Thursday, 17 August 2017

Forum: Healthy Plate scheme needs a bigger push

It has long been known that diet and nutrition contribute hugely to adult onset diabetes and heart disease.

Yet the carbohydrate-heavy options for popular public dining in our food-loving nation appear to focus on the very formula that drives poor health.

The Health Promotion Board brought out the My Healthy Plate guide for balanced meals in 2014, but little of it is seen in hawker centres, foodcourts, restaurants and cafes.

The few Singaporeans I have met who prepare meals at home are unaware of the scheme.

Unless the people of Singapore wise up to the bad nutrition they are subjecting themselves to, the nation is looking at a future dominated by illnesses of more than just diabetes and heart disease - tooth decay in very young children, for instance, is on the rise.

Studies have shown that diet has an impact on mental health.

We may wish to keep this in mind, given reports of declining mental health here, not just among adults and the elderly, but also among children.

Our perspective on nutrition and "what is good to eat" - that is, what is cheap and tasty - has to shift, and it has to get to the grassroots.

I hope to see information at hawker and foodcourt stalls about not just Healthier Choice options, but also Healthy Plate portions.

There should be assurances that there is no added MSG or sugar. Information on the kind of cooking oil used, as well as the calorie count, would also be good.

Perhaps we could even hold cooking classes or competitions that promote creativity with local flavours while being aligned with the My Healthy Plate scheme.

Lee Swee Kim (Miss)


How to build a healthy body - in Chinese


Locally purchased Lavender essential oil

Lavender essential oil is one of the most used oils in the world today. It is highly regarded for skin, beauty and fragrance.

Apply on your chest, neck or temple and you may have the following effects:
  • Improves sleep and insomnia
  • Reduces headache
  • Benefits skin and effective in skin diseases
  • Improves mood, calms anxiety and stress

It may also help in:
  • Balances blood sugar
  • Cancer
  • Antioxidants production

Word of caution
Not much research has been done on pregnant women and children using lavender essential oil. Best to speak to your doctor.

Lavender oil is usually applied externally. No one knows what will happen if you ingest the oil, so try not to do that.

1) Lavender Oil Benefits for Healing
2) Health benefits of lavender
3) Lotion helps her toddler sleep up to 14 hours uninterrupted

Ketogenic diets can help weight loss, but come with risks

Popular with athletes and models, the ketogenic diet is high in fat, moderate in protein and extremely low in carbohydrates.

Image source: the ketogenic diet org

On the ketogenic diet, 75% of your calories come from lipids. Dieters eat meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, butter, oils, oleaginous fruits, avocado, low-carbohydrate like green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale and lettuce), and hard cheeses. Other dairy products, milk and full-fat yoghurts can be consumed in moderation.

How does the ketogenic diet cause weight loss?

The low-carb diet is very high in fat, which helps people feel full, and thus eat less. Weight loss occurs with less calories intake and improved metabolism.

With this diet, you can forget about counting calories as little carbs are eaten.


The risks associated with a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet are significant. According to Carol Johnston, a director of the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion at Arizona State University, it can result in
  • increased blood levels of triglycerides (a marker of elevated cardiovascular risk), increased urinary uric acid (which may lead to the formation of kidney stones), 
  • lethargy (a lack of energy and enthusiasm), 
  • increased risk of negative impact on bone health.

Are carbs really bad for health?

The problem with carbs is the excessive consumption of sugar, which is converted into fat and causes weight gain.

But too little carbs may cause hypoglycemia and mood swings, in addition to other health problems.

2) A Ketogenic Diet to Lose Weight and Fight Disease
3) the ketogenic diet org