A balanced diet is not a diet in the conventional sense, it is not a fad diet. You know the diets that people write about so you can lose weight fast, or cure a disease quickly. Anything that promises fast results has no lasting effects. These people are lazy and don't want to work at anything, however it is nice to see results quickly to motivate and inspire people. That may motivate a select few to find lasting results to find a diet that can be maintained over the long haul, meaning the rest of your life. A balanced diet does just that, maintain health and longevity for the rest of your life.
Let me get off topic for a bit and talk about balance in its self. Everything in Nature likes to be in balance and has a negative and a positive side. Take Ying/yang symbol an ancient Chinese symbol that describes the positive and negative. In nature, life can't exist without its counterpoint. Plants can't live unless other plants decay and the new plants feed off that decay. If you are religious, if you believe in heaven then you must believe it's counterpoint exists. Magnets have a point and counterpoint, electricity, good/evil, the universe has a point and counterpoint. It is the way of nature it is the way of the universe. This point and counterpoint is not the balance that I speak of, but rather every beneficial element in food has a detrimental effect to the human body. This understanding of point/counterpoint becomes important when talking about individual foods and benefits of food.
Balance is best described by Fibonacci a monk in the 16th century that observed that plants grow in a very specific way striking a balance. He describes the pattern by a series of numbers; 1,1,2,3,5,8,12... Etc, it continues onto infinity. Starting at zero the previous number is added to the latter number to obtain a sum. These numbers have a constant a ratio known as Phi which is 0.618. Phi is seen in the arms of spiral galaxy, it is now seen in the magnetic fields of magnets, the petals of a flower, the leaves on a tree. This ratio is known as a golden ratio and everything in nature follows this balance.
A balanced diet should follow the same pattern, it should be guided by nature and the universe. What most people eat now is not in balance with the human body and when the body is out of balance disease can be present and take control. We see that in the rise of cancer with increase of diabetes and the increased incidence of heart disease and the prevalence of obesity. The answer is simple eat a balanced diet and stem of disease and have a long life.
Everyone knows the food groups by now, traditionally there are 5 food groups; Fats/Oils, Dairy, Meats/protein, Grains/carbs and fruits/Vegetables. The dieticians group fruits and vegetables into one group. Fruits have different vitamins and mineral concentrations then those that are found in vegetables. Did they do this because it is easier for everyone to follow? I don't know the real answer, all I know is that fruits should be separated into a separate food group since fruits have different elements the body needs than vegetables. So in my opinion there are 6 food groups, Fats/oils, Dairy, Meat/protein, Grains/carbs, Fruits and finally Vegetables.
I don't believe that the scientists that studied the diets and placed the traditional serving sizes that we know as the food guide are right. The reason is simple, it doesn't follow natures plan, it is not balanced as everything is found in nature. Namely it does not follow the simple ratio of Phi. So by using nature as the example, the following is what I believe strikes balance and is in my opinion a balanced diet:
This is what I believe a balanced diet should like and follows nature. It is also interesting to note that it takes the best elements of the "fad" diets that work. It also mimics to some extent what scientists deem as the best diets from around the world. It minimizes the detrimental effects and maximizes the beneficial effects of food. People should not just diet but rather strike a balance in nature and eat a balanced diet.