What to eat...and how much?
Understanding and knowing what your body’s nutrition needs will become a little bit easier for residents thanks to the Island’s nutritionists.
The Bermuda Dieticians Association has designed dietary guidelines specifically for the Island.
According to association president Tony Ward, creating guidelines that are Bermuda-specific allows foods common to the Bermuda diet to be included.
A colour-coded pie chart features photographs of items in the various food groups.
It includes Dunkley’s milk, as well as popular nut milks like soy, hazelnut and almond, in recognisable containers, making it easier than ever to understand exactly what dietitians recommend for good nutrition.
Three depictions of the guidelines will be released tomorrow by Health Minister Zane DeSilva. Body & Soul was able to secure the version that illustrates a plated nutritious dinner.
“This shows you how to plate up,” said Mr Ward. “Half the plate has vegetables, a quarter has meat and the other quarter has peas and rice from the starch and grain group.”
He said many people fill half their plates with starch, add a big portion of meat and just a few vegetables. The association hopes the new guidelines help change this trend.
Registered dietitians from government, the private sector and the hospitals form the Bermuda Dieticians Association and as such, the new guidelines are guaranteed to be truly used by all.
Mr Ward said creating them was important in ensuring the public get a consistent message. He noted that many of the dietitians were trained in different jurisdictions, all of which had their own guidelines. This has meant that some people may have been given information based on the British guidelines while others were given information based on the American or Canadian guidelines.
The differences are often subtle, for example the British guidelines have a cereals and grain food group while the American guidelines refer to it as the grains section. Our Bermuda guidelines, taking into consideration our local parlance, have used the heading starches and grains, to reflect that potatoes and other starchy vegetables are in fact a part of this food group.
Another difference with the new guidelines is that fats now appear with sugar and salt (in a picture of butter, chips, candies and brownies). Mr Ward said removing these items from the actual plate was done to make it clear that they were surplus to dietary requirements.
He said the natural sugars in fruits and vegetables will meet the daily requirement as long as sufficient quantities are consumed. And he pointed out that fats from meats, fish, dairy and fatty vegetables like avocados should provide sufficient quantities so that adding fat is not necessary.
So why have these items on the page at all? According to Mr Ward, it’s to be realistic. “Everyone will want to have something in that group. Our message is that you can but you should limit it.”
Water, a non-food item, is also important to health and as such eight glasses appear with a clear message at the top of the plate “Drink WATER frequently”.
“Water is one of the most important things needed for you to be well,” said Mr Ward. “But being hydrated, even in hot conditions is often overlooked. Many people here don’t drink enough fluid.”
The Dieticians’ Association also highlights the importance of exercise in the Bermuda Daily Dietary Guidelines. A set of weights and pair of running shoes has been included with the label “exercise regularly”.
Mr Ward said dietitians made these non-nutrient-containing additions to promote the importance of a healthy lifestyle to overall well-being.
Almost a year in the making, Mr Ward stressed that the guidelines were compiled based on research. An easy-to-read booklet with the findings is being collated for dissemination to the public.
Both the guidelines and the booklet have been produced as part of the WellBermuda programme, a Department of Health initiative.
To see the guidelines or learn more about the EatWell Bermuda programme visit www.eatwellbermuda.org tomorrow.
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