Health Promotion & Knowledge Management

Creating Awareness on Health Effects of Fast food

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Healthy Eating

Enjoying a variety of foods from the different groups is the key to healthy eating. Try to:

  • Eat plenty of plant-based foods including vegetables, fruits and legumes and grain based foods (preferably wholegrain), such as bread, pasta, noodles and rice
  • Eat moderate amounts of lean meats, skinless poultry, fish and reduced fat dairy products
  • Replace saturated fat with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated oils and fats

The most up-to-date research suggests that you can build a healthy and balanced diet by choosing your food as if you are building a Food Pyramid.

What is The Healthy Eating Pyramid?

It uses the idea of food groups and organises these according to the energy and the nutrients that they supply. It shows the proportions of one group of foods to another for our total food intake

The Healthy Eating Pyramid is a food selection guide developed by the Australian Nutrition Foundation Inc. (Nutrition Australia)

The base of the pyramid includes all plant foods: vegetables, fruits, nuts, dried peas, beans and lentils, breads and cereals (preferably wholegrain). These foods contain many different nutrients and should make up most of the food that we eat ~ they are called the eat-most foods. Eating a variety of these foods each day should provide good amounts of energy from carbohydrate, as well as protein, vitamins and dietary fibre. In other words these foods are nutrient dense. Alongside the base is the symbol for water to encourage water consumption. 6-8 glasses each day is the recommendation. Children should take about 4-5 glasses of water per day.

Foods in the middle of the pyramid include fish, lean meat, eggs, chicken (without skin), milk, cheese and yoghurt. These foods are called eat-moderately foods. Eating a serving or two of some foods from this section of the Healthy Eating Pyramid should help to provide protein, minerals (especially iron and calcium) and B vitamins.

Foods on the top of the pyramid, eat in small amounts foods, should be taken in small amount because they are lack of nutrients for growth, good health and quick energy. Small amounts of fats, oils and sugar should be appropriate as large amounts of them cause imbalance food intake. The pyramid also suggests that salt should not be added to foods.

Can I still eat fast foods?

Yes, of course. According to Health Department of Western Australia (HDWA) in Nutrition and Physical Activity Program, you can still eat takeaway meal with recommendation of MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICES. Instead of eating high fat content fast foods, you can choose the one which low in fat. Below is the suggested serving of low-fat choices of takeaway meal provided by HDWA.

Choices Fast foods HIGH FAT CHOICE LOW FAT CHOICE (THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR YOU!)
Burgers
  • Fried patties
  • Double beef burger
  • Extra cheese, bacon,egg
  • Mayonnaise
  • Grilled patties
  • Beef or cheese or egg –not all three
  • Smaller burgers
  • Extra salad

Pizza
  • Deep pan pizza
  • More than one or two high fat toppings: salami; sausage; bacon; cheese; olives; minced beef; ham; oil-packed anchovies.
  • Thin and crispy bases
  • Include more of these toppings: tomato; capsicum; onion; pineapple; mushrooms; asparagus; tuna.
Sandwiches
  • Fried meat, fish or chicken
  • Fatty luncheon meats, salamis and polony
  • Mayonnaise or creamed fillings
  • Jaffles

  • Low-fat cheese or lean meat or egg
  • Extra salad
  • No butter or margarine
  • Wholemeal or wholegrain bread or rolls
Chinese takeaway
  • Deep fried or battered meat, chicken or fish
  • Fried rice
  • Fried noodles
  • Spring rolls
  • Prawn cutlets

  • Stir-fries
  • Steamed or BBQ dishes
  • Vegetable dishes
  • Chop suey
  • Lean meat dishes
  • Seafood dishes
  • Steamed rice
  • Noodles
  • Crab, long or chicken and corn soup
Mexican
  • Nachos
  • Dips made with sour cream, cheese, avocado
  • Any dish with added cheese or sour cream
  • Frijoles refritos (refried beans)
  • Taco, burrito or enchilada with chicken, fish, lean beef or beans plus salad
Chicken
  • Fried
  • Battered
  • Crumbed
  • Nuggets or chunks
  • BBQ
  • Rotisserie and remove skin
Meat Pies, Pasties and Sausage Rolls
  • All high-fat

