To chefs and cooks, the ingredients of delicious, flavourful dishes are foods, while nutritionists talk of nutrients and place all foods in three categories: proteins, carbohydrates or sugars, and fats.
All foods contain a combination of the big three and other components, of which the first and foremost is a varying amount of water. Dry foods (rice, pasta, flour, lentils, dried mushrooms) are simply uneatable if they haven’t been hydrated or rehydrated.
Other foods, especially vegetables, contain varying amounts of fibre.
Finally, foods also contain small amounts of vitamins and trace minerals that are essential for our health.
What do we need to live? Well, all of the above, but for different purposes. Proteins, carbohydrates, fats, water, fibre, vitamins and trace minerals help our body to function properly and keep us alive.
Your body cannot do without any of these nutrients for long. Everyone knows that their diet must contain all nutrients to avoid deficiencies that will weaken their immune system, make them more susceptible to disease and diminish their vitality. Animals cannot live without food and we are animals. Plants, on the other hand, synthesize their food from minerals in the soil, carbon dioxide in the air, and sunlight.
The concept of a balanced diet must temporarily be discarded during a strict diet and especially during the protein diet, because you must take the unbalanced diet approach to a slimmer you. Protein, vitamin and mineral salt supplements are essential during the short-term protein diet in order to prevent deficiencies.
Nutritionists always find it odd that many patients still find these concepts vague and somewhat confusing. There’s no time like the present to top up your knowledge.