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of Healthy Eating

Contents
02 Introduction to the Dietary Guidelines 02 What is Healthy Eating? 02 The ABCs of Good Nutrition 03 Guideline 1 Base your diet on the Healthy Diet Pyramid Recommendations - The Healthy Diet Pyramid Guide to Healthy Eating - What is a serving? - How much are you eating? - Do you need more calcium? - Do you need more iron? 09 Guideline 2 Aim to achieve and maintain a healthy BMI - What is a healthy BMI? - How can I achieve a BMI in the healthy range? - How much weight should I lose? - My BMI is less than 18.5. What should I do to achieve a healthy BMI? 15 Make the healthier choice for good health 16 Guideline 3 Eat sufficient amounts of grains, especially whole grains - Boost your energy level with grains - What are whole grains? - 3 great reasons to eat more whole grains - Tips on storing and cooking whole grains 19 Guideline 4 Eat more fruit and vegetables every day - 2+2 juicy reasons to eat more fruit and vegetables - Aim for 2+2 - Aim for variety - Tips on how to preserve the freshness and nutritional quality of fruit and vegetables 24 Guideline 5 Choose and prepare food with less fat, especially saturated fat - Fat in foods - Cholesterol in foods - What about good and bad cholesterol? - Fat allowance of adults - How to keep your fat in check - Eat less fat, especially saturated fat, today! 30 Guideline 6 Choose and prepare food with less salt and sauces - Where does sodium in our diet come from? - Reduce your salt intake with these tantalising tips! 34 Guideline 7: Choose beverages and food with less sugar - Where does sugar in our diet come from? - Consume added sugar in moderation - 6 zingy tips to reduce your sugar intake - Sugar substitutes - Sweetened drinks 38 Guideline 8 If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation - Drink in moderation - 4 sobering tips to moderate alcohol intake - Who should not drink? 41 The 4 Cs to Good Nutrition - Where To Find Out More About Healthy Eating

Introduction To The Dietary Guidelines

Eating does not merely satisfy our hunger - it is also a pleasant social activity. Friendships and family ties are often forged over the dining table. With more varieties of food available, it is easy to lose sight of the principles that guide healthy eating. As the food you eat affects your health and well-being, it is important to consciously choose a healthy diet.

What Is Healthy Eating?

Healthy eating is selecting a balanced diet that is high in dietary fibre and low in fat, cholesterol, sugar and salt. It also means having different types of food in the right amounts and not overeating any one type of food. If you are between 18 to 65 years of age, these Dietary Guidelines are for you. Use them to help you and your family plan and choose nutritious meals. Start eating healthily today. Remember - you are never too young nor too old to start!

The ABCs of Good Nutrition

The Dietary Guidelines are built around the ABCs of good nutrition Aim, Base and Choose your way to good health!

Aim to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

Base your daily diet on the Healthy Diet Pyramid recommendations

Choose wisely for good health.

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Guideline 1: Base your diet on the Healthy Diet Pyramid recommendations


Different foods contain different nutrients. No single food can supply all the nutrients you need. Let the Healthy Diet Pyramid guide your food choices and help you choose what and how much to eat each day.

The Healthy Diet Pyramid Guide to Healthy Eating

The Healthy Diet Pyramid translates nutrient needs into actual foods. It categorises commonly eaten foods into four food groups - rice and alternatives, fruit and vegetables, as well as meat and alternatives which form the foundation of a healthy diet. It serves as a guide that helps you plan a healthy diet that fits your lifestyle.

Fats, oils, salt and sugar

Meat and alternatives 2 -3 servings

Fruit 2 servings

Vegetables 2 servings

Rice and alternatives 5 -7 servings

The Healthy Diet Pyramid conveys three main messages: Eat a variety of food. This means eating different foods from the four food groups as well as within each food group. Each food group offers a variety of choices and each one has a unique nutritional value. No one food supplies all the nutrients your body requires to stay healthy. Eat a balanced diet. This means eating the recommended number of servings of food from the four food groups daily. Include some plant-based foods every day. Eat in moderation. It means eating the right amount of food, neither too much nor too little. Foods high in fat, sugar and salt should only be consumed in small amounts at all times.
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Base your diet on the Healthy Diet Pyramid recommendations


Within the recommended range of servings for each food group, inactive individuals should aim for fewer servings, while active individuals should aim for greater number of servings.

