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parliamentary bodies in Japan, Poland, Hungary, Bohemia, the Scandinavian nations, and Germany have been called diets. In German history, the diet originated as a meeting of landholders and burghers, convoked by the ruler to discuss financial problems. The imperial diet or Reichstag of the Holy Roman EmpireHoly Roman Empire,
designation for the political entity that originated at the coronation as emperor (962) of the German king Otto I and endured until the renunciation (1806) of the imperial title by Francis II.
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 began as a loose assembly of ecclesiastic princes and imperial cities, meeting at irregular intervals. After 1489 three colleges representing electorselectors,
in the history of the Holy Roman Empire, the princes who had the right to elect the German kings or, more exactly, the kings of the Romans (Holy Roman emperors).
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, princes, and imperial cities arrived at decisions separately—even over war and peace—then combined them. The emperor could ratify the whole or parts. Among the most important diets were those of Worms (1495) and Cologne (1512); see Maximilian IMaximilian I,
1459–1519, Holy Roman emperor and German king (1493–1519), son and successor of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III. As emperor, he aspired to restore forceful imperial leadership and inaugurate much-needed administrative reforms in the increasingly
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, Holy Roman emperor. The most important diets of the ReformationReformation,
religious revolution that took place in Western Europe in the 16th cent. It arose from objections to doctrines and practices in the medieval church (see Roman Catholic Church) and ultimately led to the freedom of dissent (see Protestantism).
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 were WormsWorms, Diet of,
1521, most famous of the imperial diets held at Worms, Germany. It was opened in Jan., 1521, by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. After disposing of other business, notably the question of the Reichsregiment, the diet took up the question of the recalcitrant behavior
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 (1521), Speyer (1529), and Augsburg (1530, 1547, 1555). The diet declined in importance and after the peace of Westphalia (1648) it became an assembly of independent princes, meeting after 1663 at Regensburg as a conference of ambassadors without legislative power. For the federal diet of 1815–66, which succeeded the imperial diet, see German ConfederationGerman Confederation,
1815–66, union of German states provided for at the Congress of Vienna to replace the old Holy Roman Empire, which had been destroyed during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. It comprised 39 states in all, 35 monarchies and 4 free cities.
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. The term was revived for the legislature of the German Empire in 1871, and was used until the end of World War II; see ReichstagReichstag
[Ger.,=imperial parliament], name for the diet of the Holy Roman Empire, for the lower chamber of the federal parliament of the North German Confederation, and for the lower chamber of the federal parliament of Germany from 1871 to 1945.
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The Japanese diet was established as the national legislature in 1889. Until 1947, the upper house (Peers) was appointive, the lower (Representatives) elected. Its powers were negative: no bill could become law without its approval, except in an emergency; the government could function with last year's budget if the current one was not approved; legislation was initiated by the executive. After 1947, the upper house was made elective (Councillors). Suffrage became universal, and the lower house gained precedence over the selection of the prime minister, budgets, and treaties; it can override the upper house on bills with a two-thirds majority. Most legislation is initiated by the cabinet. Since 1947 the Japanese diet, once peripheral, is central to Japan's politics; see JapanJapan
, Jap. Nihon or Nippon, country (2005 est. pop. 127,417,000), 145,833 sq mi (377,835 sq km), occupying an archipelago off the coast of E Asia. The capital is Tokyo, which, along with neighboring Yokohama, forms the world's most populous metropolitan region.
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, under Government and Politics.


food and drink regularly consumed for nourishment. Nutritionists generally recommend eating a wide variety of foods; however, some groups of people survive on a very limited diet. The traditional Eskimo diet, for example, depended heavily on meat, but Eskimos ate nearly all of the animal; organ meats are rich in vitamins and minerals. Vegetarians exclude meat (and sometimes by extension dairy products) from their diet, often for philosophical reasons. Others exclude only red meat, but eat poultry and dairy products. To maintain a healthy diet, vegetarians need to eat a wide variety of plants whose nutrients complement each other, providing a balance of amino acids and vitamins.

