Nutrition

Intindihin ang laman ng mga Food Labels para sa kalusugan

One of the ways on how we can effectively take care of our health is to keep watch of the calories and nutrients from the food we eat.

With this, pwede natin tingnan at gamitin ang information sa mga nutrition labels to evaluate the nutritional value of certain foods.

Ito ang isang example ng isang nutrition label.  

Madalas nating makita ito sa likod ng mga common food products na nabibili natin sa mga tindahan o grocery store.

Pwede nating paghati-hatiin ang parte nito ito 4 main groups.

The first part is usually on the topmost portion.  Dito natin makikita yung tinatawag natin na portion information.  Kapag tumitingin tayo sa mga food labels, ang number of servings ang una nating iche-check. 

The serving size refers to the amount that people typically eat or drink.  Bigyan ng kaukulang attention ang size of the serving.  Lalo na kung ilang serving ang meron sa isang food pack.  Baka kasi kapag naubos ang laman ng isang pakete, 2 to 3 servings na pala ang nakain natin.

The next part is the amount of calories.  Kapag sinabing calories, eto yung how much energy we get from one serving of the food.  Halimbawa, kung ang isang serving ng lasagna ay 280 calories. At kung ang nakalagay sa pakete ay 4 servings.  Kung inubos natin ang laman ng food pack, 280 calories x 4.. Bale 1120 calories na kaagad yun.

Tandaan natin na ang amount of servings na nako-consume natin determines the number of calories sa kinakain natin.   Ang sobrang dami ng calories kada araw na nakukuha natin ay maaring maging sanhi ng overweight o obesity.

The third part of the nutrition label ay yung information on the different nutrients.  Maraming impormasyon ang nakalagay dito.. Pero ang importante is to focus on the nutrients that we should get less and more of.

Nutrients that we should get less of are: SATURATED FATS, SODIUM, and ADDED SUGARS.  Ang pagkosumo ng pagkain na maraming saturated fats at sodium ay nali-link sa pagkakaroon ng mga karamdaman katulad ng heart disease at hypertension.  

Samantala, kapag tumataas ang ating comsumption ng added sugars, mahihirapan tayo na makuha ng sapat ang ibang nutrients nang hindi lumalampas sa ating caloric requirement.

Nutrients that we should get more of are: DIETARY FIBER, Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron, and Potassium.  Ang pagkonsumo ng mga pagkaing mataas sa dietary fiber ay nakakatulong sa regular na pag dumi, pagbaba ng blood sugar levels at cholesterol, at pagbabawas ng ating caloric intake.

Ang mga pagkain naman na mataas sa vitamin D, calcium, iron, at potassium ay makatutulong sa pagbaba ng risk natin laban sa osteoporosis, anemia, at high blood pressure.

The next part is the % Daily Value.

This tells us how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to the daily diet.  Dine-determine nito kung ang isang serving ng pagkain ay mataas o mababa sa nutrient na iyon.

Ang general guide natin ay kapag 5% or less ang daily value, considered na mababa iyon.  Kung ang daily value ng isang nutrient ay 20% or more, considered na mataas na iyon.

Tulad nang nasabi natin earlier, pumili tayo ng mga pagkain na mataas ang %DV sa dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium, iron, at potassium. At mababang %DV naman sa saturated fats, sodium at added sugars.

Sana makatulong ang input na ito sa pag iintindi ng mga food labels at sa paggabay sa pagpili na masusustansyang mga pagkain para sa ating kalusugan.

Reflecting on our daily eating habits

When it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, importante na i-assess natin on a regular basis ang ating eating habits.

It all starts with reflection.  Reflecting the kinds of food we are eating gives us an idea of the quality of the calories we are consuming, including how and when we eat them.

In order to do this, pwede tayong gumawa ng listahan ng ating eating habits kahit for a few days. The food diary may help uncover yung mga habits natin sa pagkain na maaring conscious tayo of doing them or not.

Example of a Food Diary (image courtesy of http://www.myria.com)

Isusulat natin sa food diary kung ano ang kinakain natin at anong oras tayo napapakain.  

Mas maganda na include kung ano ang ating damdamin when we were eating.  Ask ourself, how were we feeling when we decided to eat.  Pagod ba, o nalulungkot, o stressed — kaya ba tayo kumain ?

Highlight natin o markahan natin yung mga habits na pwedeng humantong sa overeating.  

Tingnan natin yung mga karaniwang “cues” na nagti-trigger kung bakit napapakain tayo ng marami na kahit hindi tayo gutom. Pwede itong environmental cues (baka napapadaan tayo sa donut store, o milktea shop kaya napapabili tayo nang di oras); o isang emotional state (maaring na depress o nalungkot).

