[L. diaeta, fr. Gr. diaita, way of living, diet]

1. Liquid and solid foods regularly consumed in normal living.
2. A prescribed allowance of food adapted for a particular state of health or disease.
SYN: SEE: eating plan SEE TABLE: Diseases in Which Diet Plays an Important Role
3. To eat or drink in accordance with prescribed rules.
Diseases in Which Diet Plays an Important Role

ConditionConsensus Recommendations
Celiac sprueAvoid glutens, e.g., wheat, barley, and rye
CholelithiasisAvoid fatty foods
CirrhosisLimit sodium and protein intake; avoid alcohol and high-fat foods
Coronary artery diseaseAmerican Heart Association diets; limit saturated fats and trans fats; increase fiber
Congestive heart failureLimit sodium
Diabetes mellitusAmerican Diabetic Association Diet, carbohydrate controlled, calorie restricted if overweight, limit saturated fats
DiverticulosisLow-residue diet
DysphagiaSpecial consistency diets as indicated by testing/tolerance
EsophagitisAvoid alcohol, nonsteroidal drugs, tobacco; consume thick liquids
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)Avoid caffeine, chocolates, mints, high-fat foods, acidic foods, alcohol, or late meals
GoutLimit intake of alcohol, fructose, purines, and animal-based proteins
HyperhomocysteinemiaIncrease consumption of folates, vitamin B12
HyperlipidemiasNational Cholesterol Education Program Diet with limited saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol; increase soluble fiber
Iron deficiency anemiaIron supplements
Irritable bowel syndromeIncrease fiber content of meals, limit dairy products
Kidney stone formersLiberal fluid intake
Nephrotic syndromeLimit sodium intake
ObesityCaloric restriction
OsteoporosisSupplement calcium and vitamin D; limit alcohol and tobacco
Pernicious anemiaSupplement cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12)
Renal failureLimit sodium, potassium, protein, and fluids

acid-ash diet

A diet to acidify the urine. It contains acidic foods such as meat, fish, eggs, and cereals and is lacking in fruits, vegetables, cheese, and milk.

alkali-ash diet

A diet to produce an alkaline urine. It contains foods such as fruits, vegetables, and milk and is lacking in meat, fish, eggs, and cereals.

American Heart Association diet

Any diet for optimal cardiovascular health advocated by the American Heart Association (AHA). The AHA recommends meal plans that emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish, but little sodium, fat, or sugar.

American Heart Association diet, Step II

A diet formerly recommended by the American Heart Association to effect extensive changes in serum lipids and body weight. It has been replaced by the therapeutic lifestyle changes diet.

anti-inflammatory diet

A diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish oils, limited calories, few processed and refined foods, tea instead of coffee, a significant amount of fiber, and limited amounts of animal protein.
SYN: SEE: wellness diet

balanced diet

A diet adequate in energy-providing substances (carbohydrates and fats), tissue-building compounds (proteins), inorganic chemicals (water and mineral salts), agents that regulate or catalyze metabolic processes (vitamins), and substances for certain physiological processes, e.g., bulk for promoting peristaltic movements of the digestive tract.

bland diet

A diet to buffer gastric acidity by providing meals of palatable, nonirritating foods. The diet includes milk, cream, prepared cereals, gelatin, soup, rice, butter, crackers, eggs, lean meats, fish, cottage cheese, custards, tapioca, cookies, and plain cake. Multivitamins may be a necessary adjunct. Highly seasoned foods, fried foods, foods that produce gas, and most raw fruits and vegetables are to be avoided, as are drinks containing caffeine and alcohol. A bland diet may be indicated in treatment of gastritis, peptic ulcer, and hiatal hernia.

calorie reduction diet

ABBR: CRD SEE: Reducing diet.

convalescent diet

A diet suitable for the condition from which the patient is recovering.

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet

ABBR: DASH diet A diet proven to treat stage 1 hypertension, consisting of generous amounts of cereals, fruits, and vegetables (for fiber, vitamins, and minerals), low-fat dairy products, nuts, and lean meats (to maximize protein intake without too much saturated fat and cholesterol). Guidelines for a diet of 2000 calories daily include seven to eight servings of grains and grain products; four to five servings of vegetables; four to five servings of fruits; two to three servings of low-fat or nonfat dairy products; and two or fewer servings of lean meats, proteins, and fish. The plan also permits four to five servings of nuts, seeds, and legumes per week. It is recommended that sodium intake be less than 3000 g/day. The complete diet provides more specific recommendations for sodium. Compared with the diet recommended by MyPlate, this diet contains more fruits and vegetables and less fat. SEE TABLE: The DASH Diet (Eating Plan)
The DASH Diet (Eating Plan)

