here. on daily basis.

This accommodates daily total energy requirement & RDA for all the essential nutrients for the reference group.

ICMR Blalanced Diet Table

For Adults (Reference Men (60Kg) & Reference Women (50Kg).

Food Gropus

Exchange List

Portion 

Size (g)

Number of Portion (ICMR Values)

      Sedentary                        Moderate                           Heavy

 Men          Women        Men           Women        Men          Women

Cereals and millets  30 14 10 16 12 23 16
Pulses 300 2 2 3 2.5 3 3
Milk (Ml) 100 3 3 3 3 3 3
Roots and Tubers 100 2 1 2 1 2 2
Green Leafy Vegetables 100 1 1 1 1 1 1
Other Vegetables 100 1 1 1 1 1 1
Fruits 100 1 1 1 1 1 1
Sugars 5 5 4 8 5 11 9
Fats/Oils (Visible) 5 4 4 7 6 11 8

For Non Vegetarians

Exchange 1 Pulses portion with 1 egg or 1 Portion (50g) of meat/Chicken/fish (or both pulse serving can be exchanged with 2 eggs or 2 portion (100g) meat/chicken/fish.

An Indian reference man and reference woman:

Age is between 20-39 years, weighs 60 Kgs and surface area is 1.62 m².

Engaged in 8 hours of moderate work, sleeps for 8 hours, 6 hours of light activity. Engaged in 2 hours of active recreation.

An Indian reference woman:

A Age is between 20-39 years, weighs 50 Kgs and surface area is 1.4 m². Engaged in 8 hours of moderate work, sleeps for 8 hours, 6 hours of light activity. Engaged in 2 hours of active recreation.

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