Most Taiwanese adults do not have a balanced diet: survey

2018/03/13 17:38:02 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Most Taiwanese adults do not have a balanced diet: survey

Taipei, March 13 (CNA) Most adults in Taiwan do not maintain a balanced diet and almost all of them have an inadequate intake of dairy products, according to the latest national health survey released Tuesday.

The survey by the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) on nutrition and health in Taiwan in the period 2013-2016 found that 99.8 percent of adults in Taiwan do not consume the 1.5 cups (360ml) of dairy foods per day, as recommended in the HPA's dietary guidelines.

In addition, 91 percent of adults, 19-64 years of age, eat less than one tablespoon of nuts or seeds per day, as recommended, the poll showed.

The intake of fruits of vegetables was also found to be below the recommended amount, according to the poll, which was released by Lin Li-ju (林莉茹), chief of the HPA's Community Health Division, at a press conference.

The survey found 86 percent of adults consume less than two portions of fruit and three portions of vegetables per day, with a portion of vegetables defined as half of a rice bowl and a portion of sliced fruit defined as half to one bowl.

Meanwhile, adults are eating excessive amounts of other foods, the survey indicated, showing that 53 percent eat too much fish, meat, eggs or beans daily, 49 percent consume more than three bowls of whole grains per day, and 39 percent exceed the recommended maximum five teaspoons of oil or fat per day.

Lin said the unbalanced diet among the majority of Taiwanese could result in health problems such as malnutrition, obesity and chronic diseases.

On Tuesday, the HPA also released an updated version of its Daily Dietary Guidelines, recommending 2,000 kilocalories a day for adults 19-64 years old.

In the breakdown, the guidelines recommend three rice bowls of whole grains, six portions of beans, fish, eggs or meat, five teaspoons of oil or fat, at least three portions of vegetables, two portions of fruits, 1.5 cups of dairy foods, and one portion of nuts or seeds.

For fish or meat, one portion means 35 grams, while one portion of eggs means one whole egg.

In the updated version of the guidelines, eggs were recommended over meat as source of protein, based on scientific findings, Lin said.

New scientific evidence indicates no strong link between eggs and cholesterol levels or heart disease, which makes them a better source of protein for the elderly, she said.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Elizabeth Hsu)

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