- Eat 5 to 7 servings of rice and alternatives daily


Rice and alternatives (e.g. porridge, noodles, bread, roti prata, thosai, oats and cereals) provide the main source of energy for our daily activities. They also contribute vitamins, minerals, fibre and some protein to the diet. Choose wholegrain or high-fibre varieties wherever possible (e.g. brown rice and wholemeal bread).

- Eat 2 servings of fruit and 2 servings of vegetables daily


Fruit and vegetables are rich in dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant substances (phytochemicals). Eat a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.

- Eat 2 to 3 servings of meat and alternatives daily


Meat and alternatives provide protein that builds and repairs the body. Meat, poultry, fish and seafood are also rich in iron. Milk and milk products are rich in calcium. Tofu and pulses like peas, beans and lentils are good alternatives to animal sources of protein. Select at least one serving from these foods every day. Choose low-fat alternatives such as lean meat, poultry without skin and low-fat or non-fat dairy products more often.

- Fats, oils, sugar and salt should be used sparingly to flavour food - Include six to eight glasses of fluid (1.5- 2.0 litres) in the diet every day
This can include water and fluid from soups and porridge.

If you are a vegetarian...


The Healthy Diet Pyramid can be used to plan a vegetarian diet that meets the nutrient needs of healthy adults. Pulses (e.g. beans, peas, lentils) are good sources of protein. They are also part of the meat and alternatives group on the Pyramid. For a balanced diet, include one plant-based protein food in every meal.

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Base your diet on the Healthy Diet Pyramid recommendations

What is a Serving?

A serving refers to a specific amount of food. Knowing how much makes one serving helps you decide if you are eating too much of a certain food and not enough of others. Your portions in a meal can be larger or smaller than the serving sizes specified, as long as the total amount you eat during the day does not exceed the total number of recommended servings in the Healthy Diet Pyramid. Serving sizes (Examples of 1 serving) 1 palm-sized piece meat, fish or poultry (90g) 5 medium prawns (90g) 3 eggs (150g)+ 2 glasses++ milk (500ml) 2 slices cheese (40g) 2 small blocks soft beancurd (170g) 3 /4 cup cooked pulses (peas, beans, lentils) (120g) 1 small apple, orange, pear or mango (130g) 1 wedge papaya, pineapple or watermelon (130g) 4 small seeds durian or jackfruit (80g) 10 grapes or longans (50g) 6 lychees or dukus (70g) 1 /4 cup dried fruit (40g)
1 /2 cup canned fruit, drained (100g) 1 cup pure fruit juice (250ml)

Food Group MEAT & ALTERNATIVES Eat 2-3 servings daily

FRUIT Eat 2 servings daily

VEGETABLES Eat 2 servings daily

150g raw leafy vegetables 100g raw non-leafy vegetables 3 /4 mug*** cooked leafy vegetables (100g)
3 1

RICE & ALTERNATIVES Eat 5-7 servings daily

/4 mug cooked non-leafy vegetables (100g) /2 bowl** rice (100g)

2 slices bread (60g) /2 bowl noodles, beehoon or spaghetti 1 thosai (60 g) 2 chapatis (60g) 1 hamburger bun or hotdog bun (60g) 4 cream crackers or plain biscuits (40g)
1

Note: Serving sizes shown are recommended for healthy adults aged 18 to 65 years. All weights listed are for edible portions only. ** 1 bowl = 1 rice bowl *** 1 mug = 250ml + While 3 eggs are equivalent in protein content to the other items listed under the meat and alternatives group, egg yolks are high in cholesterol. Thus, eat no more than 4 egg yolks per week. ++ 1 glass = 250ml
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Base your diet on the Healthy Diet Pyramid recommendations

How much are you eating?

