S'poreans eating healthy? Not really

I was surprised by the report on Singaporeans' eating habits (S'poreans adopting better diets, easing up on calories: Survey; Nov 20).

The report stated that Singaporeans have a mean intake of 2,470 calories a day. This is way above the recommendation of 2,200 calories for men and 1,800 calories for women.

It is also alarming to read that "the trend of worsening diet has been arrested" when there has been only a very small increase in the intake of fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods.

There are no details on how this survey was carried out except that it was based on 1,000 participants.

We should be careful not to send the wrong signal or allude to Singaporeans having healthier diets.

I feel there is insufficient data to demonstrate that there has been a sustained change of a healthier diet.

Reducing salt and sugar intake is an important aspect of healthy eating, but salt and sugar are not the root causes of the metabolic disorder faced by our nation.

We should take the opportunity to present the Ministry of Health's My Healthy Plate guideline to the public. This is a very visual illustration which, in a very simple way, tells people what healthy eating is.

Following this guideline daily as much as possible will lead to a sustained healthy eating habit.

Rebecca Lian Hwee Peng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2018, with the headline 'S'poreans eating healthy? Not really'. Print Edition | Subscribe