Being aware of the cues puts our mind on a prepared state next time we are in the same situation. Makakagawa tayo ngayon ng paraan para hindi maulit ito.

Ask ourself these questions: Ano ang pwede ko gawin to avoid the cue or the situation? Baka pwedeng dumaan ng ibang ruta para maiwasan si milktea store.

Para sa mga instances na unavoidable, meron ba akong magagawa differently para maging healthier ang habit? Baka pwedeng mag-fruit na lang instead of ice cream kapag nag crave ng matamis. Or baka pwedeng kumain ka na muna ng konti sa bahay bago pumunta sa handaan o buffet para hindi masyado mapakain ng marami.

Review natin ang food diary  on a regular basis — maaaring nating gawin ito every night bago matulog, or weekend kapag hindi masyado busy.  

Through this process of repeated reflection with the food diary, we can develop better and healthier eating habits for our health.  

Going “Meat-Lite”

Alam naman natin na batay sa mga pag-aaral, ang pagkakaroon ng sobrang taba sa ating tiyan ay sanhi ng hindi balanseng diet. Karaniwan, ito ay dahil sa pagkain ng sobrang saturated fat na nanggagaling sa taba ng hayop — o karne.

Ang pagkain na sobra sa saturated fat ang tinuturing na isa sa mga dahilan ng pagkakaroon ng mga chronic illnesses katulad ng alta presyon, diabetes, sakit sa puso at stroke. Ang pag-iwas sa ito ay makatutulong sa pagbawas sa “risk” sa pagkakaroon ng mga ganitong sakit.

Dahilan dito, nauuso ngayon ang iilang mga diet na walang lamang karne o meat products. Kabilang sa mga tawag dito ay “vegan diet”, vegetarian diet, o “plant-based diet”. Bagamat makakatulong ito sa pagbawas ng saturated fat sa katawan, hindi lahat ng tao ay handa sa ganitong pamamaraan ng pagkain.

Ang pagkain ng “meat-lite” ay transition mula sa usual na diet tungo sa isang diet na mababa o walang meat products. May mga paraan kung paano gawing “meat-lite” ang diet ninyo.

Effective Meal Planning may help prevent Obesity and Chronic Illness in the Young

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The issue of excessive weight gain is not only a growing problem of adults.  In today’s world, sedentary lifestyles have become increasingly common even in the young.  Instead of being in playgrounds or other activity areas, children mostly stay at home with their computers and tablets.  The influx of Western and instant cuisine also play a role in the diet of children.  Families are more likely seen eating in fast foods during weekends and holidays rather than enjoying home cooked meals.

With the changing lifestyle patterns also comes the increasing incidence of chronic illness such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.  Now, it is not uncommon to see many young people suffering from these illnesses as well.

The position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is that interventions be made as early as the pre-school and school age so as to prevent the onset of chronic illnesses.  This may be achieved with awareness of healthy eating practices and maintaining healthy weights for kids.

MyPlate is a visual guide originally made by the US Department of Agriculture to remind families on how much of which should be present in the feeding plates of children.  A similar device has been adapted for Filipinos to make it applicable in the local setting and is named “Pinggang Pinoy“.

In the plate graphic, half of the plate should comprise vegetables and fruits during meals.  Vegetables comprises a majority of this portion.  Children are encouraged to eat more dark-green, red and orange vegetables.  The greater in the variation and contrast in colors can also aid in attracting kids in eating vegetables.

Fruits make up the other portion of the first half in MyPlate.  Pears, oranges, berries, watermelon, peaches and raisins are some examples that can be served on to the plates of kids.  Fruit juices may also substitute during occasions but only if 100% juice is served (and not juice concentrate which contains mostly table sugar).

A quarter of the plate should comprise healthy proteins.  Recommended are healthier sources such as fish, beans and peas.

The last quarter of the plate should be filled up with grains – preferably whole grains.  As such, kids are encouraged to eat oatmeal, whole-wheat breads, tortillas or brown rice more often.

To supplement their meals, children are also encouraged to take dairy in their meals.  This may come in the form of low-fat milk, cheese, or yogurt for stronger teeth and bones.

Exercise should come in the form of play or any suitable physical activity for at least 60 minutes daily.

The way for people to adapt to healthy lifestyles that persist is to imbibe them early.  Encouraging healthy eating using MyPlate or Pinggang Pinoy is one strategy that may help ensure this.

 

References:

Ogata, B. N and Hayes D.  Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Nutrition Guidance for Health Children Ages 2 to 11 Years.  Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2014-08-01, Volume 114, Issue 8, Pages 1257-1276