What is the perfect human diet?
Humans as a race have evolved substantially and have made massive progress in almost all aspects of life. But the one and the most critical aspect of life, health, got lost somewhere in the evolutionary journey.
According to one statistic, over 85% of US citizens above the age of 25 are obese and susceptible to life-threatening diseases.
Lifestyle and diet are the two key factors for this situation. A considerable effort goes into arriving at the perfect human diet. What kind of food will sustain a healthy human race? With a more in-depth understanding, we can plan diets, which suit us best and stay clear of lots of health issues.
We delve into the details and intricacies of this and try to present it through this article.
What Is The Perfect Human Diet?
The perfect human diet probably would be the one:
- which supplies all the necessary nutrients in the right proportion to the body,
- keep it energetic, fit, and active.
- It should keep the immune system in top gear and
- the hormonal balance should be perfect.
- keep the ailments at bay.
- bestow long life
- be practical and affordable.
- And finally, it should be tasty too, because food is one of the greatest pleasures of life.
According to the Forbes List, Some find this list too demanding and opine that such a diet is not possible. But then there is also a strong feeling amongst many optimistic enthusiasts that such a diet can be formulated
Humans exist for millions of years now, and they have evolved successfully to be in a much better situation than they were before. They did not wipe out because of obesity or any other chronic disease.
What did they eat? Let us look at some ancient tribes that exist today and their food.
According to Fuelbetter the Kitavans, a Melanesian Island community, have 69% carbohydrates, 21 % fat, and 10 % protein, and they do have a very low incidence of obesity, stroke, heart attack, and diabetes.
The Masai tribe has 66% of its calories from fat and 33% from saturated fat. They rarely eat fresh vegetables. And they are much healthier than urban dwellers.
With this diet composition, they should have wiped out by now. But the tribes are thriving.
So is a high fat, high carb, low fiber is diet the perfect human diet? The modern man cannot subsist on such a diet.
The perfect human diet is not one recipe, one component of the diet, which will suit everyone equally. Trying to find such a menu will be a futile effort.
The perfect human diet can be a highly customized diet, which suits an individual’s body composition, his genes, his habitat, his lifestyle, his work culture, the climate, and so on.
The ancient Indian Ayurvedic systems say an individual must eat a diet that will balance for his constitution.
A more in-depth analysis of the situation brings out the conclusion that human diets have evolved too fast for his genes to cope up with resulting in ‘metabolic syndrome”- a set of conditions that is responsible for the high blood pressure, diabetes, and so on.
Do not try to fit the ‘perfect human diet’ onto the genes. Instead, depending on the genes, develop the diet.
What Is A Balanced Diet?
A balanced diet is the one, which supplies are the necessary nutrients in the right daily dose and avails the requisite calories.
A balanced diet provides the right nutrition, which is so very important for the body to keep the infection, fatigue, and disease away. The internal organs work optimally with proper nutrition. In the case of growing children, adequate nutrition ensures excellent physical and mental growth.
Generally, stress is on the count of calories, and the RDL (required daily limit) of nutrients gets missed out. Micronutrient also needs to be factored in. Though required in minimal quantities, they do have a significant role to play in maintaining the health of the body.
The Constituents Of A Healthy Diet
- Carbs: These should contribute about 50 % of the total calories required. They are responsible for providing energy. Grains, potatoes, sweet potatoes belong to this category.
- Proteins: These are essential for tissue growth and maintenance and should contribute around 30% of your calories. Meat, fish, pulses, soya belong to this food group.
- Fats: These facilitate energy storage and hormone production. Fats should contribute about 25 -30 % of calories.
Along with these minerals, vitamins should be a part of the perfect diet, and these come from fruits, vegetables, nuts (look at the food pyramid for reference).
Water is also essential, and you should drink 8 – 10 glasses of water in a day.
The suggested proportions can be tweaked to suit individual requirements.
How To Know What Is The Perfect Diet For Me?
The factors on which your diet would depend are:
- Age: A younger person definitely would need more energy and protein and other nutrients too, when compared to an older adult. The diet for these two categories needs to be different.
- Gender: Men being more muscular than women have a higher Basal Metabolism rate, because of which their need for calories would be higher.
- Work/occupation: A sedentary lifestyle or an office job would mean less physical activity and hence less requirement of calories. A professional sportsperson’s diet would be very different from that of a computer operator.
- Your general health: A healthy, robust body would require a different kind of diet than an ailing one.
- Your genes: The genetic footprint plays a significant role in food digestion and assimilation. And this one thing cannot be altered. It has to be understood, and it can be planned accordingly.
- Your habitat: What grows in your region will come to your plate. It is always healthy to eat what is locally available.
