Diet advice

The salt and sodium recommendations in this interview are sound. Most of the other advice is iffy.



Limit your salt and sugar intake
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Myanmar Times
30 January 2018

Following are some suggestions and recommendations given by Nutrition Specialist Dr Daw Win Win Myint during an exclusive interview last week with The Myanmar Times:

The Myanmar Times: How many kinds of nutrition are there?

Dr Daw Win Win Myint: There are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water. One needs to balance and take all of them.

MT: How important is it to have meals at a regular time?

DWWM: It’s very important to have meals at the right time. Also, it is necessary to have a correct biological rhythm and balanced nutritional calories. Breakfast should be taken at 8am, lunch at noon, and dinner at 6pm.

MT: Any suggestions which food should be taken first and how?

DWWM: Soup should be taken first. Next should be fried and boiled vegetables. Then comes meat and fish, and finally, ten spoons of rice. We have to keep room for a kind of fruit. Eating fruits is encouraged. Bananas, papayas and guavas are among those fruits that are not expensive.

MT: What amount of meals should Myanmar people take?

DWWM: Myanmar people take three meals a day. I would like them to divide their meals [into smaller portions]. It’s not advisable to have two or three full plates of food during a meal. If food on a plate is portioned, out of four parts, rice should be one, meat should be another, and the remainder two should be vegetables.

MT: How much calories does a person need?

DWWM: It depends on being a male or female, one’s age and the lifestyle one pursues. For an active average person, 2000 calories are needed per day. If an office employee sitting most of the time, it’s 1800 calories for male and 1400 for females. 2500 calories are needed for those doing hard labor.

Age-wise, for females between ages 20 and 30, 1600 calories are needed, for males, it’s 1800; for females between ages 30 and 40, 1600, for males 1800; for females between ages 40 and 50, 1200 to 1400, for males 1400 to 1600; for females between ages 50 and 60, 1200 to 1400, for males 1400 to 1600; for females above age 60, 1200 to 1300, and for males 1200 to 1400.

MT: How much salt, sugar, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and curry powder does a person should or should not take each day?

DWWM: A person should not take more than one teaspoon of salt or two teaspoons of sugar. For a family of five, not more than two teaspoons of MSG and curry powder should be taken.

MT: How should satisfying one’s taste buds and keeping good health be balanced?

DWWM: Myanmar people say it’s hard to lessen salt intake as the tongue’s habit has been spoilt. The truth is, if the habit was due to taking salty food for a long period, be patient and try taking food with less salt for seven to 10 days. Later, one will get used to taking less salt. This is because during that period of days, new taste buds develop which adapt to the new taste.

MT: What should be done on excessive consumption of fats and ngapi yay (boiled liquid fish paste)?

DWWM: Myanmar people’s fat intake should be lessened. Instead of eating gravy, only pieces of chicken or pork should be eaten. It’s not an issue for kids aged between 10 and 15 eating gravy, but persons older than that should refrain from doing so. The habit of parents’ mixing gravy with rice and feeding their kids should be discouraged. If ngapi yay is taken with a lot of vegetables, it won’t create a problem. But it should not be mixed with rice and consumed. Due to excessive intake of fats and salty foods, there are occurrences of high blood pressure and paralysis in persons as young as over 30 and 40.

MT: What are your views on food consumption in Japan, India or Korea?

DWWM: In Japan, people consume less fat and more fish, and so their food intake is the healthiest. In Korea, people eat a lot of meat and steak, which leads to being afflicted with cancer. The kimchi [made from salted and fermented vegetables] that they consume may spur germs increase in the gastro-intestinal tract, resulting in stomach cancer. There are less cases of cancer in India, as their people consume more vegetarian dishes, but they are more prone to diabetes due to intake of lots of traditional sweets.


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