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November 3, 2019

Experts call for balanced diet to stay healthy

Lahore

November 3, 2019

Dr Javaid Akram, professor of medicine, has said almost 100 per cent population in Pakistan is insulin-resistant. “We are very different from other populations. A huge number of people have fatty liver with normal BMI (body mass index) in Pakistan.

He lauded the Nutrition and Dietetic Society of Pakistan for holding a much-needed conference on nutrition. “We have unique nutritional parameters. Low hemoglobin here is a common concern. We take meat with roti. In the UK they take meat with potato which is a better combination. We overcook food. Fish has high Omega 3 content but we destroy that by deep frying and covering it with carbs,” Dr Akram said, adding, “Think globally, act locally.” The second day of the three-day conference on non-communicable diseases held here was attended by a large number of students of nutrition, dietitians, doctors and media people among others. There were presentations on the relation of what we eat with cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and diabetes.

Dr Julie Lovegrove, president The Nutrition Society UK, said diet was particularly important to risk reduction. “There is confusion in dietary guidelines but it has been seen that if you reduce saturated fat in your diet, there is 17 per cent reduction in risk of cardiovascular diseases. Similarly, saturated fat in your diet is replaced with unsaturated fat, the risk of cardiovascular diseases reduces by 25 percent,” she said.

Dairy, she said, is a better source of saturated fat though there is a need to make improvement in cheese. “An experiment was done on cows by changing their diet. There was significant reduction in saturated fat in their milk,” she said. Processed meat has been found to have relation with cancer, she said and advised intake of beetroot which is high in nitrates, very beneficial in cardiovascular diseases. Vegetables have fibre and their intake significantly reduces risk of CVD. A senior dietitian from College of Home Economics said dietitians are being recognised in Lahore now but people can’t bear the cost. Government has to create posts for dietitians in its hospitals. Fifty percent of the people coming to doctors for follow-ups in low-lying areas are hypertensive. Pharmaceutical companies offering medicines and supplements to counter obesity, had set up stalls where they were offering guidelines on what to eat, how much to eat and when to eat. A person needs 1,200 to 1,500 calories in a day. Every session had food for thought. Since sessions on cardiovascular diseases and diabetes were going at the same time, one couldn’t attend both.

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