What is a "healthy diet"?

From what I understand, RDI's are guidelines to avoid disease.

But, what about health?
1. What is a healthy balance of minerals to eat?
2. What should a B1->B12 complex look like, as inputs to the digestive system? See attached diagram.
3. When is the best time to eat Vitamin C?

The above 3 questions lead into further questions, such as: Should a meal be planned to maximize absorption of "fat-stored" vitamins, with the expectation they be stored for a different meal?


  • @AndrewBrown

    I'll do by best to answer your questions. :)

    The RDAs are determined from experimental study as the intake level of a nutrient that is essential for normal functioning for a particular age group and sex. The RDAs are actually intended for healthy people, as those with illness may need more or less of certain nutrients. In addition, while it's likely that disease risk may be lowered by hitting certain nutrient targets, this is not always the rationale for setting a target.

    For someone eating an omnivore diet, I'd aim for 100% of the default targets that are set. Some minerals, like iron and zinc, should be consumed above the RDA, while others (calcium) can be consumed below the RDA for those following a plant-based diet.

    I'm not sure I understand your question on B vitamins, but I would say that most balanced diets don't need supplementation (with the exception of plant-based and vitamin B12). Also, many B vitamins don't have an upper limit, so it's fine to consume them at >100% of the RDA.

    As far as the I know, there isn't an ideal time to consume vitamin C (although, it does help with absorption of non-heme iron).

    Fat-soluble vitamins are best absorbed with a source of fat, which is usually found without effort in most meals.

    Hope this helps!

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

  • This is 3100 calories from yesterday:

    I don't know anything about nutrition, so while it meets all guidelines, is this a healthy thing to do? What about a "fiber distribution" metric?

  • A few things you can look at to better interpret your nutrition:
    1. Was your sugar from natural or added sources (can find this out by hovering your mouse over sugar and seeing where sugar came from in your diet; don't worry about any naturally occurring sugars).
    2. Make sure you are taking vitamin D (unless you live in a warm climate where you can make vitamin D in your skin year round).
    3. Look at the overall quality of your diet - are your food choices from unprocessed sources (minimal ingredients, healthy cooking methods, etc.)?
    4. Do you limit restaurant/prepared foods?
    5. Do you limit alcohol?
    6. Are you drinking enough water?

    Overall, your nutrient intake looks fantastic, which suggests you are eating a healthy and balanced diet.

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

  • Those are great questions to ask. I usually base my supplement intake on my overall summary in the evening. If I'm low on biotin, I take a supplement. I only get biotin with eggs or nutritional yeast. B12 - strangely - seems to be enough with 2 cups of green matcha tea and 16oz of kombucha. I log it as "GT's Kombucha Gingeraid" although I make my own, but I haven't found a way to correctly log that yet. The sugar content in Kombucha is high at the start, but the scobi eats most of is up in fermentation. So I'm listing the commercial kombucha.
    My doctor keeps wanting me to take fish oil, but according to my listing, I get enough Omega-3 with our daily smoothie. She goes by 1125 EPA/875DHA, but I don't know how to look that up in cronometer. If I take one of those pills, then I'm way over the limit of Omega-3. The total of one of those pills is 2150mg, whereas the set target in cronometer is 1.1g; I get 1.3 with the smoothie. A lot of this is very confusing, but I haven't found anybody yet to help me set it up in cronometer; I'm just playing with it on my own for the last 2 years. I went to the Naturopath and the dietician both and they just said "don't worry about it, you're doing fine". :D Well, I'm not worried, just addicted to data. I love logging my recipes and adjusting them accordingly to reach my targets. ;) I'm using this more as a guideline, and I know it's not completely correct since logging recipes doesn't always reflect the correct state of the food. I can't log cooked onion when I'm making stew. I weigh all the veggies raw and then cook them. It's not feasible to pull the stew apart to figure out how much cooked onion, garlic, carrots and peppers are in there, or cook all ingredients separately. Similar questions come up when I make sourdough bread. How does the nutritional value of different flours (rye, emmer, barley, einkorn) change with baking? It always lists "alcohol" and a high component because I use beer in my bread, but the alcohol kinda bakes off at 500F!! Nevertheless, it's good to know that if I have three slices of my bread @ 135 g that's usually about 300 cal. But it's real bread, not wondershit. ;)

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