Cultural, Regional, and Practical Factors

Until the advent of refrigerationrefrigeration,
process for drawing heat from substances to lower their temperature, often for purposes of preservation. Refrigeration in its modern, portable form also depends on insulating materials that are thin yet effective.
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, the most important factor in a person's diet was availability; diets varied according to animal migrations and the growing seasons of fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Another factor in food selection can be religion. Muslims, for example, are forbidden to drink alcohol.

Diets vary throughout the world. North Africa, with many Muslims, and the Middle East have similar diets. A starchy food (see starchstarch,
white, odorless, tasteless, carbohydrate powder. It plays a vital role in the biochemistry of both plants and animals and has important commercial uses. In green plants starch is produced by photosynthesis; it is one of the chief forms in which plants store food.
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), such as rice, boiled and pounded yam mush, or cassava, is often accompanied by a spicy stew of fish or chicken with vegetables. Other popular dishes include curries, kebabs (marinated meat threaded on a stick and roasted), couscous (steamed wheat semolina), falafel (a spiced fritter), and yogurt. Many Asian diets are based on rice, which is often served with bite-size vegetables and meats accompanied by spicy seasoning. In Europe, bread is often the main starch, but Italy is noted for pastapasta,
generic name for thin pieces of hardened, unleavened dough that are molded into various shapes and boiled, not baked. Pasta is commonly associated with Italian cuisine, though similar wheat flour and rice flour pastas, usually called noodles, have been known in Asia for a
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, a nutritious noodle made from wheat and usually topped with a sauce, such as a small serving of cooked tomatoes garnished with cheese. In Scandinavia, fish in general, and herring in particular, are main staples of the diet.

Food has always been subject to cross-cultural influences, often as a result of colonization and migration of people. Thus, French influences can be seen throughout Asia, particularly in Japan and Indochina; Dutch influences in Indonesia and South Africa; and Indian influences throughout the Commonwealth of Nations. Certain foods, such as dumplings, are found in slightly different forms in all cultures. North American cuisine is an amalgam of Native American foods, such as corn-on-the-cob, and immigrant cuisines, including that of Africans.

Diet in the Twentieth Century

In the 20th cent. diets have been transformed by refrigeration, improved and faster transportation, advances in food preservationfood preservation,
methods of preparing food so that it can be stored for future use. Because most foods remain edible for only a brief period of time, people since the earliest ages have experimented with methods for successful food preservation.
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, and new farming methods that prolong the growing season and increase the yield per acre. As a result, foods are available more regularly, items purchased in one season can be frozen and consumed in another, and prices have become more competitive. After World War II, increased advertising, particularly on television, and the growing number of households in which all adults are employed, contributed to an increased consumption of unhealthy fast foods. Efforts in the 1980s and 90s by health experts to educate the public about the importance of a healthy diet has had some impact. People are eating more fruits, grains, and vegetables, and less red meat, and are aware of the need to control their weight. The latter has given rise to many ineffective, and sometimes dangerous, fad diets that do not provide all of the necessary daily nutrients. Successful weight control requires a carefully planned regimen of exercise combined with a diet based on the nutritionnutrition,
study of the materials that nourish an organism and of the manner in which the separate components are used for maintenance, repair, growth, and reproduction. Nutrition is achieved in various ways by different forms of life.
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 information supplied by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's Food Guide Pyramid (see food pyramidfood pyramid
or Food Guide Pyramid,
diagram used in nutrition education that fits food groups into a triangle and notes that, for a healthful diet, those at the base should be eaten more frequently than those at the top.
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See D. and P. Von Welanetz, The Von Welanetz Guide to Ethnic Ingredients (1982); J. Newman, Melting Pot: An Annotated Bibliography and Guide to Food and Nutrition Information for Ethnic Groups in America (1986); S. Quandt and C. Ritenbaugh, Training Manual in Nutritional Anthropology (1986); B. Griggs, The Food Factor: An Account of the Nutrition Revolution (1988).



a specially planned nutritional regimen with respect to quantity, chemical composition, physical properties, culinary processing, and intervals of food ingestion. The nutritional regimen of a healthy individual that meets the requirements of his occupation, sex, age, and so forth (a rational diet) is the subject of study of nutritional hygiene. Dietetics, the science of therapeutic nutrition, is concerned with the development and prescription of diets for sick individuals. The planning of a diet takes into account the functional, pathomorphological, metabolic, enzymic, and other disturbances in the human organism. A properly selected diet creates the most favorable background for the use of various treatments, reinforces the effects of these treatments, or exerts a therapeutic effect. The prophylactic significance of diet is that it deters acute diseases from becoming chronic ones.