From your favourite chicken rice to laksa, many popular dishes do not fit neatly into one food group. They are usually a mixture of foods from different food groups. Estimating how many servings from each food group go into your daily meals can help you plan a healthy diet. Look at the example below:
Quantity Approximate number of servings Rice & Fruit Vegetables Meat & alt. alt. 1
1

Meal/ Snack Breakfast

Food Item

Sandwich 1 serving - wholemeal 2 slices bread - cucumbers 1/4 mug sprouts - egg 1 whole Chicken noodles, stir fried - noodles - chicken - dark green leafy vegetables 1 serving

/3
1

/3

Lunch

1 bowl /2 palm-size piece 1 /4 mug


1

2
1

/2

/3

Snack

Papaya Biscuits, plain Milk, low fat Rice, cooked Long beans with carrots, stir fried Fish, pan fried Watermelon

1 wedge 2 pieces 1 glass 1 bowl 1 mug

1
1

/2
1

/2

Dinner

2 11/3

1 palm-size piece 1 wedge 5 /2


1

1 1 2 2 21/3

TOTAL

Note: Choose and prepare healthier versions of the dishes listed on the table, i.e. high in dietary fibre and low in fat, sodium and cholesterol.

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Base your diet on the Healthy Diet Pyramid recommendations

Do you need more calcium?

Inadequate intake of calcium can lead to osteoporosis - a disease that makes bones fragile and more likely to fracture. For healthy adults aged 19 to 50, the dietary allowance for calcium is 800 mg. You can obtain enough calcium by including the following in your diet:

Calcium-rich foods
Milk* Yoghurt Cheese Beancurd Dark green leafy vegetables Calcium fortified food (e.g. bread, soybean milk, breakfast cereals, biscuits and juices)
Lactose-intolerant individuals can consume low-lactose or lactose-free milk, yoghurt or cheese

Include more calcium in your daily meals if you are 50 years and above. Adults over the age of 50 are at a higher risk of losing bone mass faster than it can be replaced. Older adults have lower energy requirements and tend to eat less. As such, they may not have enough calcium in their diet and may need calcium supplements. Consult your doctor before taking calcium supplements.

Do you need more iron?

Adolescent girls and women of childbearing age need to consume more iron. A lack of iron in the blood can lead to iron-deficiency anaemia. You can obtain enough iron by including the following in your diet:

Iron-rich food
Lean meat and organ meats Poultry Fish and shellfish Dark green leafy vegetables Peas, beans and lentils Iron fortified food (e.g. cereals and bread)

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Base your diet on the Healthy Diet Pyramid recommendations

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Do I need to take vitamin and mineral supplements?


For most adults, eating a balanced diet using the Healthy Diet Pyramid as a guide will provide all the essential nutrients in adequate amounts. Therefore it is not necessary to take any vitamin and mineral supplements. Food contains more than just nutrients and should never be replaced by supplements. However, vitamin and mineral supplements are useful for some people with increased needs. They include: pregnant women some older adults people with special medical conditions.

Consult your doctor or a qualified dietitian before taking supplements.

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Guideline 2: Aim to achieve and maintain a healthy BMI


The journey to good health begins with achieving a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) in the healthy range. BMI uses your height and weight to estimate your total body fat. If your BMI is high, it increases your risk of high blood pressure heart disease diabetes stroke certain cancers bone and joint disorders

What is a Healthy BMI?

To find out whether you have achieved a BMI in the healthy range, divide your weight (kg) by the square of your height (m2): BMI = Weight (kg) Height (m) x Height (m)

BMI (kg/m2) (for adults) 27.5 and above 23.0 27.4 18.5 22.9 Less than 18.5

Risk of Heart Disease etc High Risk Moderate Risk Low Risk (healthy range) Risk of nutritional deficiency diseases and osteoporosis

Singaporeans have been found to be at risk of developing heart disease and diabetes at BMI values of 23 kg/m2 and above. Knowing your BMI will give you an early warning to take action to lower your weight to reduce your risk, and to seek medical advice if your BMI exceeds 23 kg/m2.
Note: A higher BMI may be acceptable for athletes and body builders who are muscular and have little body fat. BMI is not applicable to pregnant women.