  • Slightly better are vegetarian, wholemeal pies, sausage rolls and pasties
Fried take-away
  • All high-fat
  • Includes deep-fried with batter, crumbed or pastry coated foods, e.g. dim sims, spring rolls, battered fish and sausages
  • Chips
  • None
  • Ask for grilled fish or remove the batter
Lebanese

  • Souvlaki or kebabs with extra cheese, sausage, felafel or hommos

  • Souvlaki or kebabs with plenty of salad
  • Pita or Lebanese bread
  • Tabouleh

Table 1: Recommendation of low-fat choices of fast foods instead of high fat choices.

Sources:

http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/Food_Facts/Fact_Sheets/about%20_the_healthy_eating_pyramid.asphttp://www.heartfoundation.com.au/index.cfm?page=137

Do I need fats in my diet?

Yes, absolutely. Dietary fats are among the important constituent of our daily healthy diet. Eliminating fat completely from one’s diet can lead to an essential fatty acids deficiency with negative health consequences. Other than providing energy, dietary fats also provide important nutrients for our body. Fats absorb and carry fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Fats also regulate the use and production of cholesterol and transport it through the body.

Fats also served as our source of energy and stored in our body as triglycerides that can be found as adipose tissue that cushions our organs, insulates our bodies and stored our energy. Emphasis should be placed on lowering saturated fats consumption and minimizing or eliminating trans fat intake and replacing them with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Diets high in saturated fats and trans fats increase low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol levels and, therefore, the risk of heart disease, whereas most unsaturated fats have harmless or even helpful effects on one’s lipid profile.

Most fatty acids can be made in the body from other fatty acids or from fats and carbohydrates in the diet. However, dietary fat cannot entirely be eliminated because there are two vital polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential and that cannot be manufactured by the body. Therefore, they must be eaten as part of a heart-healthy diet. These two fatty acids are linoleic acid (omega 6 fatty acids) and alpha–linolenic acid (omega 3 fatty acids). A lack of essential fatty acids can lead to medical problems such as high blood pressure (hypertension), hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and heart disease

How much fat should I eat?

Dietary fat is a concentrated source of calories. Calories are unit of heat and energy consumed or stored by our bodies. Dietary fat providing more than twice the energy (calories) found in carbohydrates or proteins. Balance between energy intake and overall energy expenditure is important to avoid excessive weight gain or weight loss. Consuming too much calories than needed by the body whether from carbohydrates, fats or protein will lead to weight gain. Therefore, somebody consumed low fat diet without combining with overall calories control or energy balance can also leads to obesity.

The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) develops recommendations for intake levels of certain nutrients called Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). IOM recommends that total dietary fat intake should consist of 20 to 35 percent of total daily energy (calorie) intake. Saturated fats should be less than 10 percent of total daily calorie intake; polyunsaturated fats should be up to 10 percent of total calorie intake and monounsaturated fats up to 20 percent of total calories. Trans fats should be limited by avoiding foods prepared with partially hydrogenated vegetables oils. The best way of monitoring and limiting trans fat and saturated fat intake is to read food labels and select foods with low amount of these two types of fats.

Why should I increase polyunsaturated fatty acids intake?

We always heard people talking about how important omega-3 fatty acids in our diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are abundant in many cold–water fish, some shellfish, as well as flax seed, canola, soybean oils and walnuts. Omega–3 fatty acids are characterized by the specific locations of their double bonds on the carbon chain. The two most significant acids in this group are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Alpha–linolenic acid (
ALA) is a “less–potent” omega–3 fatty acid found in plants such as flax seed, linseed, canola and soybean oils.
ALA can be converted in the human body to EPA and DHA. EPA is thought to play a crucial role in protecting against
heart disease and also sloe the progression of atherosclerosis, and DHA is important in brain functions.

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