Dietary needs (different life stages, health conditions, cultural and lifestyle choices)

Dietary needs (different life stages, health conditions, cultural and lifestyle choices)

Dietary Needs

Different Life Stages

  • Infants require a diet high in fats for rapid growth. They need mother’s milk and infant-formula feeds, which are rich in energy, protein, vitamins and minerals.

  • Children and adolescents are in growth and development phase, requiring increased intake of protein, calcium for bone growth, and iron for blood development. They need a balanced diet.

  • Adults require a balanced diet to maintain & repair the body. Excess calorie intake can lead to weight gain. Alcohol intake, if any, should be moderate.

  • Pregnant women need extra intake of nutrients like folic acid for preventing neural tube defects in the baby, iron to avoid anaemia and calcium for skeletal development.

  • In older adults, there might be less caloric needs but higher need of nutrients, especially calcium and vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis, and B-vitamins to maintain nervous system.

Health Conditions

  • Diabetes management involves controlling blood sugar, which can be achieved with a balanced intake of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, alongside regular physical activity.

  • For heart disease patients, a diet low in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, and sodium can help reduce risks. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, and antioxidants are beneficial.

  • Coeliac disease requires a lifelong gluten-free diet. This involves avoidance of foods and drinks containing barley, rye, oats, and wheat.

  • People with allergies need to avoid allergenic foods like milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soya.

Cultural and Lifestyle Choices

  • Vegetarians exclude meat from their diets. They need to ensure enough protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 intake from plant-based sources.

  • Vegans avoid all animal products. They need to get nutrients usually found in animal products, like Vitamin B12, from fortified foods or supplements.

  • Those following a Halal diet avoid pork, alcohol, and foods containing certain additives. Halal meat is derived from animals slaughtered in a particular way.

  • A Kosher diet restricts certain food combinations, and requires ritual slaughter. Dairy and meat cannot be eaten together, and shellfish is forbidden.

  • Those following a low-carb diet for weight loss need to focus on consuming proteins and fats, and limit the intake of carbohydrates.