Educate us with the right nutritional knowledge

Educate us with the right nutritional knowledge
Many food products are marketed as being low-fat but, more often than not, refined carbohydrates such as sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are added to make them taste better. TODAY file photo

donovan chee KwoK hoe

Published: 4:03 AM, October 26, 2013
Updated: 4:00 AM, October 28, 2013

I am heartened that correct nutritional information was published in “Saturated fat, heart disease link a ‘myth’” (Oct 24), in an attempt to guide people to correct their nutritional practices.

The myth started with the infamous Ancel Keys and his Seven Countries Study, which tracked the fat consumption and heart disease levels of seven countries and saw an increase in heart disease cases corresponding with increased fat consumption.

The data that would have demolished his hypothesis was omitted from his studies, resulting in the low-fat craze and the bad rap of fats; in particular, saturated fats.

Margarine was touted as the healthier alternative to butter and we found out only years later that it contained trans fat, which is the worst type of fat to consume.

The low-fat craze made many companies rebrand their food products and market them as “low-fat”. More often than not, refined carbohydrates such as sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) were added to make food taste better.

An example would be yogurt. Is it possible to not see the words “sugar”, “sucrose” and “HFCS” in the ingredients list of a bottle of flavoured low-fat yogurt in the supermarkets?

Instead, full-fat yogurt usually tastes creamier and more flavourful because it is in its original state. Add some blueberries and strawberries, and it would taste better than the low-fat, sugar-laden version.

People still tend to link high fat consumption with being fat, but the low-fat craze has made more people overweight. Sugar and other types of refined carbohydrates are the culprits.

The Health Promotion Board (HPB) should work on this. Having the Healthier Choice symbol on food with sugar, even if it is “lower in sugar”, is not right. The HPB must educate people on the correct nutritional knowledge.

Does a Healthier Snack symbol on plain biscuits, cookies, crisps, ice cream and plain cakes mean that these snacks are healthier than my humble bowl of full-fat, no-sugar and plain yogurt, with blueberries that I have added?