Food and nutrients

A balanced diet

Home TeachersFood and nutrientsA balanced diet

Foodstuffs belonging to the same food group have similar nutritional properties. They can therefore be replaced by another foodstuff from the same group. This substitution is known as ‘equivalence’.

Equivalence can also exist between foodstuffs from different food groups, so long as they have similar nutritional properties (e.g. 65 grammes of almonds is equivalent to 380 grammes of carrots in terms of dietary fibre.

Equivalence allows you to eat a varied diet. It also allows you to eat a balanced diet, even when one type of food is unavailable, prohibited or disliked.

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Food equivalence

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Food equivalence means replacing one foodstuff with another, so long as they have similar nutritional properties.

Equivalent foodstuffs can belong to the same food group but equivalences also exist between groups.

For example you can get 10 g of fibre from 100 g of porridge oats or from 170 g of peas. Equivalences allow you to eat a variety of food while continuing to take in the essential elements your body needs and alternating the taste of your meals.

The choice of food depends a lot on availability and financial means and is also heavily influenced by social, cultural and religious customs. We cannot overlook the fact that food consumed by one person will be unpleasant to another.


Equivalences allow us to deal with these issues and eat a balanced diet whatever food is available, whatever food restrictions exist and whatever our personal tastes. If you do not like certain kinds of fruit, you could choose between a handful of apricots or cherries or even quarter of a melon.

All of these provide a roughly equivalent amount of carbohydrates.

We either choose to, or sometimes have to, avoid certain foodstuffs. We may not wish to eat meat on principle or wish to avoid pork for religious reasons, or have to avoid peanuts due to an allergy for example.

If there is not an excessive number of restrictions, the variety of food we can access should allow us to eat a balanced diet and satiate hunger.

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