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Aim to achieve and maintain a healthy BMI

How can I achieve a BMI in the healthy range?

There is no short cut to reducing your BMI to the healthy range. Weight loss is a gradual process involving lifestyle changes. To lose weight, make sustainable changes to your eating and exercise habits.

- Eat smart.
The amount and type of food you eat determines your energy (calorie) intake. Energy in food comes from carbohydrates, protein and fat. You gain weight when you consistently take in more calories than you use through physical activity.

Energy Balance and Weight Management


Understanding energy balance is the key to losing weight successfully. Start tipping the scales in your favour today! calorie intake > calorie use calorie intake = calorie use weight gain no change to body weight weight loss

calorie intake < calorie use

Losing weight does not mean avoiding food. Instead, eat less food that is high in fat and added sugar. Eat a variety of plant-based food like whole grains, fruit, vegetables and pulses. These foods provide bulk and promote the feeling of fullness. Eat regular meals. Avoid skipping meals as it may lead to overeating at subsequent meals.

- Move more
Physical activity is an essential part of any effective weight-loss programme. It helps burn calories and builds muscles.

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Aim to achieve and maintain a healthy BMI


7 fabulous reasons to sweat it out Physical activity: helps manage weight reduces body fat increases lean muscle tissues increases physical fitness helps build and maintain healthy bones lowers your risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke relieves stress and helps you relax and sleep better

You do not have to exercise vigorously to reap the health benefits. You can stay healthy if you do moderate-intensity physical activity (see examples below) at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. The 30 minutes may be broken down into 10-minute segments throughout the day. Examples of physical activity Routine activities taking the stairs instead of the elevator getting off the bus one stop earlier and walking the remaining distance parking the car further away from the intended destination and walking the remaining distance doing household chores brisk walking jogging swimming cycling dancing sports activities such as badminton, basketball, volleyball aerobic exercises qigong or taiji quan

Specific activities

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Aim to achieve and maintain a healthy BMI

Are you ready for physical activity?

Physical activity should be part of your daily routine, like eating and sleeping. Find one or more activities that you enjoy. Get a friend to join you.

Consult a doctor before starting a vigorous exercise programme if you are:


a. over 40 years old (for men) or b. over 50 years old (for women) or c. you have a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or obesity

How much weight should I lose?

If your BMI falls within the high risk group (27.5 kg/m2 and above), losing 5-15% of your body weight will improve your health. Aim to lose no more than 1 kg per week. Continue to maintain a healthy body weight after you lose weight. Repeated weight loss followed by weight gain is called the yo-yo effect or weight cycling. This is usually the result of quick-fix diets and weight-loss gimmicks. The only way to maintain a BMI in the healthy range is to commit to lifelong changes in your eating and exercise habits.

Checklist for a sensible weight-loss programme


Check your BMI. Set a realistic weight goal. Your rate of weight loss should not be more than 1 kg per week. Include a balanced, low-calorie diet and regular physical activity in your weight-loss programme. Avoid slimming teas, drugs and pills except under medical supervision. Aim for long-term weight control and prevention of weight gain instead of short- term, rapid weight loss.

Note: If your BMI falls within the high risk group (27.5 kg/m2 and above) and you have a personal or family history of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or abnormal blood lipids, consult a doctor before starting a weight-loss programme. You may also seek advice from a qualified dietitian or a certified physical fitness instructor.

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Aim to achieve and maintain a healthy BMI

My BMI is less than 18.5 kg/m2. What should I do to achieve a healthy BMI?

