Wednesday 16 October 2019

Ditch the frying pan, juicer and 'brunettes', says new food guide

Stock Image: Getty Images/Caiaimage
Stock Image: Getty Images/Caiaimage

Eilish O'Regan and Margaret Donnelly

New healthy eating guidelines are urging us to ditch the frying pan - and stew, steam, bake and boil instead.

Guidelines issued by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) also encourage us to consider adding a second mixer to calorie-laden cocktails, and low-fat milk should be a staple in every fridge.

They also advise we should think "blonde" rather than "brunette" when it comes to food.

The blonde refers to methods of cooking to reduce cancer risk - so we should lightly toast bread and avoid "brunette" burnt slices.

Stay with a golden yellow colour when roasting potatoes for the same reason. This is due to the health risk of acrylamide, a chemical formed when starchy foods are subjected to a high temperature.

The guide also warns about being careful about the calorie content in cocktails.

On a night out, a good tip to stretch your gin and tonic and sip for longer is to add two mixers.

It also points out if you want to maximise goodness, juicing fruit or vegetables is less nutritious than eating them whole.

Juicing keeps all the sugar, but reduces the fibre.

Although fashionable we should not over-do our consumption of avocados. This is because avocados contain fat and only count as one of our five-a-day as a result.

For a healthy weight try to make vegetables, salads or fruit half of every meal.

Vegetables, salads and fruit are "superfoods" because they are low in calories and rich in minerals and other benefits which protect health.

A portion of meat, poultry or fish should be the same size as the width and depth of a person's palm, it said.

The FSAI guidelines come in the wake of the rise of veganism and the recent 'Lancet' report which said we need to eat less meat to save the planet.

The EAT 'Lancet' Commission recommended that people consume just 7g of red meat a day and 500g of vegetables and fruits.

Daily poultry consumption would be confined to 29g - equivalent to one and a half chicken nuggets - and fish to 28g, a quarter of a medium-sized fillet.

Eggs would be restricted to around 1.5 per week.

Although nowhere near as extreme, the FSAI is recommending that we stew, steam, bake and boil as often as possible, and ditch the frying pan.

The guidelines pointed out that "vegetarian eating one or two days a week is good for everyone". Vegetarian alternatives can include peas, beans and lentils.

Eating up to seven egg yolks a week and any amount of egg whites will not raise cholesterol in healthy adults.

People on vegan diets who do not eat meat, poultry, dairy foods or eggs should ensure they are getting enough calcium and vitamin B12.

People's nutrient needs change as they go through life and they need to eat more or less of various foods.

Teenage girls and boys should have five servings of milk, yogurt and cheese a day.

Women need less iron after the menopause, while men over 50 go through a more gradual ageing process but they lose lean body stores, making sure they get vitamin D. The guidelines confirm sea salt is no better than other types of salt and we should use pepper, herbs, chillies, spices and vinegar to add more flavour during cooking.

When it comes to breakfast, fibre-rich cereals are the best for "picky eaters" and people with poor appetites.

Low-fat milk is one of the most complete foods. It provides the body with most of the nutrients it needs with very little saturated fat.

Dr Mary Flynn, of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, said the guidelines are tailored to Irish people's diet.

The 'Lancet' report was disappointing in that it only gives one reference diet.

We should be doing something on sustainability, but "one diet for the whole world will not cut down on food miles", she said.

Irish Independent

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