Pokrovskii, A. A. Besedy o pitanii. Moscow, 1968.
Diet for animals is the feeding regimen for a sick animal. Prescription of a diet takes into account the diagnosis and course of the disease, the state of the sick animal, and its age, sex, breed, and productivity. The feed rations of a sick animal must include high-quality, easily digestible feeds with a complete complement of the necessary nutrients. When there is a vitamin deficiency in the rations of herbivorous animals, they are given hay and meal of leguminous grasses, mixed silage, sprouted grain, infusion of coniferous needles, and nutritional yeasts. Carnivorous animals in the same situation are given milk, fresh meat, fish, liver, and eggs. When there is a deficiency or an incorrect proportion of macroelements and microelements, appropriate mineral supplements manufactured in the form of salt pellets or mixed feeds are introduced. Sometimes certain feeds are limited in the rations or are subjected to special processing (pulverization, steaming, fermentation).


Dmitrochenko, A. P., and P. D. Pshenichnyi. Kormlenie se’skokhoziaistvennykh zhivotnykh. Leningrad, 1964.
Vnutrennie nezaraznye bolezni sel’skokhoziaistvennykh zhivotnykh, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1964.


The food or drink regularly consumed.
Food prescribed, regulated, or restricted as to kind and amount, for therapeutic or other purpose.


a. a specific allowance or selection of food, esp prescribed to control weight or in disorders in which certain foods are contraindicated
b. (as modifier): a diet bread


1. Politics a legislative assembly in various countries, such as Japan
2. History the assembly of the estates of the Holy Roman Empire
3. Scots law
a. the date fixed by a court for hearing a case
b. a single session of a court
References in periodicals archive ?
Then along came the new DASH diet, and options for lowering blood pressure suddenly got better and tastier.
While the traditional DASH diet includes chicken and fish, our research suggests that lean pork may also be a part of this healthy eating pattern," said study lead author Dr.
Those on the DASH diet increased their intake of fruits and vegetables by an average of 3 servings per day.
Those participants with the greatest adherence to the DASH diet had a 51 percent reduced risk of heart failure compared to those in had the least adherence to the diet.
A DASH diet is built around vegetables, fruit, low-fat dairy, and unsaturated fat instead of added sugars, refined starches, and saturated fat (see "What to Eat").
The DASH diet, which was formulated by a branch of the NIH (National Institutes of Health) suggests that Americans eat more foods high in potassium and fewer foods high in sodium, among other recommendations.
DASH diet emphasizes increased intake of low-fat dairy products, fish, chicken, and lean meats, and nuts, fruits, whole grains, vegetables, and legumes.
Hinderliter and his associates randomly assigned the patients to three treatment groups: 46 went on a diet modeled on the one used in the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study, which included a high intake of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products, but which was not designed to result in weight loss; 49 patients began the DASH diet with a reduced calorie level designed to produce weight loss, plus a cognitive-behavioral weight-management program, and an exercise program that included three sessions a week of supervised exercise; and 49 control patients continued their usual care.
This is presumably because the DASH diet is often presented with little guidance or endorsement.
I am interested in knowing more about the DASH diet mentioned in the March/April 2002 "Medical Mailbox.
The low-salt, low-fat DASH diet failed to remedy the blunting of the nocturnal decline in blood pressure that has been observed in blacks, Dr.
A study, conducted at the Baylor College of Medicine and presented at this week's Experimental Biology Meeting, found that participants who drank at least 8-ounces of low sodium vegetable juice as part of a calorie-controlled DASH diet lost four pounds over 12 weeks, while those who followed the same diet but drank no juice lost one pound.