To achieve a BMI in the healthy range, eat a well-balanced diet using the Healthy Diet Pyramid as a guide. You can include some high energy and nutrient-rich food in your diet. Consult your doctor or a qualified dietitian for further advice. In addition, aim for a gradual increase in portion sizes at meal times. If your appetite is small, eat smaller amounts of food more often. Exercise regularly, even as you aim to achieve a BMI in the healthy range. Remember, the benefits of physical activity go beyond weight control.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. Do high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets work?


Many popular high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets are low-calorie diets. Any diet, regardless of its dietary composition, that does not provide enough energy to meet the bodys energy needs will lead to weight loss. People on high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets are usually advised to eat large amounts of protein-rich foods such as meat, poultry, eggs and fats, and to restrict carbohydrate-rich foods such as rice, noodles, bread and most fruit and vegetables. A main assertion of such diets is that all carbohydrates are bad. Eating foods made from refined carbohydrates (e.g. sugar, white flour, white rice) has the effect of raising blood sugar levels quickly, followed by a dip. Such effects can trigger hunger pangs and overeating. However, foods such as whole grains, fruit, vegetables and beans are good sources of unrefined carbohydrates. These foods tend to contain more water and dietary fibre and provide bulk, reducing the risk of overeating. A diet high in fruit, vegetables and whole grains also reduces ones risk of getting chronic diseases. High protein, low-carbohydrate diets are not recommended because: they exclude important groups of food and are nutritionally inadequate. little is known about the safety of such diets when consumed over a long period of time, especially its effects on blood cholesterol levels, bone loss and kidney stones.
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Aim to achieve and maintain a healthy BMI


To lose weight healthily and successfully, follow the advice outlined in the section on losing weight.

2. Do slimming pills and teas help achieve weight loss?


No, slimming pills and teas do not help you lose weight effectively in the long term. The use of slimming products may lead to rapid weight loss initially. Many slimming products contain substances that suppress the appetite, stimulate metabolism or induce water loss from the body. It is not safe to use these products without medical supervision. Moreover, slimming products are usually expensive and do not help change the overweight individuals eating and exercise habits, which are the root causes of weight gain. This makes the maintenance of weight loss difficult.

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Make the right choice for good health

Check out these recommendations when planning your meals: Eat sufficient amounts of grains, especially whole grains Eat 2 servings of fruit and 2 servings of vegetables daily Choose and prepare food with less fat, especially saturated fat Choose and prepare food with less salt and sauces Choose beverages and food with less sugar If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.

And dont forget... Choose products with the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS)

The Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS)

Look out for the HCS on your next trip to the supermarket and provision shop. Products with the HCS are lower in fat, saturated fat and sodium. Some products are also higher in dietary fibre and calcium compared to other products in similar categories.

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Guideline 3: Eat sufficient amounts of grains, especially whole grains

Rice, wheat, corn and barley - grains come in all shapes, textures and colours. Grains are eaten whole or as products made from flour such as noodles, bread, roti prata, chapati, thosai and biscuits.

Boost your energy levels with grains

Grains and grain products belong to the rice and alternatives food group found at the base of the Healthy Diet Pyramid. These foods should form the bulk of your diet. Foods made from grains provide carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fibre and beneficial plant substances (phytochemicals) that are important for good health. They are also the main sources of energy for our daily activities. Grain products are naturally low in fat, unless fat is added during processing, preparation or at the table.

What are whole grains?

A grain is made up of three layers:

Endosperm
contains mainly protein and carbohydrate

Germ
contains B vitamins, trace minerals and some protein

Bran
rich in B vitamins, trace minerals and dietary fibre

bran, the fibre-rich outer layer; endosperm, the starch-laden middle layer; and germ, the smallest portion of the grain. It is packed with nutrients.

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Eat sufficient amounts of grains, especially whole grains


When grains are polished or refined, the bran and germ are removed, leaving only the endosperm. Grains that are unrefined contain all three layers and are called whole grains.

