February 21st, 2018

What’s Up Doc?: Eat right and eat less to live a healthy long life

By Medicine Hat News on February 6, 2018.

“Diet-related risks combined with physical inactivity are estimated to causenearly one in five deathsworldwide,” says an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ December 13, 2017 – New ammunition in the fight to label unhealthy foods).

Since 20 per cent of the deaths are related to what we eat, there is an urgent need to put warning labels on the packages containing foods high in sugar, salt and fat.

Unhealthy eating causes chronic diseases. This impacts on mortality and morbidity. It also has a large bearing on the economy in terms of direct health care costs and indirect costs, such as those related to loss of productivity.

When you think about eating sugar, salt and fat you should think about chronic non-communicable diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

The incidence of type 2 diabetes continues to rise and heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in Canada. With high rates of obesity and hypertension, as well as an aging Canadian population, the impact of chronic diseases is likely to continue to increase unless action is taken to reduce modifiable risk factors.

Consuming poor unhealthy diet costs taxpayers $26.7 billion annually. That is lot of money. We can use that kind of money to improve the quality of our health and other social needs of the population.

If you are obese then eat healthy and try to lose one pound a week or a month. As they say slow and steady wins the race. If you lose your weight slowly then you can maintain the loss.

There are hundreds of diet plans in the market. You just have to find one and stick to it. I looked at the Mayo Clinic diet. That makes sense to me. The Mayo Clinic Diet is the official diet developed by the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. It focuses not just on what you eat and how much you weigh but also on your overall health and lifestyle.

If you follow Mayo Clinic diet then you can drop one to two pounds a week until you reach your goal. Then you follow a program to maintain your weight.

The Mayo Clinic diet gives you lots of food choices within six food groups:

1. Fruits

2. Vegetables

3. Whole grains

4. Lean proteins such as beans and fish

5. Unsaturated fats such as olive oil and nuts

6. Sweets, in small amounts

The global plan is to begin work on global standards for front-of-package nutrition labeling, with new guidelines expected in the next three to five years. The labels on the package will warn consumers about unhealthy foods and ingredients.

The global talks come at a crucial time for Canada, which is poised to announce draft-warning labels for foods that contain more than 15 per cent of the daily value for sugar, sodium or saturated fat.

Do warning labels work? Surveys show that the warnings influenced more than 91 per cent of consumers, and food companies reformulated 18 per cent of products to avoid the labels.

Some have raised concerns about the government’s narrow focus on sugar, sodium and saturated fat. Four times as many nutrition-related deaths are linked to diets low in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other ingredients, says the CMAJ article.

Just follow a simple principal — eat right and eat less.

Dr. Bharwani is a general surgeon, freelance writer, photographer and author of A Doctor’s Journey and Doctor B’s Eight Steps to Wellness. His latest book is available at Shoppers Drug Mart and Coles Book Store (Medicine Hat Mall), and http://www.nbharwani.com. You can discuss this article and other articles on his website: nbharwani.com and sign up for RSS feed, Twitter or get on the email list.

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