In nutrition, the diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism. Dietary habits are the habitual decisions an individual or culture makes when choosing what foods to eat. Although humans are omnivores, each culture holds some food preferences and some food taboos. Individual dietary choices may be more or less healthy. Proper nutrition requires the proper ingestion and equally important, the absorption of vitamins, minerals, and fuel in the form of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Dietary habits and choices play a significant role in health and mortality, and can also define cultures and play a role in religion.
"Traditional diet" is a term for a diet that was considered normal in a given location prior to the advent of industrial agriculture and the general availability of fresh foreign food. In particular, the term may refer to the diet of native populations such as the Native Americans, Khoisan and Australian Aborigines.
Traditional diets vary with availability of local resources, such as fish in coastal towns or grains in farming towns, as well as with cultural and religious customs and taboos. In some cases, the crops and domestic animals that characterize a traditional diet have been replaced by modern high-yield crops, and are no longer available. The slow food movement attempts to counter this trend and to preserve traditional diets.
Religious and cultural dietary choices
Individual dietary choices
Many individuals choose to limit what foods they eat for reasons of health, morality, environmental impact, or other factors. Additionally, many people choose to forgo food from animal sources to varying degrees; see vegetarianism, veganism, fruitarianism, living foods diet, and raw foodism.
Diets for weight management
A particular diet may be chosen to seek weight gain, weight loss, sports training, cardio-vascular health, avoidance of cancers, food allergies and for other reasons. Changing a subject's dietary intake, or "going on a diet", can change the energy balance and increase or decrease the amount of fat stored by the body. Some foods are specifically recommended, or even altered, for conformity to the requirements of a particular diet. These diets are often recommended in conjunction with exercise.
- World Health Organization site on diet and physical activity
- Diet and Nutrition Articles
- Diet, Nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases by a Joint WHO/FAO Expert consultation (2003)
- U.S. government diet recommendations
- An article about traditional dietca:Dieta
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