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Home » Vietnamese Consume Too Much Meat, Say Health Advocates

Vietnamese Consume Too Much Meat, Say Health Advocates

by Meang Chanvatey
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An average Vietnamese consumes roughly 74% of the recommended daily vegetables intake and around 134 grams of meat per day, almost twice the recommended amount.

The figures were announced by Dr. Le Thi Hop, former head of the National Institute of Nutrition, during a conference about plant-based nutrition last month.

The intake of meat in Vietnam is especially high among people living in urban areas. Consumption of vegetables has risen recently, but has still not reached the recommended figure.

“This is a negative diet habit, which could be the reason behind the recent rise in non-communicable chronic diseases,” Hop said.

Non-communicable chronic diseases are defined as those that persist over a long time period, are not viral, not self-limiting, and rarely curable. The major categories of these diseases include cardiovascular, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, and cancers.

Data provided by the World Health Organization shows that out of 100 mortalities in Vietnam, 81 are caused by non-communicable chronic diseases.

Causes of these diseases include imbalanced dieting, smoking and drinking habits, and lack of exercises. To be more specific, a diet that is high in red meat, fat, sugar, and salt, is likely to lead to this kind of disease.

Dr. Truong Tuyet Mai, deputy head of the National Institute of Nutrition, attributed the double burden of malnutrition, which is defined as the coexistence of overnutrition alongside undernutrition at all levels of population, across Vietnam, to this imbalanced diet as well.

She suggested that people should maintain a balanced and healthy daily diet, which involves both plant- and animal-based protein, in order to avoid non-communicable chronic diseases.

Benefits of plant-based food have been proved in various studies. Dr. Andrea Glenn, a professor at Harvard University, said plant-based food is often high in fibers, carbohydrates, unsaturated fat and minerals, while low in saturated fat and contains no cholesterol. Because of that, replacing animal-based with plant-based protein helps lower the level of bad cholesterol in blood, minimize the risks of getting cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and diseases relating to blood pressure through stabilizing blood sugar and fat level.

Adults, on average, should consume more plant-based protein than their younger counterparts. The recommended amount is around 100 grams of plant-based proteins per day, and the best sources for this are beans and nuts. Fresh vegetables and fruits, milk and other dairy products should be prioritized, while red meat and fatty dishes, with the exception of fish fats, should be limited to keep cholesterol levels under control.

Sugar, sweet treats, sodas, and alcohol consumption should be minimized as well. And it is not recommended to consume more than 5 grams of salt a day.

“It should also be noted that not all plant-based food is good for your health,” Glenn added. “You should consume whole plant-based food, including whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, while avoiding processed oats, fried chips, and other sugar-high foods.”

Source: VN Express

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