Food GroupDaily ServingsServing SizesExamples and NotesSignificance of Each Food Group to the DASH Eating Plan
Grains and grain products7-81 slice bread; 1 oz dry cereal; 1/2 C cooked rice, pasta, or cerealWhole wheat bread, English muffin, pita bread, bagel, cereals, grits, oatmeal, crackers, unsalted pretzels and popcornMajor sources of energy and fiber
Vegetables4-51 C raw leafy vegetable, 1/2 C cooked vegetable; 6 oz vegetable juiceTomatoes, potatoes, carrots, green peas, squash, broccoli, turnip greens, collards, kale, spinach, artichokes, green beans, lima beans, sweet potatoesRich sources of potassium, magnesium, and fiber
Fruits4-56 oz fruit juice; 1 medium fruit; 1/4 C dried fruit; 1/2 C fresh, frozen, or canned fruitApricots, bananas, dates, grapes, oranges, orange juice, grapefruit, grapefruit juice, mangoes, melons, peaches, pineapples, prunes, raisins, strawberries, tangerinesImportant sources of potassium, magnesium, and fiber
Lowfat or fat-free dairy foods2-38 oz milk, 1 C yogurt, 1.5 oz cheeseSkim (fat-free) or 1% (low fat) milk, skim or low fat buttermilk, fat-free or low fat regular or frozen yogurt, low fat and fat-free cheeseMajor sources of calcium and protein
Meats, poultry, and fish2 or less3 oz cooked meats, poultry, or fishSelect only lean; trim away visible fats; broil, roast, or boil, instead of frying; remove skin from poultryRich sources of protein and magnesium
Nuts, seeds, and dry beans4-5/ week1.5 oz or 1/3 C nuts, 1/2 oz or 2 tbsp seeds, 1/2 C dry beansAlmonds, filberts, mixed nuts, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, kidney beans, lentilsRich sources of energy, magnesium, potassium, protein, and fiber
Fats and oils2-31 tsp soft margarine, 1 tbsp low-fat mayonnaise, 1 tbsp regular salad dressing, 2 tbsp light salad dressing, 1 tsp vegetable oilSoft margarine, low-fat mayonnaise, light salad dressing, vegetable oilDASH has 27% of calories as fat, including fat in or added to foods
Sweets5/week1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp jelly or jam, 1/2 oz jelly beans, 8 oz lemonadeMaple syrup, sugar, jelly, jam, fruit-flavored gelatin, jelly beans, hard candy, fruit punch, sorbet, icesSweets should be low in fat

directed diet

A diet in which particular foods are selectively controlled, e.g., cow’s milk, eggs, wheat, or certain seafood.

dysphagia diet

A diet designed to help people with swallowing problems achieve appropriate hydration, nutrition, and comfort while eating. It consists of fluids of tolerated textures and viscosities.

elemental diet

A diet of predigested liquid consisting of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and glucose.

elimination diet

A method for assessing allergic responses to foods. To determine food allergies, foods suspected of causing problems are added one at a time to determine if any of these foods causes an adverse reaction.

Eskimo diet

A traditional diet in which marine mammals (and their blubber) are consumed. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and appears to be protective against atherosclerosis, immune diseases, and inflammatory diseases.
SYN: SEE: Inuit diet

evolution diet

A diet consisting of high-fiber nutrients (with little sugar) taken in small portions throughout the day. It is thought to represent the observed eating habits of primates and of humans in the past.

fasting-mimicking diet

An eating strategy intended to encourage weight loss and other health benefits, consisting of periodically limiting caloric intake or meals.

Feingold diet

SEE: Feingold diet

flexitarian diet

A diet that is based mostly on plant or vegetable food sources that occasionally incorporates meat or fish. Also known colloquially as a “semi-vegetarian” or a “casual vegetarian” diet.

fluid diet

SEE: Liquid diet.

gluten-free diet

A diet that excludes gluten by eliminating all products containing wheat, rye, or barley. Foods containing buckwheat, corn, oats, quinoa, and rice are generally thought to be well tolerated. Because gluten is present in many foods containing thickened sauces, the diet must be discussed with a dietitian. It is the basis of management for those with celiac disease.
SEE: celiac sprue; SEE: sprue

heritage diet

A traditional diet, i.e., one consumed by people of a specific ethnicity or national origin.

high-calorie diet

A diet that contains more calories than normally required for a person's metabolic and energy needs and therefore places that person in positive energy balance. The diet should include three meals and between-meal snacks and exclude fermentable and bulky foods. A high-calorie diet may be used to prevent weight loss in wasting diseases, in high basal metabolism, and after a long illness; in deficiency caused by anorexia, poverty, and poor dietary habits; and during lactation (when an extra 1000 to 1200 kcal each day is indicated).

