Food or Rubbish 4
[We have looked at food in terms of 'energy' and 'nutrition' and the picture is really not nice. Too much energy (Kcal) is not good for us. Too much of proteins, carbohydrates and sugars, fats, minerals and vitamins and "water" are not good for us either. So we need to learn to have just enough (food sufficiency). Our (every) body is a complex self regulating system. Our body can tolerate and adjust some deviations (deficiencies and excesses) (with liver, kidneys, glands, ... systems). But if we keep on eating "rubbish" (toxic chemicals, too much 'bad' fats, too much 'carbohydrates and sugars' - especially HFCS, too much salt, plastic residues from containers and accumulation in food chain, ...) then our body systems will fail then we become sick and we die from what we eat.
We ask if the food industry is harming our children and us with carbohydrates and sugars especially high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), bad fats especially 'trans fat' and lot of salt (sodium chloride). We ask if we are harming our children by giving them sweets (cakes, lollies, and 'junk food') in reward for doing good.
We then looked microscopically and realized that our food are really processed by our microbial co-evolutionary friends. They convert what we eat into organic compounds that our body needs. We ask then if we should look after microbes that live on us so they can look after us.]
Now we continue
Food allergy and poisoning
Food poisoning can be caused by 'bad bacteria' (:salmonella, ...), and toxic substances (: mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, cyanides, 'teflon' - coating on non-stick cooking pots and pans can release carcinogens when overheated (>240C) or scratched; please don't give pots and pans like that to other people.) Some traditional foods (กลอย, ขี้เหล็ก, ใบ/มัน-สำปะหลัง,...) require specific preparations to reduce level of harmful substances.
A UChicago study (see notes) suggests that our gut flora (:Clostridia) may prevent food (:peanut) allergies. More studies are in progress. There are suggestions that gut flora may influence our mood, our look and autism.
Warning: We should not eat wild food or mushrooms that we do not 'really' know!
('Our gut flora' may not know how to process the food 'we' do not know.)
Food requirement for Thais
We return to look at food requirement again because We have come to realize that 2,000 Kcal (or 8,700 kilojoules) does not really represent a daily energy requirement (from food) for average Thais (because different body masses and outside temperatures mean differences in energy requirements). Having "wrong" magic number (kilojoules or kilocalories) means nutritional information for daily requiremnts on the "food label" is wrong. And higher average (magic number for) Kcal may mislead people to consume more food and suffer consequences from this misinformation.
The government and Health organizations must have realized this error for a long time now. But why don't they act and give us a right number?
This Average Daily Energy Requirement (number of Kcal) is a target number of national significance. Correct number means a good deal for a lot of people who try to stay healthy. Healthy people means healthy and happy country and more money for other important things like 'home' improvement, education, infrastructure,...)
Obesity is rising around the world and is costing many trillions USD in treatments. A raft of related diseases arising from or with obesity also demands a substantial portion of health budgets around the world. Increase in (food) demand and production, in (clothes) size. in (furniture) loading and size, in (transport) fuel,... all add up to a major (cost, tax and health) burden for all countries in the world.
Food industries say they are not to blame -alone-. Food is a matter of (consumers) choice. Consumers should make appropriate choice for their personal circumstances and do exercise adequately. Consumers must take responsibility for the consequences. (But food industries do advertise and misinform the public about their products.)
A simple logical strategy to fight against obesity is "less calory; more exercise; and make friends and support groups". Something like:
- look at what we are eating now: how many Kcal per day? how much proteins, carbs, fats,... Yes, it is not that easy to do - lots of looking up books and the Internet but in doing so we will learn more about food we eat. If our average total food is over 1,500 Kcal per day, chances are that we will be or already are overweight.
- from our notes (of information we have looked up) we can draw up some menus for our diet that will supply (more or less) enough nutrition (proteins, carbs, ...) for us daily. If we are really lazy then just make sure that we eat less than 7,500 Kcal per day and every things must be "low GI" (so they don't push our blood glucose up high and make us feel hungry in a short time). Vegetarian food (lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and lentils) may be a good starting menu. We can modify for better tastes.
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes daily (walking, joggong, aerobic, ... what ever turn us on) especially if we work sitting down hours after hours. That also means "playing Line or Facebook or surfing the Net, watching TV, playing games, and so on. We should not sit longer than 1 hour at a time. Get up, walk about, stretch for a few minutes every sitting hour ;-)
- we should make friends with other people who want to lose weight, form a group so we can help each other out and 'compete' with each other too. Every week, the group can make a challenge to climb a mountain, go around a park or zoo or go for a bike ride,...
- we can measure how we lose weight by weighing often and with our urine and "ketone strips" (available from pharmacies/drugstores) after exercises. The dark brown colour on ketone strips is what we aim for. (Fat get metabolized and ketone is the waste product.)
