How do people define variety and balance in eating?

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The first assignment in my introductory nutrition course is to submit one nutrition related question to address during the semester. The most common question revolves around "just what is a healthy diet?". The media overflows with confusing and conflicting - and often unreasonable - information and advice. Bottom line, a healthy eating pattern revolves around balance, variety, adequacy, and moderation as addressed in Chapter 2 on Healthy Diets.  But how do consumers define these characteristics? This article provides details from a study that shows people view variety and balance differently - and not always in line with what nutrition experts and dietary guidelines intend.

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About the Author
Jamie Pope, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Assistant Professor of Practice in Medicine, Health and Society at Vanderbilt University, has worked in the areas of obesity research, health promotion, heart disease prevention, and since 2000 teaching introductory nutrition. Beyond the classroom, she adapted portions of her nutrition courses to produce a Massive Open Online Course attracting more than 175,000 participants from around the world. This experience earned Jamie an Innovation in Teaching award from the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. She is the co-author of the textbook entitled Nutrition for a Changing World. Now in its second edition, the text is in use in over 140 universities across the U.S. and the recipient of a 2020 Textbook Excellence Award. Most recently she developed and produced an audio course for (Nutrition 101: Understanding the Science and Practice of Eating Well) that is also featured on platforms like Apple Books and Audible. Jamie holds a Master’s of Science degree in Nutrition and post graduate work in Health Psychology. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She has authored or contributed to numerous scientific and popular press publications. Jamie also held several corporate positions, serving as nutrition consultant and media representative.