high-carbohydrate diet

An imprecise term for a conventional American eating plan.
SEE: carbohydrate loading

high-cellulose diet

In veterinary medicine, a synonym for a diet high in fiber.

high-fiber diet

A diet that contains more than 25 g of insoluble fiber. Common sources of dietary fiber are fruits, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains.

high-residue diet

A diet that contains considerable amounts of substances such as fiber or cellulose, which the human body is unable to metabolize and absorb. This diet is particularly useful in treating constipation and may also be beneficial in preventing certain diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Lay people may refer to a high-residue diet as one containing a lot of roughage.
SEE: fiber

Inuit diet

SEE: Eskimo diet.

Kempner rice-fruit diet

SEE: Kempner rice-fruit diet

ketogenic diet

A high-fat, high-protein, controlled-carbohydrate diet, in which the body primarily metabolizes fats instead of glucose. It has been used to treat some forms of epilepsy and has also been promoted as a weight-loss diet.

light diet

A diet consisting of all foods allowed in a soft diet, plus whole-grain cereals, easily digested raw fruits, and vegetables. Foods are not pureed or ground. This diet is used as an intermediate regimen for patients who do not require a soft diet but are not yet able to resume a full diet.

liquid diet

A diet for those unable to tolerate solid food or for patients whose gastrointestinal tract must be free of solid matter. This type of diet may contain coffee with hot milk, tea, water, milk in all forms, milk and cream mixtures, cocoa, strained cream soups, fruit juices, meat juices, beef bouillon, tea, clear broths, gruels, strained meat soups, and eggnog.
SYN: SEE: fluid diet

liquid protein diet

A severely calorically restricted diet, lacking carbohydrates, fats, and many minerals and vitamins.
Descriptive text is not available for this imageIts use has been associated on occasion with cardiac rhythm disturbances and sudden cardiac death.

low carbohydrate, hypocaloric diet

A diet that usually limits total calories to about 1200 calories per day and total carbohydrates to no more than about 25% of total calories. Although this diet does not create more weight loss than calorically restricted high-carbohydrate diets, it does reduce fasting levels of insulin and triglycerides and may be preferable for inactive or obese patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus or impaired glucose tolerance.

low-copper diet

A diet from which foods rich in mineral copper, such as chocolate, dried legumes, organ meats, nuts, shellfish, and whole cereals, have been eliminated. Such diets are used to treat Wilson disease.

low-fat diet

An imprecise term for a diet in which the percentage of calories derived from fatty foods is limited (usually to less than 30% of total calories).

low-FODMAP diet

A diet plan that restricts the intake of dairy products, onions, wheat, some other fruits and vegetables, and sorbitol. It is used to manage irritable bowel syndrome.

low PHE diet

A colloquial term for a diet with restricted phenylalanine intake, used to manage phenylketonuria.

low-protein diet

A diet that contains a limited amount of protein, e.g., less than three servings of meat or fish a week, and less than 100 g of dairy product daily.

low-salt diet

SEE: Low-sodium diet.

low-sodium diet

A diet containing about 500 mg (approx. 10 mmol) of sodium daily. It is used occasionally to help manage hypertension, congestive heart failure, or renal failure. On this diet, table salt should not be added to food, and the salt content of commonly used beverages such as beer or soft drinks should be noted. To help regulate sodium consumption, sodium-containing medicines should be avoided.
SYN: SEE: low-salt diet; SEE: salt-free diet; SEE: sodium-free diet

macrobiotic diet

A diet consisting of vegetables and fish, advocated for the prevention and treatment of cancer. This diet is derived from the Japanese diet and features soy, rice, seaweed, pickled vegetables, and small amounts of fish.
SEE: pescovegetarian

Mediterranean diet

A well-tolerated, palatable diet modeled on the traditional cuisine of Italy, Greece, and the islands of the Mediterranean Sea. It includes fish and other seafood, wine, and olive oil, and derives about 25% to 35% of its calories from fat, but the primary fat is olive oil, a monounsaturated fat. Additional healthy fats are supplied by grapeseed oil and fats in whole vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

minimum residue diet

A diet used for short periods to ensure a minimum of solid material in the intestinal tract. Foods allowed include one glass of milk per day, clear fluids and juices, lean meat, noodles, and refined cereals.

Minot-Murphy diet

SEE: Minot-Murphy diet

National Cholesterol Education Program Diet

ABBR: NCEP diet A two-step approach designed to lower blood cholesterol in adults, children, and adolescents. It is similar to the Step I and Step II diets designed by the American Heart Association.

