Diets are a popular topic of discussion around the world. There are thousands of different diet plans, some to lose weight, some to gain weight, lower cholesterol and protect your heart, give you extra energy before a long race, grow a healthier baby, and the list goes on and on.

A healthy diet maintains health, prevents disease and helps control and/or treats chronic diseases. Eating right and performing regular physical fitness is key for disease prevention.

Healthy eating can help keep chronic diseases from starting in the first place.

If you already have a disease, eating a restricted diet can help manage symptoms, or even reverse some damage from the disease.

Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or actually obese, including children. Popular diets for losing weight include the Adkins Diet, Glycemic Index diets, the Grapefruit Diet, South Beach Diet, New Beverly Hills Diet, Skinny Bitch Diet, and measured food plans like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and Nutrisystem, and hundreds more.

Some diet foods promote growth of strong bones and teeth, slow disease, flush the body of toxins and repair cells. A healthy diet is one that helps maintain or improve general health. It provides the body with essential nutrition: fluid, adequate essential amino acids from protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and adequate calories. The requirements for a healthy diet can be met from a variety of plant-based and animal-based foods.

A balanced diet (in addition to exercise) is important for lowering health risks, such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cancer.

Whether you are a meat eater, Vegetarian, or Vegan, there is a healthy diet that will meet your nutritional needs. Learn about your options for healthy eating in this section.