Is your diet REALLY 'Balanced'?

A common word thrown around when discussing a healthy diet is the word 'balanced'. Within this context, having a 'balanced diet' denotes eating 'good' foods (meats, vegetables, fruits and grains) and 'bad' foods (fats, oils & sugars) in moderation. 

What we are slowly understanding about a balanced diet is that it is not just about what we consume - or how much - but rather, it is important to consider both the positive and negative attributes of the food we are consuming. This can create a lot of confusion as to what exactly merits food as being either naughty or nice. 

Take cheese for example. Cheese is high in calories and fat, but also happens to be high in bone and teeth-strengthening calcium. Recent reports have demonstrated that cheese has cancer-fighting properties, as the menaquinones (a type of vitamin K) it contains may activate genes that kill diseased cells. Cheese is equally a 'good' and 'bad' food rolled into one mass of dairy deliciousness. How much of a good thing is too much (or too little)?

Vanilla ice cream (minus the sugary toppings) is slightly higher in fat than frozen yoghurt. Sounds like a get-out-of-jail-free pass to stock up on tubs of Bulla; alas vanilla ice-cream is also soaked in shiteloads more sugar. 

You might hear the phrase 'balanced diet' touted on everything from product labels to TV advertising, but in reality, the truth of what constitutes true 'balance' lies somewhere in between.