National Renal Diet

A diet designed by the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and the National Kidney Foundation for the treatment of kidney disease. It consists of six food planning systems based on the ADA exchange lists. The presence of diabetes and the use of peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis are considered.

nonlaxative diet

A diet containing boiled milk and toasted crackers. No strained oatmeal, vegetable juice, or fruit juice is given. Fats and concentrated sweets are restricted.

Paleolithic diet

A diet modeled on the food choices of modern hunter-gatherer societies or primitive human cultures. It includes nuts, fruits, vegetables, wild game, and fish and typically derives about 21% of its calories from fat.
SEE: evolution diet.

peptide diet

A diet in which nitrogen content is provided as simple amino acids (or small strings linked by amino acids) rather than as intact proteins.

pescatarian diet

A diet that is based mostly on plant or vegetable food sources but that also incorporates fish or seafood.

plant-based diet

An eating plan that emphasizes the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts, and limits or eliminates entirely animal products (e.g., fish, meat, and in some cases eggs and dairy).

pro-inflammatory diet

A diet rich in saturated and trans-fats, omega-6 fatty acids, processed carbohydrates, sugar, red meat, iron, and alcohol.

prudent diet

A diet to protect against heart disease, stroke, and other common diseases. It consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fish, and low-fat dairy products rather than refined or processed foods, red meats, highly concentrated sweets, eggs, and butter. A multistep approach decreases fat, cholesterol, and protein.

purine-restricted diet

A diet that limits purine and fats and encourages fluid intake; used to control the excessive levels of uric acid caused by gout. Foods with high levels of purine include sweetbreads, anchovies, sardines, liver, beef kidneys, brains, and herring. Historically, gout was thought of as a disease of the wealthy, because only wealthy individuals could afford to eat such foods. The disease is now much more widespread, and its causes are known to be more diverse.

reducing diet

A diet to help people lose weight by restricting the number of calories and carefully balancing other nutrients.
SYN: SEE: calorie reduction diet

residue-free diet

A diet without cellulose or roughage. Semisolid and bland foods are included. Such diets are used to prepare the colon for barium enemas or colonoscopy and occasionally to help manage Crohn disease.

salt-free diet

SEE: Low-sodium diet.

sensory diet

SEE: Sensory integration therapy.

six-food elimination diet

A diet that eliminates the most common food allergens (eggs, milk, nuts, seafood, soy, and wheat products).

sodium-free diet

SEE: Low-sodium diet.

soft diet

A diet consisting of only soft or semisolid foods or liquids, including fish, eggs, cheese, chicken, cereals, bread, toast, and butter. Excluded are red meats, vegetables, or fruits having seeds or thick skins, cellulose, raw fruits, and salads.

sustainable diet

A strategy for eating that combines concerns for human health and well-being, resource limitations, and the impact of agricultural practices on both human societies and the global environment.

therapeutic lifestyle changes diet

ABBR: TLC diet A diet in which fat calories make up between 25% and 35% of total caloric intake; less than 7% of each day's total calories come from saturated fat; total cholesterol intake is less than 200 mg; and total calories are adjusted to achieve and sustain a healthy weight and serum cholesterol level.

tyramine-free diet

A diet for patients taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Fermented foods, aged cheeses, wine, stimulants, and decongestants are eliminated to avoid a possible hyperadrenergic crisis from the combination of these drugs with tyramine-rich substances.

very low-calorie diet

A commercially available diet in which caloric intake may be from 400 to 800 kcal/day. This diet is usually a powdered supplement taken three to five times a day with large amounts of water. This diet can be effective, but the long-range efficacy in maintaining the weight loss may be discouraging. Vitamins and minerals are typically added to this diet because the small number of macronutrients consumed is inadequate for daily needs.

weight reduction diet

A diet that reduces the caloric content enough to cause weight loss. Normal metabolism must be preserved, and bulk, mineral, protein, vitamin, and water requirements must be met. Weight will be reduced if the caloric dietary intake is less than the calories used in activity. To lose 1 lb of weight, one would need a caloric deficit of 3500 calories (the number of calories in 1 lb). Therefore, if once decreased food intake by 300 calories a day and exercised enough to burn 200 calories more than usual, in 7 days, one will lose 1 lb.

wellness diet

SEE: Anti-inflammatory diet.

Western diet

A diet with inadequate fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fish, and low-fat dairy products and excessive amounts of refined and processed foods, alcohol, salt, red meats, sugary beverages, snacks, eggs, and butter. The Western diet, which is low in potassium, high in sodium, fats, and simple carbohydrates, has been implicated in many diseases, including atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.

yo-yo diet

SEE: weight cycling