MANILA, Philippines – Eating healthy is often a staple in most people’s New Year’s resolutions. There’s nothing like the promise of finally bidding junk foods and drive-thrus goodbye.
Processed food products are, however, only part of the reason people suffer from obesity and chronic diseases such as hypertension or diabetes, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“More often than not, the problem really is the choice people make or their unhealthy eating habits,” FDA Acting Director-General Kenneth Hartigan-Go said in an advisory on Tuesday, January 7.
And there are 4 ways to start or sustain healthy eating habits, says the FDA:
1. Sugar, fat, and calories per se are not bad.
Some processed foods are high in sugar, fat, or caloric content – but so does some fresh foods. Just remember that sugar or fat can increase weight when the caloric intake from sugar or fat is more than what the body needs.
“They should watch out for calories to manage their body weight. They should watch out for sodium and cholesterol to reduce the risk of hypertension. Lastly, they should watch out for sugar levels in their food to prevent acquired diabetes,” Hartigan-Go said.
2. Never be influenced by advertisements or promotional gimmicks.
Read the product nutritional label or nutrient content on the label. Processed food products with “FDA-registered” labels indicate the ingredients and their nutrition facts to guide consumers when choosing their food. Consumers should take note of the following information that can help reduce nutritional health risks:
- number of calories per serving
- number of grams of fat
- level of sodium added
- level of cholesterol
- sugar content
It’s easy to dismiss processed food products altogether, but the FDA said some of these are actually good sources of other micronutrients, such as calcium or potassium, that are also important in maintaining good health.
In addition, there are reasons why products are processed and pre-packaged by food manufacturers:
- to store food longer or increase their shelf life
- to make it more palatable or tastier
- to prevent food from spoiling
3. Don’t deprive yourself of your favorite food; just watch the serving.
Eat enough rice, bread, fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, and fruits.
Because sodium, cholesterol and even sugar are all part of a healthy person’s normal diet, limiting food intake is better than eliminating them.
Hartigan-Go said, “People should watch out for serving sizes rather than deprive themselves of their favorite food or buy substitutes that are expensive.”
4. Drink enough water.
It’s not just for quenching your thirst, but to help in proper metabolism and to promote excretion of wastes from the body.
It’s an advice that is never missing, whether from your doctor or your health expert friend, and rightly so because of the health benefits. For one, Abby Phon of MindBodyGreen.com said drinking water can help you cross another one of your resolutions: losing weight. (READ: 5 ways to lose holiday weight)
According to her, it is a natural appetite suppressant that helps reduce hunger and helps you eat less by filling up your stomach before meals. It also removes by-products of fat, and has absolutely no calories in it. (READ: 10 reasons to drink (lots of) water) – Rappler.com
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