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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

It Isn’t About the Perfect Diet, It’s About the Perfect Balance

There has long been an ongoing discussion about the perfect diet. Especially lately, when the modern consumer is so focused on healthy living, the conversation surrounding which food one should and should not eat to keep them at their healthiest, and which exercises to do to achieve the healthiest physicality, is louder than ever. There has been new research and new studies that have found that both men and women that consistently follow healthy lifestyle habits can live up to ten years longer. When the facts speak such monumental volumes, then it is inevitable that consumers start to place more value on the companies that they support and buy from. Nutrition companies are noticing the increased value on quality, and they are coming out with new, improved products and vying for the sales against their competitors, determined to prove just how and why their products beat out the rest.

Consumers are busier than ever, and they want healthy habits that work for them, not that they have to put more work into to make it delicious and worth their while. The global phenomenon that is healthy lifestyle hacks has taken the world by storm, but it has also caused a lot of confusion. With more information has come the inevitable moment of hesitation and “where do I start?”. From knowing the various health benefits of alternative supplements, to having healthy eating habits ingrained in one’s daily intake, when it comes to health and nutrition, the key is finding the balance that helps you thrive. Health is so important, and the reality here is that there is no perfect diet, so putting all one’s energy into finding the perfect diet is ultimately the road that leads to nowhere. Instead, finding the perfect balance is the way to lead the healthiest lifestyle that one possibly can.

Balancing the perfect nutritional balance can be tricky, especially with so much advice and information constantly swirling around. To begin with, make a conscious effort to keep the food group philosophy out of your mind, and move toward the nutrient philosophy instead. Nutrients – including proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and water – are literally the fuel that propels the body forward and keeps us moving, so understanding the difference between the food group ideology and the nutrition ideology is so important. For example, fruits and vegetables are in one of the ideal food group categories, but replacing all the unhealthy fats and sugars with more fruit can actually be damaging – fruit has plenty of natural sugars, so limiting fruit consumption to a few pieces a day, and instead making up the rest of that food category with the nutritious vegetables that are currently in season, makes all the difference.

Everyone’s nutritional requirements are different (seriously, no two people are the same) and so fixating on the perfect diet more often than not leads to frustration, more than anything else. While it can be daunting to make the appointment and speak to a nutritionist, they are literally trained and paid to give their patients the best nutrition advice that caters to them specifically. For example, the ideal nutrition plan for a male in their late forties that has never learned to cook a vegetable in his life may need to buy Kratom or take other herbal supplements that are going to be drastically different to the ideal nutritional levels for a female in their late twenties that is a personal trainer. No matter who we are, or what we do for a living, it never hurts to have a second opinion on what the best path to health and wellness is. We only have one body, so we might as well do our very best to take the best care of it that we can.

It is important to note that having a healthy lifestyle and maintaining it is about more than diet alone. Exercise is obviously another important contributing factor to a healthy lifestyle, but if it comes down to one or the other, the benefits of opting towards a balanced diet over a strict exercise regime win out. That is not to say that individuals should not engage in physical exercise and work towards their healthiest physical form, because they should. What it does say is that an individual can exercise all they want, but if they do not change their diet then it can be difficult to see lasting, peak results. If an individual eats as well as they can, however, and only exercise a few times a week (even if it is just a quick walk on their lunch break at work), then the results will be far more noticeable and far more likely to continue.

The perfect diet does not exist. In fact, a healthy lifestyle is all about finding the perfect healthy balance and sticking to the balance that benefits you the most. It can take some time, but as the saying goes, “good things come to those who wait”. Once healthy habits are established, and nutritional intake is under control, then they become easier and easier until those healthy habits that were so hard to get into a routine with, become second nature. Eating leafy greens and vibrantly coloured fruit and vegetables is just the beginning, and it only gets better from there. Soon enough, healthy habits become the way of life. Ultimately, this is the goal. This is the perfect balance.

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