“Everything in moderation” is a very widely used term when it comes to diet and nutrition. I hear it all the time, especially from my dad. People everywhere are preaching that they eat certain foods only in moderation. What does moderation actually mean?
The general definition of moderate is to “keep within reasonable or proper limits; not extreme, excessive, or intense.”
You would therefore only consume what your body needs, while eating foods within the typical diet boundaries. The typical diet and the boundaries are completely up for interpretation. When you eat in moderation, your perception of reasonable or proper limits can mean everything or nothing based on what you consider a normal diet.
When you eat the standard American diet with many processed foods and limited vegetables or fruits, what would moderation be then? Is it when you moderately have veggies on your hamburger? You can see my point. These are factors to consider when it comes to the perception of moderation.
Everybody diets differently. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) food pyramid recommends you eat specific servings of dairy, vegetables, fruits, grains, animal products, and sparingly used fats, oils, and sweets. How many people take the time to measure out and count the serving sizes they consume?
Vegetarians have a different outlook and will not consume meat, whereas vegans won’t eat animal products of any kind. I don’t believe moderation would include eating meat once in a while, although if they practice a holistic approach, moderation could mean they sometimes make cacao brownies with natural sweeteners they might not usually use. The standard American diet could moderately include store-bought sweets on occasion. Do you see the difference?
Other diets focus on specific nutrients rather than food groups. The purpose of eating foods is to obtain and absorb macronutrients and micronutrients. The ideal diet could include macronutrients in these proportions: 15% protein, 15% fats, and 70% carbohydrates. The USDA does not differentiate between good fats (such as extra virgin olive oil and avocado) and unhealthy ones (such as deep fried vegetable oils and processed meat).
The micronutrients of vitamins, minerals and fiber are also taken into consideration. Each individual needs specific micronutrient requirements based on deficiencies. Foods with greater amounts of micronutrients are important to achieve the perfect balance in that individual’s body.