June 12, 2008

#01-121: On a Diet

a plate with Mexican rice on the left, beans with grated cheese top right, huevos rancheros (egg on a tortilla, with onion-pepper-tomato-etc.) bottom right
If it were possible, Mexican food would be my entire diet!

Note: Whatever you eat is your "diet"--whether you're trying to lose weight or not! Learn more words about diet and nutrition.

Get Ready: What is your "diet"? Have you ever tried to lose weight?

Are you on a diet? Think carefully before you answer. The answer must be "yes" (unless you have learned to live on air!).

Although the word "diet" usually makes us think of limiting our food for weight loss, that is not the word's first meaning. Diet, quite simply, is what one eats.

For example, we could say that the Chinese diet generally includes rice in the south and noodles in the north. People who live near the sea often include fish in their diet. A healthy diet consists of balancing one's foods. And so forth.

So the type of "diet" that people use for losing weight is a "weight-loss diet," only one kind of diet. In fact, some diets are intended to add weight to the person who follows them!

Recently, my doctor has instructed me to control my food intake to counteract some health problems. This is not for weight loss (though heaven knows I need it!) but for food's effect on blood sugar and body chemistry.

She told me that my intake should be, generally, 60% carbohydrates, 30% fats, and 10% proteins. This is sometimes called a "60-30-10 diet." Other people are recommended to practice a 40-30-30 diet.

Proteins, as you may know, are found in such foods as meat, fish, eggs, milk, and legumes. "Legumes"? These are, basically, beans and their kin. As an ovo-lacto (egg-milk) vegetarian, I depend on the last three--eggs, milk and other dairy products, and bean products (especially tofu)--for my protein intake.

Everybody knows what fat is. Of course, there are bad fats (saturated fats, trans fats) and good fats (unsaturated fats). Bad fats are found in many animal products (red meat, poultry, butter and whole milk) and in some of the vegetables oils used in making such delicious things as cakes and cookies. Good fats are found in other vegetable foods (olives, nuts, soybeans, avocados) and some cold-water fish, like salmon and mackerel.

Finally, the most talked-about group these days: the carbohydrates. Again, there are "good" and "bad" ones. The best seem to be more complex: whole grains including brown rice, for example. The worst are simpler, and often white: white rice, white bread, etc.

Why bother with all this? Well, as we used to say, "You are what you eat." People who follow healthy diets are healthier than those who eat a lot of junk food.

There's more to "a diet," then, than counting calories. Where one's calories come from, and other factors such as exercise, sleep, and habits (smoking, excessive drinking, etc.) all play a part in determining how healthy one is.


Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diet_(nutrition)

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. calories
  2. carbohydrates
  3. complex
  4. counteract
  5. excessive
  6. intake
  7. legumes
  8. poultry
  9. protein
  10. vegetarian

  1. a person who doesn't eat meat, fish, seafood, or other animals
  2. chickens, ducks, geese, and the like
  3. what one consumes or eats
  4. the type of food molecules found in meat and tofu
  5. the type of food molecules found in bread and noodles
  6. with a complicated structure; not simple
  7. work against; reverse
  8. beans, peas, lentils, and so on
  9. too much
  10. units of energy, often used to measure food values

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for June 12, 2008

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. j; 2. e; 3. f; 4. g; 5. i; 6. c; 7. h; 8. b; 9. d; 10. a