3 great reasons to eat more whole grains

1. Whole grains have more vitamins (vitamins B and E), minerals (iron, zinc and magnesium), fibre and beneficial plant substances (phytochemicals) than refined or polished grains. 2. Whole grains are rich in fibre, which promotes proper bowel function and helps you feel full with fewer calories. As whole grains provide bulk by absorbing fluid, it is important to consume enough fluids daily (1.5 - 2.0 litres) to prevent constipation. 3. A diet rich in whole grains protects you against chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and certain cancers.

Increase your intake of wholegrain food today!


Include at least 1 serving of the following in your daily meals: oat porridge wholemeal or wholegrain breads brown rice brown rice beehoon wholemeal spaghetti chapati wholemeal biscuits and crackers desserts made from black glutinous rice (bubur pulut hitam) and white wheat (bubur terigu)

Buy packaged grain products with whole stated on the ingredients list, such as whole grains and whole wheat.

Note: Wheat flour and enriched flour are not whole grains.

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Eat sufficient amounts of grains, especially whole grains

Tips on storing and cooking whole grains

Storing
Buy whole grains in small amounts. Whole grains such as brown rice do not keep as well as refined grains. Store whole grains in airtight containers away from heat, light and moisture. Wholemeal bread has a shorter shelf life than white bread. Check the expiry date when purchasing, to ensure freshness. Store in the refrigerator to prolong its shelf life.

Cooking
Add more water when you cook whole grains. Whole grains absorb more water than refined grains. To shorten cooking time, soak whole grains in water before cooking.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. Unpolished rice comes in different colours such as yellow, brown and red. Are they equally nutritious?
All unpolished rice are equally nutritious, regardless of their colour. The difference in the colour of the grains is due to the different colour pigments in the bran of the grains.

2. Can I take fibre supplements instead of eating whole grains?


To obtain the best health benefits, eat whole grains, fruit, vegetables and pulses instead of fibre supplements. Fibre supplements do not contain the different types of fibre, nutrients and protective substances that are found in food.

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Guideline 4: Eat more fruit and vegetables every day

Do you know that Singaporeans are not eating enough fruit and vegetables?

Quick Quiz

What is the proportion of Singaporeans who eat the recommended 2 servings of fruit and 2 servings of vegetables every day? A. 1 in 5 B. 1 in 3 C. 1 in 2 Please turn to page 42 for the answer.

2+2 juicy reasons to eat more fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant substances (phytochemicals). They help strengthen the bodys immune system. Fruit and vegetables contain both soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre lowers blood cholesterol, while insoluble fibre promotes healthy bowel functions. A diet rich in fruit and vegetables lowers your risk of developing heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer by 20-30%. Fruit and vegetables stimulate your senses and appetite by adding a variety of colours, flavours and textures to your meals.

Fruit for thought


Our bones are largely made up of calcium. A diet high in meat and low in fruit and vegetables may leach calcium away from our bones. This can increase the risk of osteoporosis over time. The nutrients found in fruit and vegetables can slow down the leaching effect, which keep our bones strong and less prone to fractures. So bone up with fruit and vegetables today!

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Eat more fruit and vegetables every day

Aim for 2 + 2

Ask for more vegetables when eating out. Include at least one vegetable-based dish for lunch and dinner. Buy enough fruit and vegetables to provide 2+2 servings each day for everyone in your family. Be creative! Experiment with fruit and vegetables in your cooking. End your meal with a fruit. Fresh apples, oranges, pears and bananas are healthy desserts and need little or no preparation. Bring a piece of fruit to work. Placing the fruit on your desk will remind you of the reward that awaits you after a hard days work.

Aim for variety

Different fruit and vegetables are rich in different nutrients, so eat a variety for maximum health benefits! Dark green leafy vegetables are rich in iron, folate and calcium. Brightly coloured fruit and vegetables on the other hand contain more nutrients and beneficial plant substances (phytochemicals) than pale-coloured ones. You can consume fruits fresh, frozen, dried or juiced. All forms provide vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, and all provide fibre except for juices.

