Intended for healthcare professionals


Developing reliable dietary guidelines

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: (Published 03 November 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j4845

What is a balanced diet?

A balanced diet is tasty and satisfying, supplies all vital nutrients, and conforms to the design of our gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Our GI tract, especially our teeth and intestines, suggests that we are herbivorous omnivores, which means that we should eat primarily, but not exclusively, a vegetarian diet. This matches the lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, which excludes meat and fish, but includes milk, eggs, fruits, and vegetables, and supplies all essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, soluble fiber, and insoluble fiber. A balanced diet is based on our genetics, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and lifestyle.

Competing interests: No competing interests

08 November 2017
Hugh Mann
New York, NY, USA