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How healthy is the typical Filipino diet

Many Filipinos don’t get the required nutrients the body needs because they are not eating enough fruits and vegetables, according to a study. 

A 2013 study of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) revealed that the typical Filipino diet is composed of rice, fish and vegetables—with rice taking up the largest portion in the plate. Despite the consumption of vegetables, the study found that it is meager and does not meet the recommended half-plate of fruits and vegetables per meal or at least five to nine servings daily.

Fruits and vegetables are important in the daily food consumption of every individual as they contain a variety of nutrients including vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. The said nutrients are responsible in keeping the body healthy and preventing diseases.

In observance of Nutrition Month this July, vitamin and dietary supplement label Nutrilite and  FNRI discussed the typical Pinoy diet in a bid to raise awareness among Filipinos. 

“For how many years that we’re doing the survey, we noticed that we still haven’t addressed the undernutrition among our children […] and we still have problems with overnutrition among adults,” explained FNRI senior science research specialist Divorah Aguila.

FNRI senior science research specialist Divorah Aguila talks about the typical Filipino diet
Undernutrition is due to insufficient food intake, while overnutrition is the excessive intake of food in unbalanced proportions. 

Aguila explained that undernutrition in the infant stage is high because pregnant and lactating mothers have to feed their children aside from themselves.

Comparing the 2008 and 2013 studies on the subject, FNRI discovered that majority of nutrient consumption went down among those aged 6 months to 5 years old; calorie consumption, on the other hand, increased in the 13 to 15 years old age group. 

Many rice-loving Filipinos don't get the required nutrients the body needs to function well because they are not eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables
Both studies show that only protein and niacin are the nutrients met by Filipino households. FNRI asserted that these are not enough when compared with the required nutrients needed by the body. There is also a drastic decrease in consumption of fruits and vegetables among Filipinos over the years.

“This is not a guarantee that requirements for other food nutrients are met because we have so many food items nowadays that can give us enough calories but nutrient-wise, it’s not nutrient-dense […] It can be calorie-dense but not nutrient-dense, that’s why we have overnutrition among adults,” Aguila said.

In this situation, taking dietary supplements may be helpful to meet the body’s nutritional needs, especially for those leading busy lives.

“If you are to choose just one product under Nutrilite, you have to choose Double X because it already has vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients,” Nutrilite Assistant Product Manager Mia Jamisola told The Standard Life

First introduced in 1948, Nutrilite Double X is the only all-in-one dietary food supplement that contains 11 essential vitamins, nine essential minerals, and 12 phytonutrient-rich plant concentrates from the five different colors of fruits and vegetables.

Double X is recommended for 18 years old and above. To reap the benefits from the all-natural supplement, one must consume one vitamin tablet, one mineral tablet and one phytonutrient tablet two times daily after meals. Those with medical conditions must consult their doctors first before taking it.

Having all the nutrients is not enough for one to be considered healthy, though. Aguila recommended that one should also be physically active, make healthy food choices, manage stress, avoid alcoholic beverages and not smoke to prevent lifestyle-related, non-communicable diseases.

Topics: Healthy diet , typical filipino diet
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