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Unit 1 - Balanced Diet

This GCSE Biology quiz is all about how a balanced diet is necessary for our health. How we use carbohydrates for energy, proteins for growth and repair and other food groups, such as vitamins and minerals, to maintain our bodies.

There is a saying "You are what you eat" and this is very true. Food supplies your body with the chemicals it needs for growth, repair and energy. If it doesn't get these in the right amounts, things start to go wrong. A balanced diet contains the correct proportions of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals in the right amounts to meet your body's needs. Water and fibre are also important.

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Carbohydrates provide your body with energy, proteins are digested to provide your body with the amino acids it needs for growing new cells and repairing damage. Fats are needed to enable your body to absorb vitamins A, D and E as well as being digested to provide fatty acids that cannot be made by your body. Any unused fats and carbohydrates are stored as body fat. Convenience foods and fast foods usually contain far too many carbohydrates and fats to be regarded as 'balanced' which is why people who eat mainly these types of food end up being overweight. Vitamins and minerals are only needed in very small quantities but a lack of these can cause diseases like scurvy and rickets. Water is essential in many ways, most of the chemical reactions that power you need water. Finally, you need fibre to keep your intestnes healthy and to bulk up the waste material so that it can be expelled on a regular basis.

The required daily amounts of each of these nutrients is different for different people. Children require proportionally more protein than adults because they are growing but growth in adults has stopped, so they need protein only to repair cells and to replace dead cells such as skin and nails. Older people require less energy than younger people and so they need to eat less than when they were younger. A balanced diet for you as a child and as a teenager is different to the balanced diet you need as an adult. Paying attention to what you eat could lead to a long and healthy life!

See how much you know about balanced diets by trying this quiz!

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  1. Which one has the highest energy content?
    Fats contain more than twice the energy of carbohydrates. It is harder for your body to get energy from fats and so it often ends up being stored. That is why high fat foods like fast foods and ready meals cause people to put on weight
  2. What might you develop if you are overweight?
    A poorly balanced diet that leads to a person becoming overweight increases the risk of this form of diabetes
  3. What is anorexia caused by?
    Some young people feel pressured to stay very thin by not eating enough and end up being dangerously underweight and lacking in vitamins and minerals. This can stunt growth and lead to health issues from nutrient deficiencies which affect the person's health throughout their life. Remember, a balanced diet should contain the correct amounts of each of the nutrients as well as being in the right proportion
  4. A balanced diet must have carbohydrates, proteins, fat, fibre, vitamins and which other type of food?
    Lack of certain vitamins and minerals can lead to deficiency diseases
  5. What is protein needed for?
    Proteins are digested to release amino acids
  6. A diet which is low in fibre could lead to which disorder?
    Fibre is the indigestible parts of the fruit and vegetables that you eat
  7. Which of the following can be a cause of heart disease?
    There are many other factors too such as smoking, not eating a balanced diet, genetics and more
  8. A deficiency of iron in the diet could lead to what?
    Iron is found in all foods and you may be surprised to learn that only a quarter of your daily intake of iron comes from meat and fish. You might think that vegetarians could be short of iron but that is not often the case since many nuts and pulses (e.g. soya beans) they use to replace the meat in their diet contain significant quantities of iron
  9. Starch belongs to which group?
    Starch is made up from sugars joined together in long chains
  10. Which of the following increases your metabolic rate?
    Exercise increases respiration in your cells and therefore uses up more of the nutrients you eat

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