Nutritional overview

Generally, a healthy diet will include:

1. Sufficient calories to maintain a person's metabolic and activity needs, but not so excessive as to result in fat storage greater than roughly 12% of body mass;

2. Sufficient fat, consisting mostly of mono- and polyunsaturated fats (avoiding saturated and "trans" fats) and with a balance of omega-6 and long-chain omega-3 lipids;

3. Sufficient essential amino acids ("complete protein") to provide cellular replenishment and transport proteins;

4. Essential micronutrients such as vitamins and certain minerals.

5. Avoiding directly poisonous (e.g. heavy metals) and carcinogenic (e.g. benzene) substances;

6. Avoiding foods contaminated by human pathogens (e.g. e. coli, tapeworm eggs);

7. Avoiding chronic high doses of certain foods that are benign or beneficial in small or occasional doses, such as

  • foods or substances with directly toxic properties at high chronic doses (e.g. ethyl alcohol, Vitamin A);
  • foods that may interfere at high doses with other body processes (e.g. table salt);
  • foods that may burden or exhaust normal functions (e.g. refined carbohydrates without adequate dietary fiber).