Eating too much of the wrong foods and gaining too much weight is now more dangerous than smoking, according to health experts.
Making better food choices could prevent many diseases. Even so, many people are unsure about what makes a healthy diet.
In response to this, the World Health Organization (WHO) has released new guidelines on what we should eat.
Professor Sir Jim Mann and Dr. Andrew Reynolds from New Zealand’s Healthier Lives–He Oranga Hauora National Science Challenge have contributed to these new rules.
They have taken into account the latest research from around the world.
Limiting Fat Intake
The WHO’s new guidelines suggest that adults should get no more than 30% of their daily energy from fats. Saturated fats, which are mostly found in meat, dairy, and coconut products, should make up no more than 10% of that energy.
Trans fats, which are often found in processed foods, should make up less than 1%.
This advice is important because fat contains over twice the amount of energy as the same amount of protein or carbs. Eating too much fat can therefore lead to weight gain.
Professor Mann believes that this advice is particularly important for New Zealanders, who currently eat more fat than the recommended amounts.
The Importance of Quality Carbs
The WHO also advises people to get between 40% and 70% of their daily energy from carbs. But not all carbs are created equal.
Healthy carbs come from whole grains, vegetables, whole fruits and pulses like beans, chickpeas, and lentils.
According to Dr. Reynolds, we need to focus on reducing the amount of sugar we eat while increasing the amount of fiber.
The WHO suggests that adults should eat at least 25 grams of fiber per day. However, the average person in New Zealand currently eats less than 20 grams per day.
Eating more fiber can have significant health benefits. For instance, eating an extra 8 grams of fiber per day can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease by 15%.
The Need for a National Food Strategy
Even with these new guidelines, Professor Mann notes that not everyone in New Zealand has access to affordable, healthy food.
He believes that a National Food Strategy for Aotearoa New Zealand is urgently needed. This would ensure that everyone has access to healthy food that is good for the environment and the climate.
In summary, eating less fat and more quality carbs can have significant health benefits. The WHO’s new dietary guidelines provide a roadmap for healthier eating.
However, more needs to be done to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, healthy food.
If you care about nutrition, please read studies about how the Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease.
For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies that olive oil may help you live longer, and vitamin D could help lower the risk of autoimmune diseases.
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