Are S'poreans eating too much meat?

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in the United States, people who consume meat and other animal products have a higher risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and certain cancers than those who eat only plant-based foods.

The American Heart Association recommends a total of 170g of lean meat, poultry and seafood a day.

My calculations, based on data from the National Nutrition Survey 2010 report, show that Singaporeans are eating an average of 190g of meat, poultry and seafood a day, 15 per cent of which contain fatty and processed meats.

The figures also show that Singaporeans were consuming an average of 386g of red meat a week, higher than the World Cancer Research Fund's public health goal of 300g of red meat per week.

Health issues aside, a report by the World Resources Institute states that the carbon footprint of animal-based foods is much higher than plant-based alternatives, including nuts, seeds and pulses (beans), largely because more resources are required to produce such foods.

Although it is commendable that the Government is doing more to improve our eating habits (New healthy recipes launched in war against diabetes, women urged to help in the fight; ST Online, April 2), there is a need for the authorities to monitor Singapore's meat consumption and carry out more aggressive education on healthy eating habits.

The Government should also do more to promote plant-based alternatives as the main protein source.

Subramaniam Jayavelu

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2017, with the headline 'Are S'poreans eating too much meat?'. Print Edition | Subscribe