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Write a comprehensive note on ‘Balanced Diet’ (CSS GSA Past Paper 2018)

Balanced Diet

Written By Mutahar Iftikhar

Balanced Diet

The food a person eats in a day is called diet. If it contains adequate quantity of the six necessary nutrients: fats, proteins, carbohydrates, fibers, vitamins, and minerals for the proper nourishment and growth of human mind and body, it is called ‘balanced diet.’ A person can fulfil his/her nutritious requirement by choosing food items that are enriched with the requires nutrients.

Elements of a balanced diet and their function and sources

  1. Fats: Most food items we eat contain fats. It is the most important nutrient that fuels all bodily activities. The body consumes fats as a fuel source to generate energy; energy is stored in the body in the form of fats. Therefore, a moderate amount of fats is needed for a healthy body. A few examples of food items that contain fats are butter, oil, nuts, meat, fish, and dairy products.
  2. Proteins: The major function of proteins in the body is building, maintaining, and repairing the muscle tissues. The food sources of proteins include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts, seeds, and beans.
  3. Carbohydrates: carbohydrates (carbs), like fats and proteins, are one of the three main nutrients present within most food items. Carbs, also, are the body’s major energy source. The body converts carbs into glucose, which the body’s cells need, and releases it into the bloodstream, where it can be used as an energy source. Grains, bread, cereals, vegetables, beans, fruit, and dairy are carbohydrates rich sources; however, some food items are richer in carbs than other items.
  4. Vitamins and Minerals: It means ‘vital for life.’ Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients necessary for the proper functioning, growth, and development of the body. The deficiency of any vitamin or mineral could lead to infections and several diseases. The essential vitamins include vitamin A, D, E, K, B, C, and the essential minerals are potassium (K), calcium (Ca), sodium (Na), magnesium (Mg), iron (Fe), zinc (Zn). Sources for all vitamins and minerals are varied, but fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, and dairy products can provide most of them.
  5. Fibers: It is the type of carbs that the body is not able to breakdown. Fibers are further categorized as water-soluble and insoluble fibers. Water-soluble fiber controls cholesterol level in the body while insoluble fiber helps prevent or relieve constipation. Good sources of fibers are bread, rice, oatmeal, lentils, peas, fruits, vegetables, and seeds.

Significance of a balanced diet

For the proper functioning of the human body, some amount of every nutrient is vital. Absence or deficiency of a particular nutrient can render the human body more prone to infections, diseases, and fatigue; therefore, a balanced diet is essential to keep the human body safe and sound. Children who get a non-balanced diet face stagnant growth, low physical performance, and recurrent diseases and infections.

A person’s balanced diet is according to nutrition requirement of his/her body, so it varies from person to person depending on his/her age and usual activities of the day. Several factors, including a person’s age, sex, height, weight, and usual physical activity, decide the number of calories the person needs each day.

PersonsRequired calories
Sedentary children: 2–8 years1,000–1,400
Active children: 2–8 years1,000–2,000
Women: 9–13 years1,400–2,200
Men: 9–13 years1,600–2,600
Active women: 14–30 years2,400
Sedentary women: 14–30 years1,800–2,000
Active men: 14–30 years2,800–3,200
Sedentary men: 14–30 years2,000–2,600
Active people: 30 years and over2,000–3,000
Sedentary people: 30 years and over1,600–2,400

How to solve this question in the CSS examination in Pakistan?

Dear fellows, GSA paper in the CSS exam requires relevant and to the point answer. Unlike essay writing or other 20 marks questions, you must hit the question directly. I have explained the breakdown in detail, hereunder, so that every one of you could understand how to score well in your CSS GSA paper, as I have scored up to 70 in CE-20.

The examiner has asked to write a comprehensive note that means you have to write each aspect of a balanced diet in some detail. The best way to solve the question is to divide it into parts as I have done above. First is the definition of a balanced diet and its elements. Only mentioning the names of nutrients will not earn you good marks, so you must provide a brief description containing functions and sources of each nutrient.

It is compulsory to write the significance of a balanced diet as only writing definition and nutrient is not enough for five marks. To obtain full marks, you must give benefits of following the balanced diet.

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