- Weather conditions: In colder regions, the intake of fat and carbohydrates is bound to increase when compared to tropical areas.
- Your hobbies.: If you are an outdoor person, enjoying trekking, playing, swimming during weekends, the diet would be different in comparison to a person who has painting or singing as his hobby.
- Your body weight: The basic bodyweight and category also matter in diet formulation.
- Any pre-existing disease that you carry: It may prohibit some food categories, or in a worse case, dieting may not be viable at all.
The Indicators Of A Proper Diet
- Energetic throughout the day-indicates appropriate intake of carbohydrates.
- Bowel movement is regular- water, and fiber-rich food ensures this.
- Generally in a good mood- proper intake of protein reflects this state.
- Sleep well- The internal organs are working well because of a balanced perfect diet.
- Glowing skin and good hair- this is a result of vitamins, minerals in required measure.
You will have to determine your body type. There are three categories of the body type
- 1. Ectomorph: They have a high metabolism rate and are thin and lean. These body types can handle carbohydrates well. So they can up their carbohydrate percentage.
- Mesomorph: This is an ideal body type with the right balance of muscles and fat. Their diet should be balanced too. The standard percentage of various food categories would suit them well.
- Endomorph: They have relatively low metabolic rates and tend to hang onto their fat and muscle. A smaller percentage of carbohydrate goes well for these body types.
Modifications in the standard diet will have to be done, taking into account the body type.
Implementing Your Perfect Diet
Deciding the diet plan is challenging and time-consuming and more complicated than that is to achieve it. Quite often, a proper diet plan never sees the light of the day. Its existence is limited to the planning chart.
Take the following points into consideration when you implement your perfect diet plan
- The diet plan should be realistic and practical. Make the program, keeping in mind your present physical condition and your goal. The goal should not be too ambitious or far-reaching.
- Take small gradual steps to implement your diet. You can gradually implement the plan in a week or ten days, changing one or two things in a day. Just get used to the new diet slowly.
- Be motivated, and whenever you achieve a milestone, celebrate it.
- In case you miss out on something or goof up the diet plan some time, do not feel guilty or punish yourself.
- Never eat stomach full. Keep yourself a little empty and wanting.
- When eating, pay attention to your food. Keep off the TV and mobile.
- If possible, get a friend or family member to be a partner in the diet. Two is fun.
- Keep a record of what and when you eat.
- If possible, add an exercise plan along with your diet plan. Even simple things like walking for 20 minutes, or playing tennis for half an hour will make a considerable difference in your motivation and attitude.
What Is A Hunger Diet?
The hunger diet is straightforward to understand. It says eat when you are hungry. You may wonder, is that not what we do?
The answer is No. Not most of the time. A little contemplation will reveal that we eat out of habit.
- The clock governs when we eat. If it is at 7 am, it is time for breakfast. That is how we have conditioned our minds and eating habits.
- You tend to eat when you are bored. Eating somehow is a joyful experience.
- If you are on a perfect diet, it is the nutritionist who tells you when to eat and not your stomach.
At the onset, this seems to be a very logical and effective way of eating. One feels hungry when the stored energy gets consumed, and new supply has to come in. So stocking and stacking are ruled out. Somehow this is a very simplistic view of a complicated situation.
The secretion of the ghrelin hormone makes you feel hungry. The frequent build-up of ghrelin taken up as a signal for a shortage of food, and the protective mechanism of the body, which is involuntary, will come into play, and you would end up eating much more than usual. Because, in anticipation of a shortage of food, the body would be hungrier and would want more food.
Deliberately delayed eating may also give rise to acidity and related conditions. ‘Eat when hungry’ will disrupt your meal time table and after some time, it will be a big mess.
Either you will end up feeling hungry all the time, or you would not feel hungry at all. You do not desire such an eventuality.
Though appealing and sounding sensible, on closer scrutiny, it loses its value and probably do not take this as an option.
Waiting to eat till you are hungry, spoils your mood and behavior. If hunger level increases beyond a point, massive overeating and binging will result. Small meals several times in a day, typically about six times in a day, keeps you active and alert.
Three Large meals make you lethargic and inactive. Big meals at one go is a stress on the digestive system too. Waiting too long to eat may make you think about food too often, and this may hinder your work efficiency.
When at work, you eat at lunch break. Not everyone can break for lunch when they please. Hunger diet does not seem to be practical, and it does not have any credible advantage to offer.
One perfect human diet for the whole community does not exist. But the perfect human diet can be planned for individuals, depending on the individual’s demographic factor.
The desired objectives of dieting can be achieved if such a plan is devised and implemented with care.