Is your diet balanced?

The diet we eat is highly influenced by our place, the way we were brought up, and our health conditions and habits. It may not be a perfect one, but we will never consider changing it as long as we are healthy. Unless we ask ourselves a question: what a perfectly balanced diet is.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), a balanced diet should include the following nutrients: fats, carbohydrates, proteins to name just major ones. The detailed description is below.


Dietary factor% of total energyRemarkFor 2000 calorie diet *
Total fat15 – 30%Total fat energy of at least 20% is consistent with good health. Highly active groups with diets rich in vegetables, legumes, fruits, and wholegrain cereals may sustain a total fat intake of up to 35% without the risk of unhealthy weight gain.

The main source of animal fats: lard, suet, tallow, duck and goose fat, Schmaltz, cheese, butter, meat, and eggs, etc. The main source of vegetable fats: oils, nuts, seeds, avocados, etc.
Between 300 and 600 calorie which is between 33.5 and 67 grams.

The below are included in the total fat.

Dietary factor% of total energyRemarkFor 2000 calorie diet *
Saturated fatty acids<10%
The main source of animal saturated fatty acids: milk, butter, Parmesan cheese, butterfat, tallow, suet, lard, and shortening, fish oil, processed meats, whipped cream, etc. The main source of vegetable saturated fatty acids: coconut oil, palm kernel oil, dark chocolate, nuts, and seeds, etc.<200 calorie which is 22 grams.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)6 – 10%The main source of animal PUFAs: fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, trout, etc. The main source of vegetable PUFAs: soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, etc.Between 120 and 200 calories which is between 13 and 22 grams.
n-6 Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)Omega-6 fatty acids5 – 8%The main source of animal Omega-6 fatty acids: poultry, eggs, etc. The main source of vegetable Omega-6 fatty acids: avocado, nuts, rapeseed oil, canola oil, hemp oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, cashew, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts, etc.Between 100 and 160 calories which is between 11 and 18 grams.
n-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)Omega-3 fatty acids1 – 2%The main source of animal Omega-3 fatty acids: fish, fish oil, krill, calamari oil, eggs (greens and insect fed), meat (grass-fed), etc. The main source of vegetable Omega-3 fatty acids: chia seeds, flax, hemp, canola, pecan nuts, hazelnuts, etc.Between 20 and 40 calories which is between 2 and 4 grams.
Trans fatty acids<1%Main source of animal Trans fatty acids: cattle and sheep milk and body fat etc.Main source of vegetable Trans fatty acids: baking shortening, margarines, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil etc.<20 calories which is <2 gram.
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs)By differenceThis is calculated as total fat – (saturated fatty acids + polyunsaturated fatty acids + trans fatty acids).
The main source of vegetable monounsaturated fatty acids: olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, avocados, peanut butter, nuts, and seeds, etc.
Dietary factor% of total energyRemarkFor 2000 calorie diet *
Cholesterolless than 1%Main source of animal proteins: eggs, liver, fish, fast food, shellfish, shrimp, bacon, red meat, cheese, pastries etc.<300 mg per day


Dietary factor% of total energyRemarkFor 2000 calorie diet *
Total carbohydrates55 – 75%The percentage of total energy available after taking into account that consumed as protein and fat, hence the wide range.
The main source of animal carbohydrates: milk.
The main source of vegetable carbohydrates: bread, grains, beans, vegetables, fruit, etc.
Between 1100 and 1500 calories which is between 275 and 375 grams
Free sugars
(included in carbohydrates)
<10%For more precise recommendation go to our article: How much sugar per day
Added sugar includes monosaccharides (for example glucose or fructose) and disaccharides (for example sucrose) added to foods and beverages by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer and additionally sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
< 200 which is 50 grams.
Fruits and vegetablesThe benefit of fruits and vegetables cannot be ascribed to a single or mix of nutrients and bioactive substances. Therefore, this food category was included rather than the nutrients themselves. The category of tubers (i.e. potatoes, cassava) should not be included in fruits and vegetables.>= 400g per day
Total dietary fibreFrom foods 25 – 30 g per day.
The main sources: bran, grains, vegetables, fruit, etc.
Non-starch polysaccharides (NSP)From foods 18g per day.
The main sources: wholegrain cereals, fruits, and vegetables are the preferred sources of non-starch polysaccharides (NSP). The recommended intake of fruits and vegetables and consumption of wholegrain foods is likely to provide >20 g per day of NSP (>25 g per day of total dietary fiber).


Dietary factor% of total energyRemarkFor 2000 calorie diet *
Proteins10 – 15%The main source of animal proteins: fish, meat, cheese, milk, yogurt, eggs, etc. The main source of vegetable proteins: tofu, soymilk, beans, nuts, seeds, etc.Between 200 and 300 calories which is 50 and 75 grams.


Dietary factor% of total energyRemarkFor 2000 calorie diet *
Sodium chloride (sodium)<5g per day (<2g per day)Salt should be iodized appropriately. The need to adjust salt iodization, depending on observed sodium intake and surveillance of iodine status of the population, should be recognized.
Main source of sodium: table salt and salt added to pastries and breads, cold cuts and meats, processed foods, soups, cheese etc.

Nowadays it is well known that not everybody fulfills the above recommendations. An average American increased his/her daily calorie intake by 523 calories between 1970 and 2003. But Americans, who consume 3770 calories a day, are not the only ones who overeat. According to European Environment Agency data only Bulgaria, Latvia, and Slovakia eat less than 3000 calories a day on average. Austria is a definite leader in overeating with 3800 calories a day, then Greece with 3710 calories and Belgium with 3690 calories a day.

It seems that the Western diet is a key in overconsumption. Sugar plays a special role as its consumption increased by 19% (between 1970 and 2003) and its usage is more common with the growing popularity of industrial and highly processed food.

There are a couple of solutions for those who would like to stick to health recommendations. First of all, it’s good to know what we are eating. Reading articles, exploring product labels, and being interested in what you eat is essential to improve the diet. At first, using the calculator to get all the values correct is useful. Later on, it becomes easier to estimate a proper value.

Secondly, avoid the processed food at any possible cost. It will mean spending some time to find reasonable restaurants, healthy food eateries, and shops. It will mean as well spending more money. Finally, learn how to prepare your own healthy food. It can be fun too.

*A 2000 calorie diet is considered an average woman’s diet while 2550 would be a daily calorie intake for an average man. That depends on the level of activity and exercises of course. The values in a table are calculated only for the 2000 calorie diet option.


All the nutrients in details you can find in our articles listed here:
All about fats [Link to: All about fats]
All about carbohydrates [Link to: All about carbohydrates]
All about proteins