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What is the difference between the adjective "balanced" and "well-balanced".

For example,

"Many families do not realize the importance of a well-balanced diet."

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'Well balanced' doesn't really have any greater meaning other than the fact that adding 'well' as an adverb to any suitable verb suggests it has been done in a good manner, or done properly. Cambridge dictionary defines 'well-balanced' as nicely or evenly balanced, arranged, or regulated.

It could be argued that 'well-balanced' doesn't really mean any more than just 'balanced'. Something is either balanced (in a state of balance), or it is not. If you think about the most literal use of 'balance' - a pair of scales must have precisely the same weight on either side to be balanced. Balance is an absolute, there are no gradations. Further, the associated phrase 'carefully balanced' could also be ambiguous as it could describe something that has been balanced in such a way that makes it more stable, or something so precisely balanced that it could easily be knocked off balance.

I suspect that 'well-balanced diet' is just an excuse to bring the word 'well' (which can also refer to wellness, ie physical health) alongside the word 'diet' to suggest that you can eat yourself to good health. 'Eating well' also means making good choices and eating a balanced variety of foods, so it could be a bringing together of these two phrases.

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