Moderation, variety and balance are key to a healthy diet
5 food myths bustedBy Anne A. Jambora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A total of 25,000 Filipinos flocked to the sixth Nestlé Choose Wellness Expo at the Megatrade Halls 1 to 3, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City, to learn practical nutrition and fitness information from industry experts.
The fun, carnival-inspired, two-day expo, with the theme “Achieving Wellness through a Balance of Good Nutrition and Proper Physical Activity,” indulged families in interactive games and activities that would make them aware of some wellness- and fitness-related facts.
“Nestlé is committed to partnering with you on your journey of wellness, with brands that play a positive role in your pursuit of a healthy lifestyle,” said Sandra Puno, director of communications, Nestlé Philippines Inc.
Aside from souvenirs, giveaways, special prizes and booths featuring Nestlé brands, the two-day event also offered discounts and promos on Nestlé products at the Expo Store. Promo girls threw out Kit-Kat bars and other Nestlé goodies to the excited crowd while families trooped out of the expo carrying grocery bags.
Puno said Nestlé started promoting wellness and fitness internally in 2004 before establishing linkages with a nutritionists, dieticians and healthcare professionals. Today, they work with individuals, institutions, schools and companies—improving on programs dealing with wellness, health and nutrition.
“In supermarkets and other stores nationwide, every year we offer sampling and promotions, and since 2006 we have provided free nutritional consultations for more than six million shoppers,” Puno said.
Definition of wellness
Nestlé Philippines Inc. corporate wellness head Leslie Go-Alcantara said consumers often define wellness as walang sakit. The absence of a disease, however, does not necessarily mean one is healthy. And we have seen that happen too many times, when people who are supposedly at their optimal health and fitness level—those who have never been confined in a hospital or even consulted with a doctor for some sort of illness—sometimes unexpectedly kick the bucket.
“Having someone in the family fall sick destroys the equilibrium in their lives. So how do you achieve and maintain wellness? When talking about wellness, consumers recognize the importance of food intake,” Go-Alcantara said.
Diet, she continued, is everything we eat. Many people have different diet imbalances, ranging from undernutrition to overnutrition. A balanced plate, however, is half-full with vegetables and/or fruits, ¼ with a carb source and ¼ with a protein source, she said.
“There are no good or bad foods; only good diets and bad diets. There are no shortcuts to achieving and maintaining a healthy diet, but it is achievable,” Go-Alcantara said.
There are three basic principles of a healthy diet, she said: moderation, variety and balance. Moderation is portion control; variety includes ways of preparing food; and balance simply means the right amount of carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals in one’s diet.
5 food myths
Go-Alcantara also said research has identified five common food myths in the country that may interfere with a sound diet.
Myth 1: Eating bahaw, or leftover rice, is fattening. “All food when eaten in excess is fattening because of the intake of unneeded calories,” she said.
Myth 2: Drinking cold water makes fat congeal and can cause blockage in the heart. “In reality, water cannot cause fat to solidify when you drink it because it takes on the same temperature as the body. Actually, cold water is easier for the body to absorb than warm or hot water,” she pointed out.
Myth 3: Sugar causes diabetes. “The fact is, three major factors that cause diabetes are being overweight, family history, and lack of physical activity.”
Myth 4: Daily intake of sugar and sweets is bad for you. “This is a misconception. According to the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), the recommended daily intake of sugar is five to eight teaspoons.”
Myth 5: Skip meals to lose weight. “This is a common belief but not a good practice. Make adjustments so that you are not eating unwanted calories and your body is burning stored calories. Exercise should go hand-in-hand with your diet.”
Fitness advocate and celebrity mom Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez said she has always been a believer of balancing diet with physical activity. “You can’t work out because you are miserable with your diet. You must enjoy what you’re doing. Commit time for each activity, be it workout time or couple time, or dinner with the family at 7 p.m. every night,” De Leon said.
Coach Jim Saret, who runs the Nestlé FitFil (Fit Filipino) Boot Camp, believes anyone can get fit anywhere without investing in new clothes or equipment. “It does not need much time and space. An office worker can exercise effectively in his/her cubicle during lunch break, or the housewife with a bunot at home. Wellness is a balance of good nutrition and physical activity. If you watch your diet, you can really lose weight. But without exercise you will not be healthier,” he said.
The Choose Wellness Expo is a major initiative that demonstrates the benefits of Nestlé brands, including Nescafe Classic, Coffee-Mate, Nido, Milo, Bear Brand, Nestea, Maggi, Nestlé Low and Non Fat Milk, Nestlé Fitnesse, Nestlé Fruit Selection Yogurt and Nestlé Acti-V.