[We can lose some 2-3 kg of our excess fat every week (if we stick to our program). We shouldn't celebrate with cakes, chocolates, ice creams or alcolic drinks yet. We should wait until we meet our target weight and keep it there for a few weeks. Then we know how we get there and how easy it is to gain/lose weight! ]
But weigh loss programs like above fail in general. Most people return to obesity in a short time. Other approaches: using drugs (Orlistat, Wellbutrin, Metformin*,...); surgeries (liposuction, restrictive band, balloon, bypass,...) and herbal recipes (see notes below) are 'promoted' commercially.
Food industries are now selling (versions of) "food that makes us thin" as well as (versions of) "food that makes us fat". Many are also adding (the word) "natural/organic/fruits and nuts/anti-oxidant" ingredients in their packaged food. (Please read the ingrediant listing on the label carefully - a natural organic mango ice cream may contain onlt 1% of 'real mango' and 50% of reconstituted mango pulp, X% sugar, Y% fat,...)
Obesity (health) is a national agenda. It has potentials to require more budget allocation than eduation, defence, infrastructures and social welfare.
For comparisons obesity costs: UK BP4.2 billions (2011) and BP6.4 billions (estimate, 2015); US USD147-210 billions (estimate, 2006); AUS AUD21 billions (2005), AUD37.7 billions (2008/09); TH THB5.6 billions + THB6.5 billions in loss productivity total THB12.1 billions (estimate, 2014),...
[Overweight prevalence (%) in Southeast Asia for adults of both sexes (BMI of >25kg/m2)
Source: Unknown, data drawn from WHO Non-Communicable Diseases Country Profiles, 2011]
Heart Diseases and Hypertension
Food is one major factor in heart diseases and high blood pressure (see notes below). Saturated fats and transfats have been blamed as well as lack of exercises (or inactivity). These diseases may come with diabetes and obesity.
Diet and exercise are necessary in both prevention and management of these diseases. (See mayo clinic advice in notes below.) Smoking and alcohol can make the conditions and the treatment much worse.
See WHO's Nocommunicable Diseases (NCD): Country Profiles reports 2011 and 2014 for worldwide situation and comparison.
Should we eat more fresh and raw (uncooked) food? Yes, definitely. But some food like grains (rice, wheat, oat, barley,...), lentils (soya beans mung bean, split peas,...) and dry food are too hard to digest uncooked. Some green vegetables () contain 'oxalates', cyanides, and toxic compounds that break down and become safe to eat only after boiling or cooking. We need to know our food better and know how to cook better.
Looking at most recipes, we see how tasty, delicious and beautiful the dishes are (to be). We worry about colour, texture, taste of food than its calory, nutrition and toxin (to us and our gut flora) contents. Perhaps good cooking is more than making good-looking tasty dishes but making good "nutritional dishes" for everyone in the family. (Next time we post a recipe on G2K, we will also post its calory and nutrition ;-)
Good cooks should be masters of arts and technologies (of alchemy) for turning things into highly valued dishes of food. Professional cooks/chefs now enjoy fame and wealth as much entrepreneurs in other profession. Advanced cooking technologies can pay!
Fasting is imbedded in many cultures. Recent studies suggest that fasting can benefit in detoxication (detox), restoration of some body functions (Insulin Sensitivity, Metabolism, Brain Function, Immune System, Clear The Skin And Prevent Acne) and possible longevity. Partial fasting (such as vegetarian-only meals) and intermittent fasting are also (reported) beneficial to health besides weight loss. (Search with "fasting benefit".)
For those meditation practioners, hunger improves self-awareness and helps to deepen understanding of sensory processes.
Food Production and Wastage
We grow up in a lucky country with abundance of food: "fish in water, rice in paddy". We have enough food for everyone everyday. Marketing/Exporting/Profit makes some food expensive for some people but overall we produce a lot of food and still waste a lot of food everyday.
We waste food by making dishes too big, by bad cooking, by working through meals,... Though, wasted food can be composted or put to other use, most of it ends up in our waterways. Other forms of food wastage (spillage, spoilage, overspray with toxic chemicals and 'out of date' and so on) are of concerns to businesses and researchers.
We have little concerns for 'undersize' harvesting (mainly of wild fish). We waste potentials for larger and more sustaining (fish)stock. Undersize/age catches end up as food (protein meal/powder) for farm fish/prawn/duck/pig/... This is a major food production/wastage that goes on unnoticed.
We have concerns on clearing and burning forests for farming. This destroys wildlife habitats and food sources, ecological systems, and (micro)climate systems; exposes topsoil to erosion; dries up subsoil moisture and leads to floods and droughts. Loss of insects especially pollinators (such as bees, yellow jackets, butterflies and moths) means less fruits and seeds; negatively impacts long term food production and our environment.
