There's no secret to keeping in shape and enjoying good health. It's important to eat well. Too much food is as bad as too little. Quantity and quality go hand in hand. The more we enjoy each mouthful, the fewer we eat. Meals should be varied and include all food categories.
Learning about taste: an introduction to the pleasures of eating
The link between pleasure and nutrition has always interested scientists. When it comes to nutrition, being sensible doesn’t mean cutting down on pleasure. We learn to enjoy food at an early age. Pleasure begins with taste and develops throughout life.
As adults, the tastes we enjoy or don’t enjoy vary widely between each individual, depending on our cultural, social and economic circumstances. Contrary to received ideas about pleasure, scientists from all disciplines agree that pleasure has a decisive influence on what and how we eat.
What is a balanced diet ?
To stay healthy and active, control your weight and savour the pleasures of a varied diet, it is advisable to eat on average every day:
15% protein (meat, fish, eggs, legumes, dairy products, etc.),
35-40% fat (butter and other dairy products, meat, vegetable oil, etc.),
50% carbohydrates (grains, starches, fruits, vegetables, milk, sugar, sweet products).
According to the most recent national survey of eating habits (INCA 2) performed by the AFSSA in 2006-2007, the French still eat too much fat (39%) and protein (17%) and not enough carbohydrates (44%).
In addition to a variety of foods, a balanced diet also meansrespecting the body’s biological rhythms. Ideally, it’s advisable to eat two major meals a day (lunch and dinner) and two small meals (breakfast and possibly an afternoon snack).
Stop that snacking!
Snacking, the uncontrolled eating of food outside mealtimes, is one of the major enemies of weight control. Various studies have shown that morning snacking is often linked to skipping, or eating an inadequate, breakfast, and that late-afternoon cravings are the result of a skimpy lunch.
Sugar as part of a balanced diet
Sugar contributes to a well-balanced diet, serving as either a condiment or ingredient – in grain, dairy and fruit-based products, for example. By heightening foods’ flavour and aroma, the sweet taste enhances your eating pleasure.
Some people prefer to add a touch of sugar to their yoghurt or grapefruit. A pinch of sugar with stewed chicory reduces bitterness and may encourage children to try foods they wouldn’t normally eat.