What Is the Difference Between Balanced Diet and Adequate Diet?
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Difference Between Balanced Diet and Adequate Diet; Their Significance

Published on Dec 23, 2022 and last reviewed on Feb 06, 2023   -  5 min read


Nutrition is all about getting adequate nutrients and keeping the body in balance. Read the following article to know more about a balanced and adequate diet.


To maintain an active and healthy lifestyle, one needs to consume a diet in adequate quantity to meet our body’s nutritional and energy requirements. Scientific research has said that for healthy growth and development of an individual, it is necessary to take an adequate amount of at least 50 nutrients. When any of these nutrients are inadequately taken, an individual's growth and development are impaired, leading to health issues. A healthy diet reduces the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Increased production of packaged and processed foods has changed many people's lifestyles and dietary patterns.

What Is an Adequate Diet?

  • An adequate diet is a diet that should meet all the nutritional and energy requirements that a person needs, and it can be of any form, such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, etc.

  • The adequate level of needs is different for infants, children, girls, boys, men, and women, as per recommended dietary allowances.

What Is Safety Margin?

  • The margin of safety = Recommended dietary allowance - Daily energy requirements.

  • The safety margin covers us when we fast or temporarily get short of enough nutrients in our daily diet.

  • The safety margin is already included in the diet if an individual’s balanced diet satisfies his recommended dietary allowance (RDAs), as RDAs are created with additional allowances in mind.

  • The number of calories needed per day varies depending on age, sex, and level of physical activity, but on average, a person needs about 2,000 calories per day.

  • Males typically require more calories than females, and active individuals require more calories than inactive individuals.

  • Even healthy individuals without any underlying medical conditions that might affect their dietary needs or who are constrained by food allergies or intolerances require various food types in varying amounts and proportions at various ages and stages of life.

The currently recommended calorie intake guidelines for men and women of various ages are as follows:

  • Sedentary children (2 to 8 years) 1000 to 1400 kcal/day.

  • Active children (2 to 8 years) 1000 to 2000 kcal/day.

  • Females (9 to 13 years) 1400 to 2200 kcal/day.

  • Males (9 to 13 years) 1600 to 2600 kcal/day.

  • Active females (14 to 30 years) 2400 kcal/day.

  • Sedentary females (14 to 30 years) 1800 to 2000 kcal/day.

  • Active males (14 to 30 years) 2800 to 3200 kcal/day.

  • Sedentary males (14 to 30 years) 2000 to 2600 kcal/day.

  • Active males (30 years and over) 2000 to 3000 kcal/day.

  • Sedentary males (30 years and over) 1600 to 2400 kcal/day.

What Is a Balanced Diet?

  • A "balanced diet" provides the individual with enough energy to correctly meet their daily and nutritional needs.

  • A balanced diet includes a variety of foods in limited amounts and proportions to satisfy one's needs for calories, proteins, minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients while leaving a small provision reserved for additional nutrients to last through the short period of leanness.

  • In a balanced diet, the total amount of calories needed daily comes from a combination of about 60 to 70 % carbohydrates, 10 to 12 % from proteins, and 20 to 25 % fat.

What Are the Food Groups Included in a Balanced Diet?

  • Carbohydrates.

  • Proteins.

  • Fats.

  • Dietary fiber or roughages.

  • Water.

  • Vitamins.

  • Minerals.

Why Do We Need Carbohydrates?

  • Carbohydrates are the body's main energy source, as sugar, starch, and fiber easily break down to yield energy.

  • The consumed sugar and starch provide energy to feed the muscles and brain, while fiber helps to feel full and aids digestion and elimination.

What Do Proteins Offer Your Body?

  • Proteins, which are found in animal products and nuts, beans, and legumes, form the building blocks of the muscles.

  • High-fat protein foods such as meat, mutton, and fat-content dairy products are not a good choice for a balanced diet since they are high in saturated fats, which exceeds the protein they offer.

  • Nuts, beans, legumes, and low-fat dairy are all excellent sources of protein in a balanced diet since they have high nutrient content and low-calorie content.

Why Are Fats Necessary to Your Body?

  • Healthy fats are essential for supporting cell growth, providing energy, and maintaining the suppleness of your skin.

  • Omega-3, an important fatty acid found in avocados, fish, and olive oil, is a powerful antioxidant.

  • A balanced diet includes only healthy fats than the bad trans-fats of mass-produced baked foods and the animal fat found in meats and fat-content dairy, which has the potential to clog the artery.

Why Are Vitamins and Minerals Necessary to Your Body?

  • In the body, vitamins and minerals serve as cofactors to help various metabolic processes.

  • Without vitamins and minerals, it would be impossible to produce new cells, repair tissue damage, or turn food into energy.

What Are the Benefits of a Balanced Diet?

  • Dietary vitamins and minerals are essential for promoting immunity and healthy development.

  • A balanced body weight can also be achieved through a healthy diet.

  • Since variety and color are important components of a balanced diet, eating a wide variety of foods also has emotional benefits.

  • Choosing a balanced, sufficient, and varied diet is crucial on the road to a happy and healthy lifestyle.

  • By experimenting with foods from various cultures, origins, and preparation methods, a healthy diet offers a good opportunity to enrich life.

  • A healthy balanced diet can prevent certain diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and skeletal problems.

What Is the Importance of Diet in Various Stages of Life?

  • In Infancy: The baby requires breast milk and energy-rich foods to achieve growth and appropriate milestones.

  • In Childhood: Energy is required for the effective growth and development of the child, to fight against infections, and for bodybuilding.

  • During adolescence: Energy is required to achieve growth spurt, maturation, and bone development required for bodybuilding.

  • During Pregnancy and Lactation: A nutritionally adequate diet is necessary for maintaining good health, increasing productivity, preventing diet-related diseases, and supporting pregnancy or lactation.

  • During Older Age: Nutrient-dense, low-fat foods are necessary for being physically active and healthy at an older age.

How Can I Have an Adequate and Balanced Diet Every Day?

  • Balancing all the above nutrients and food groups is essential to achieve a healthy daily diet.

It is easy to remember how much of each food group to eat by using the plate method, which suggests:

  • Fill one-half of the plate with fruits and vegetables.

  • Fill one-quarter of the plate with grains.

  • Fill another quarter with protein foods.

  • Then add dairy supplements on the side or a non-dairy replacement.


Poor and unbalanced nutrition impairs the body's ability to grow and develop, which is the root cause of illness. In addition, inadequate consumption of any nutrient or mineral diminishes body function and leads to disease. Over time, it weakens one's capacity for planning, creating, and working. Thus, adequate nutrition serves as the keystone of good health.

Last reviewed at:
06 Feb 2023  -  5 min read




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