Diet (nutrition)

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A selection of foods consumed by humans. However, the human diet can vary widely.

In nutrition, diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism.[1] Dietary habits are the habitual decisions an individual or culture makes when choosing what foods to eat. The word diet often implies the use of specific intake of nutrition for health or weight-management reasons (with the two often being related). Although humans are omnivores, each culture and each person holds some food preferences or some food taboos. This may be due to personal tastes or ethical reasons. Individual dietary choices may be more or less healthy.

Proper nutrition requires ingestion and absorption of vitamins, minerals, and food energy in the form of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Dietary habits and choices play a significant role in the quality of life, health and longevity. It can define cultures and play a role in religion.

Religious and cultural dietary choices

Some cultures and religions have restrictions concerning what foods are acceptable in their diet. For example, only Kosher foods are permitted by Judaism, and Halal foods by Islam. Although Buddhists are generally vegetarians, the practice varies and meat-eating may be permitted depending on the sects.[2] In Hinduism, vegetarianism is the ideal, but meat-eating is not banned. Jain are strictly vegetarian and consumption of roots is not permitted.

Dietary choices

Many people choose to forgo food from animal sources to varying degrees (e.g. flexitarianism, vegetarianism, veganism, fruitarianism) for health reasons, issues surrounding morality, or to reduce their personal impact on the environment. Raw foodism is another contemporary trend. These diets may require tuning or supplementation such as vitamins to meet ordinary nutritional needs.

Weight management

A particular diet may be chosen to seek weight loss or weight gain. Changing a subject's dietary intake, or "going on a diet", can change the energy balance and increase or decrease the amount of fat stored by the body. Some foods are specifically recommended, or even altered, for conformity to the requirements of a particular diet. These diets are often recommended in conjunction with exercise. Specific weight loss programs can be harmful to health, while others may be beneficial (and can thus be coined as healthy diets). The terms "healthy diet" and "diet for weight management" are often related, as the two promote healthy weight management. Having a healthy diet is a way to prevent health problems, and will provide your body with the right balance of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.[3]

Eating disorders

An eating disorder is a mental disorder that interferes with normal food consumption. It is defined by abnormal eating habits that may involve either insufficient or excessive diet.


A healthy diet may improve or maintain optimal health. In developed countries, affluence enables unconstrained caloric intake and possibly inappropriate food choices.[4]

It is recommended by many authorities that people maintain a normal weight by (limiting consumption of energy-dense foods and sugary drinks), eat plant-based food, limit red and processed meat, and limit alcohol.[5] However, there is no total consensus on what constitutes a healthy diet.

Diet classification table

Food Type Carnivore Ketogenic Omnivore Pescetarian Vegetarian Vegan Raw vegan Islamic Hindu Jewish Paleolithic diet Frugivore
Fruits and berries No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Greens No Maybe Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Vegetables No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Legumes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Tubers No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Grains No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No
Poultry Yes Yes Yes No No No No Yes No Yes Yes No
Fish (scaled) Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes No Yes Yes No
Seafood (non-fish) Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes No No Yes No
Beef Yes Yes Yes No No No No Yes No Yes Yes No
Pork Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No Yes No
Eggs Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes No Yes Yes No
Dairy No Maybe Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes No No
Nuts No Maybe Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Alcohol No Maybe Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes No No

See also


  1. noun, def 1 –
  2. "Buddhism & Vegetarianism". Soul Curry. November 1, 2008.
  3. "Healthy Eating: Benefits of a Helathier Diet". 2009-10-12. Retrieved 2011-12-11.
  4. "Told to Eat Its Vegetables, America Orders Fries" article by Kim Severson in The New York Times September 24, 2010, accessed September 25, 2010

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