Fatima Nizami ( PMRC Research Centre, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Karachi-35. )
Diet patterns and food habits vary not only from one nation to another but also from individual to individual depending on genetic and environmental factors, severity and nature of stress situation, age, sex, and rate of growth. The animal body does require calories (energy), amino acids (proteins), certain fatty acids (fats), vitamins, minerals and water in sufficient amounts and in proper combination to permit optimum growth, maintenance and repair of tissues. Carbohydrate, fats and proteins are the fuel nutrients which supply the body with energy for work and heat. Protem, mineral salts and water are required for the composition and repair of the body tissues. Vitamins are essential for normal growth and health and for regulating the body processes. Mineral salts, Vitamins and water also act as body regulatory substances by promoting oxidative processes, normal functioning of nerves and muscles and vitality of tissues and are of assistance in many other body functions. Thus all these nutrients are inter related and interdependent and it is an established fact that the presence or absence of one essential nutrient may effect the availability, absorption, metabolism or dietary needs for others. There is no single food which can provide all these nutrients though most foods contain more than one nutrient because they are a mixture of a number of chemical substances. Therefore, to provide the most complete or balanced diet one should maintain variety in daily foods. The following is. a simple guide to get a foundation for a good diet to provide the essential nutrients for a normal adult:-
Food groups Daily allowance
Milk group - Milk, Yogurt, 2 cups or more
Ice cream, Cheese
Meat group-meat, poultry 1½ -2 chattak fish
dry beans, Peas or 1 chattak
Vegetable - leafy dark 1½ chattak cooked
green or yellow
Any other 1½ chattak raw
Fruits Citrus -(vit. C) 1½ chattak
Any other 1½ chattak
Cereals - Wholegrain flour, 2 chattak or more rice bread etc.
This basic pattern will provide a foundation for the essential nutrients and will supply ½ to 3%th of calories needed by an adult. Therefore, more foods from these groups and/or other foods like fat, oil, butter and sugar, should be added as necessary to make the food palatable and to meet the caloric requirements.