Our way of life is driving towards convenient fast food and packaged food despite negative health concerns. Our children are targeted in marketing campaigns though obesity among children and young adults are growing rapidly and costing THB billions.
We have not really looked into how we select and promote species of vegetables and fruits and animals that are looking good, free of blemishes and 'obese', and have long shelf life. Neither have we looked at how our farming change our environment nor if we have an evolutionary 'rift' in fitness between us, our environment and our food.
We have more issues on food production and wastage than what we can read in a few minutes. Many more (long) research courses in agriculture, transport, marketing and manufacturing are needed (- you can share what you know).
What so we do with what we know now?
We started with a question "whether what we eat now is food or rubbish?" We expect food to nourish us and rubbish to be no use and to harm us and our environment. We have looked at food from many windows and are bewildered by food issues. We agree that "Food is life" (where "home is environment"- where we live). When our food is uncertain, our life is at risk.
Modern food production incurs higher risks (to life) with use of toxic chemicals and (market) selection of products (leading to less diversity). A (US/FDA) decision on the correlation of fats and heart diseases 40 years ago resulted in low-fat high-carb diet with sugar and salt added to make food products "tasty". Sugar in food pushes up diabetes and obesity and risks of heart diseases in population. Cheaper high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) now replaces (cane) sugar because 'sugar is (now believed) bad'. Demand for cheap fats and oils has lead to clearing of forests and destroying wildlife habitats to grow oil palms (and corns for animal feeds and making HFCS).
Together HFCS, bad fats, transfats and modern audio-visual gadgets occupy our lives with unhealthy food and inactive lifestyles (for examples see WALL-E a 2008 computer-animated science-fiction comedy movie). We now realize that our lives and our children are no longer safe with the food in markets, and that we must act. We find that as Thais we have not yet a good estimate of our food requirements (energy-wise, nutrition-wise nor gut-microbes-wise). We ask our government and health organizations to provide us with simple facts and simple targets so we can be healthy and save our country from financial and food wastes. We should not wait until the 'food-related' problems are 'obvious' (how many people have to die) before we admit the problems and start to fumble and feel our ways for solutions. Studies and remedial actions must start now.
[This series on food is only a rough road to explore the food frontier. I -reserve the right- to come back to smoothen out some bends and dips and crests on this road (OK -edit this blog-) to improve our understand of food. So, please do come back, share your thoughts and read updates ;-) ]
Gut bacteria that protect against food allergies identified ...
Aug 25, 2014 - UChicago researchers have identified a common gut bacteria that prevents sensitization to allergens in a mouse model for peanut allergy,...
Natural toxins in food
How to lose weight:
Herbal preparations for obesity: are they useful? by D Heber June 2003
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14567158 (and similar articles -- in top right box)
"...There are two key attractions of alternative treatments to obese patients. First, they are viewed as being natural and are assumed by patients to be safer than prescription drugs. Second, there is no perceived need for professional assistance with these approaches. For obese individuals who cannot afford to see a physician, these approaches often represent a more accessible solution. Finally, for many others, these approaches represent alternatives to failed attempts at weight loss with the use of more conventional approaches. These consumers are often discouraged by previous failures, and are likely to combine approaches or use these supplements at doses higher than are recommended..."
"...The conclusion from this trial was that garcinia cambogia failed to produce significant weight loss and fat mass loss beyond that observed with placebo..."
Heart-healthy diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hear... Mar 18, 2015
...Limiting how much saturated and trans fats you eat is an important step to reduce your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease. A high blood cholesterol level can lead to a buildup of plaques in your arteries, called atherosclerosis, which can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke...
...แนวทางการรักษาของสมาคมความดันโลหิตสูงแห่งประเทศไทย (พ.ศ. 2555)  แนะนำให้ปรับเปลี่ยนพฤติกรรมเพื่อป้องกันความดันโลหิตสูงด้วยวิธีดังนี้
ควบคุมน้ำหนักให้เป็นปกติในผู้ใหญ่ (ให้ดัชนีมวลกายอยู่ที่ 18.5-23 กิโลกรัม/ตารางเมตร)
จำกัดโซเดียมในอาหารให้น้อยกว่า 100 มิลลิโมลต่อวัน (น้อยกว่า 6 กรัมของโซเดียมคลอไรด์ต่อวัน หรือน้อยกว่า 2.4 กรัมของโซเดียมต่อวัน)
ออกกำลังกายชนิดแอโรบิกอย่างสม่ำเสมอ เช่นการเดินเร็วๆ อย่างน้อย 30 นาทีต่อวัน เกือบทุกวันในสัปดาห์
ลดการดื่มแอลกอฮอล์ ไม่เกิน 2 drink/วันในผู้ชาย และไม่เกิน 1 drink/วันในผู้หญิง (1 drink เทียบเท่ากับสุรา (40%) 44 มิลลิลิตร, เบียร์ (5%) 355 มิลลิลิตร หรือไวน์ (12%) 148 มิลลิลิตร)
รับประทานผักและผลไม้มากๆ (อย่างน้อย 5 ส่วนต่อวัน)
Nutrition and healthy eating
DASH diet: Healthy eating to lower your blood pressure
The DASH diet emphasizes portion size, eating a variety of foods and getting the right amount of nutrients. Discover how DASH can improve your health and lower your blood pressure...
(DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.)
Microglia get a gut feeling by Sudhakaran Prabakaran
Gut microbes promote the maturation and activation of microglia in the brain through the production of short-chain fatty acids.
...Microglia are macrophage-like cells found in the brain that scavenge dead cells, kill pathogens, and are involved in brain development...treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics, which depleted the gut microbiota, showed immature and malformed microglia...the findings highlight the importance of gut-brain communication...
Periodic dieting promotes health by Annalisa M. VanHook
Adherence to a periodic fast-mimicking diet improves health and promotes longevity.
... a low-calorie, low-protein fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) that caused changes in metabolic markers [blood glucose, ketone bodies, insulin, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), and the IGF-1 inhibitor IGFBP-1] that were similar to those induced by fasting and were reversed by resumption of ad libitum feeding...an FMD, which delivered all essential micronutrients and between 725 and 1000 calories per day, for five consecutive days per month for three months with no changes to their normal exercise routines or eating habits in between FMD cycles. After resuming their normal diets at the end of three months, the FMD group had increased lean body mass and sustained reductions in blood glucose, circulating IGF-1, body weight, abdominal fat, and C-reactive protein, a risk factor for heart disease. ...
World Health Organisation,Overweight and Obesity: Fact Sheet, 2011, http://www.searo.who.int/entity/noncommunicable_di...
Parichart Kumcheen, 'Thailand under obesity crisis', 2009, http://www.siam.edu/siamedu_thai_mainpage/images/s...
Obesity in Thailand: Behold the perfect storm by Bruce Bickerstaff
[The author lists causes of obesity in Thailand:
Climate and air quality: Thailand is hot and humid for most of the year - certainly not conducive to vigorous outdoor physical activity. Dust and air pollution further discourages outdoor exercise.
Modesty and a strong focus on certain aspects of appearance: This common trait amongst Thai people has a number of implications. On the one hand, concerns about maintaining a pale appearance discourage people (esp. women) from undertaking any form of outdoor activity. Appearing tanned and/or sweaty is associated by many Thais with uncouth people. Similarly, concerns about possible body odor issues and/or the immodesty of exercise apparel act as a further disincentive to physical activity.
Poor public parks and fitness facilities: With the exception of a limited number of showpiece venues, there are few parks of adequate quality offering facilities for recreation for people of any age group. Existing facilities, such as playgrounds, are generally poorly maintained and often unsafe.
Difficult and dangerous exercise corridors: Some of the factors here include broken and uneven pavements strewn with hazards such as uncontrolled electrical wiring and signage, difficulty in safely and quickly crossing roads, dangerous driving/riding habits, the prevalence of aggressive dogs in public spaces, and the alienation of footpaths for stalls and parking.
Anticipated weaknesses in the Government's response: History suggests that the Thai Government has great difficulty in formulating and implementing programs that require multiple public agencies to coordinate their actities to achieve a shared objective. An example of this is the haphazard and woefully ineffective response to serious seasonal air pollution. Thailand's endemic system of patronage which sees myriad fiefdoms competing for privilege lies at the core of this problem. Clearly this does not bode well for issues such as obesity, where there is a clear need for many agencies and different levels of government to work side by side.
Another factor contributing to this situation are the imperative of 'face' combined with pronounced nationalism and ethno-centralism. These traits see the Thai authorities often appearing to deny or play down problems until they are impossible to ignore, usually by which time they have become entrenched and more difficult to remedy. At this point the Thai hierarchy will not wish to be seen to copy remedial programs adopted by other countries, i.e. "We are different-it won't happen to us", later followed by "We are different-we will find our own solution". Such an approach will, unfortunately, invariably lead to a delay in the implementation of an effective remedial program. ]
อึ้ง! เดือนถือศีลอดในมาเลเซียกลับมีอาหารเหลือทิ้งเป็นแสนๆตัน สูงกว่าตึกแฝด 30 เท่า! [มติชน]
http://www.matichon.co.th/news_detail.php?newsid=1... 16 กรกฎาคม พ.ศ. 2558