6. Weight loss
Maintaining a moderate weight can help reduce the risk of chronic health issues. Having overweight or obesity are risk factors for several conditions, including:
- heart disease
- type 2 diabetes
- poor bone density
- some cancers
Many healthful foods, including vegetables, fruits, and beans, are lower in calories than most processed foods.
A person can determine their calorie requirements using guidance from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020.
Maintaining a healthful diet free from processed foods can help a person stay within their daily limit without monitoring calorie intake.
Dietary fiber is particularly important for managing weight. Plant-based foods contain plenty of dietary fiber, which helps regulate hunger by making people feel fuller for longer.
In 2018, researchers found that a diet rich in fiber and lean proteins resulted in weight loss without the need for monitoring calorie intake.
7. Diabetes management
A healthful diet can help a person with diabetes in:
- managing blood glucose levels
- keeping blood pressure and cholesterol within target ranges
- preventing or delaying complications of diabetes
- maintaining a moderate weight
It is vital for people with diabetes to limit their intake of foods with added sugar and salt. They should also consider avoiding fried foods high in saturated and trans fats.