Wednesday February 6, 2013
Eating patterns and lifestyles
IT is difficult nowadays to prescribe a healthy diet that can generally cover everyone.
When advise is given by the Health Ministry, it is generally with good intentions. However, one size does not fit all.
With every festive season, everyone tends to over-indulge in their favourite snacks and drinks.
Traditional lunar new year cookies and snacks always tend to be on the sugary side and people will overindulge in their favourite food when they return to their hometowns.
Recently, even the seemingly innocuous daily bread and the much advocated healthy grain diet have been plastered with grave doubts by Dr William Davies, a cardiologist from the United States, in his book Wheat Belly.
Dr Davies says that the traditional wheat grown in the days of old have been genetically modified to such an extent that what we now consume is a harmful mutant strain totally transformed from the proto-type found in ancient Egypt or China.
He argues that a lot of our health problems could actually be caused by the daily consumption of wheat products and grains.
Supposedly, the healthy multi-grain bread in our usual morning breakfast toast and biscuits are actually doing us harm.
Two slices of whole wheat bread, Dr Davies contends, will raise the blood sugar higher than six teaspoons of sugar.
Wheat, he adds, contain a stimulant that will increase your appetite and lead to a gain in weight eventually.
Indeed, could the well intentioned diet of healthy bread and multi-grain snacks made of wholesome wheat be the source of our health malaise.
Dr Davies claims many of his patients weight gain, arthritis, painful joints and irritable bowel syndromes and colic problems went away after they had stopped consuming wheat.
Nowadays even the traditional animal fats or coconut oil used by our grandmothers in cooking have been replaced by supposedly healthy corn, vegetable or canola oil as widely claimed by the multi-national manufacturers of these cooking oil.
Research funded by these manufacturers will invariably highlight the benefits of these cooking oils and is akin to asking a barber whether we need a haircut.
It is now well documented that oil heated to a high temperature is known to be unstable and can lead to heart diseases and arterial plaque.
The oil we buy in the supermarkets are subjected to high temperatures in the manufacturing process and are also termed as hydrogenated oil.
Meanwhile, the traditional animal fat oil which is more stable or the coconut oil which was self-produced in many homes in the past have been shunned and touted as unhealthy.
At the end of the day, all of us should consume more unprocessed food such as vegetables, meat, eggs and fruits.
Canned and processed food which traditional lunar new year cooking tends to use should now be replaced with fresh produce.
The public’s general health rests with the type of intake of food and cannot be based on any magic formula.
Obesity, heart ailments and other health issues do not happen overnight. It is the result of years of our eating patterns and lifestyles that knowingly or unknowingly, we have brought upon ourselves.
TAN HOCK LIM