Most of us are receive conflicting messages though TV, Radio and the Internet as to what is considered good nutrition with advertisers pushing their products as the most nutritious food products with extra-ordinary health benefits.
The Department of Health in South Africa has released nutritional guidelines based on the complexity of nutrition-health relationships geared towards catering to the different ethnic population in South Africa with the goal of having one set of guidelines for all. South Africa is a multi-cultural society with eclectic ethnic influences and the Department of Health has tried to meet the needs of an overall population base to prevent malnutrition with positive, practical, affordable, sustainable and culturally sensitive food-based dietary guidelines, (FBDGs), which are extra-ordinarily simple.
The nutritional guidelines in 10 short points emphasize eating in moderation, eating a diversity of food, exercise and well balanced meals with starch as the staple of most meals, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, eating dry beans, peas, lentils and soya, eat fish, chicken, milk and eggs, eating fats sparingly, using salt sparingly, drinking lots of clean, safe water, and drink alcohol sensibly and specifying a recommended number of servings per day as detailed in, (Table 1).
Table 1. Recommended Number of Servings per day
|Children >7-13 years||Adolescents14-25 years||Adults25-60 years||Elderly people >60 years||Serving Definition|
|Starchy foods||6-8 servings||9-11 servings||6-8 servings||6-8 servings|
|Fruits and Vegetables||5 servings||5 servings||5 servings||5 servings||One serving = 1 medium fruit (± size of tennis ball)½ cup fruit or vegetables|
|Chicken, meat fish, eggs;And/or
Dry beans, split peas,
lentils and Soya
|Servings 2 -3500-750ml
|servings 2 -3250ml-500ml
|Servings 2 -3250ml
|Servings 2 -3250ml
|One serving = one cupof cooked dry beans, split
peas, lentils or soya.)
One serving = 75 -100g cooked chicken, fish, meat
(without bone); 150g Soya burger; 2 eggs;
4 tablespoons peanut butter; 2/3 – 1 cup nuts.
1 cup milk or yoghurt; or 40-50 g cheese.
Now what does it mean to eat fats sparingly?
There are two types of fats, unsaturated and saturatedand each type has an impact on your health.
Which fats and oils are the best choices?
Mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats are the best choices for arteries and hearts.
- Vegetable oil (in small amounts), such as olive, canola and sunflower oil.
- Soft ‘tub’ margarine (thinly spread).
- Oily fish, such as pilchards, tuna, sardines, mackerel, salmon. These fish types supply the body with the essential omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Nuts, unsalted peanuts and avocado.
Which fats and oils are not good choices?
The fats and oils that contain saturated fatty acids.
- Red meat and meat dripping, sausages and processed meats Chicken skin Lard, butter and ghee
- White cooking fat
- Hardened vegetable oils found in many commercially baked, fried and snack foods, shortenings and some margarines, (especially brick margarine)
- Coconut oil and palm kernel oil
- Coffee creamers
- Tea whiteners
- Full cream milk and full cream cheese such as cheddar and gouda
- Mayonnaise and full cream salad dressings
- Fried foods
South Africa’s nutritional guidelines speak to applying grass roots common sense standards rather than the commercialized food industries perspective as to what is considered healthy nutrition.
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