Tips on how to preserve the freshness and nutritional quality of fruit and vegetables

Storing
Store bananas and root vegetables such as potato and yam in a cool, dry place, but not in the refrigerator which may be too cold. Consume your leafy greens soon after you buy them. Leafy vegetables spoil faster due to their higher water content. Store ripe fruit separately from vegetables. Ripe fruit produces ethylene gas that cause green leafy vegetables to turn yellow. Frozen vegetables (e.g frozen green peas) can be kept for months in the freezer compartment with little change in nutrient content, taste and texture. Also, frozen vegetables need not be thawed before cooking.

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Eat more fruit and vegetables every day

Preparing
Prepare fruit and vegetables just before consumption. Rinse all fruit and vegetables thoroughly in a basin of tap water to remove any dirt, bacteria or chemical residues. When rinsing your greens, pay attention to the base of the stems, where dirt and pesticides tend to get trapped. Soak the vegetables in a basin of fresh tap water for 15 minutes. Before cutting and cooking, rinse the vegetables once more under a tap or in a basin of fresh tap water. Minimise cutting or shredding to reduce nutrient loss.

Cooking
Use only a small amount of oil when frying to prevent your vegetables sticking to the pan. Let the heat from the pan cook the vegetables. Cook quickly over high heat to minimise nutrient loss. Do not overcook vegetables. Do not add sodium bicarbonate (i.e. baking soda) to vegetables. It destroys the vitamin C content. Retain water used for boiling vegetables to prepare soup stock.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. Should I eat more fruit and vegetables than the recommended servings every day?
Fruit and vegetables are high in fibre and provide bulk. Hence, eating more than what is recommended may spoil your appetite for other food. Fruit and vegetables alone do not contain all the essential nutrients needed for health. To stay healthy, you need to eat the recommended servings of food from the other food groups in the Healthy Diet Pyramid as well. Aim for the recommended 2+2 servings of fruit and vegetables daily.

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Eat more fruit and vegetables every day

2. Should vegetables be eaten raw for maximum benefits?


Not necessarily. Appropriate cooking helps to break down plant cell walls, thus increasing the availability of phytochemicals for your body to absorb. Follow the preparation and cooking tips provided earlier to help you get the most out of consuming fruit and vegetables.

3. Are fruit and vegetable juices effective substitutes for fresh fruit and vegetables? If so, how much should be consumed?
Valuable fibre is removed in the process of making fruit and vegetable juices. Therefore, it is best to eat fresh fruit and vegetables instead of drinking juice. If you have difficulty chewing your food, liquidise fruit and vegetables with a blender instead of using a juicer. This is to minimise loss of fibre. Of the 2 servings of fruit and 2 servings of vegetables recommended daily, not more than 1 serving should come from juice for each group.

4. Brightly coloured fruit and vegetables have been recommended as better choices. What about pale-coloured ones?
Brightly coloured fruit and vegetables contain more phytochemicals than pale-coloured ones. Phytochemicals also give fruit and vegetables their bright colours. However, there are pale-coloured varieties that are nutritious as well, such as guava and cruciferous vegetables like cabbages and cauliflowers. All fruit and vegetables are good sources of fibre and potassium. For healthy adults, a diet that is proportionately higher in potassium and low in sodium helps to maintain their blood pressure within the healthy range. Thus, it is important to eat a variety to obtain the best health benefits.

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Eat more fruit and vegetables every day

5. Are cut apples that have turned brown still nutritious?


Cut apples turn brown because of the chemical reaction between the cut surfaces of the fruit with oxygen in the air. The loss in nutritional value of a cut fruit is mainly determined by the length of exposure to the air. The longer it is exposed to air, the more nutrients are lost. Squeeze some lemon juice on the fruit to minimise this process.

6. Can I lose weight by eating fruit and vegetables only?


No single food can cause weight loss. Weight loss occurs when you take in fewer calories than you use through physical activity. Instead of including or excluding certain foods from your diet, it is more important to consider how the food is prepared and cooked, and the amount eaten. For example, a piece of goreng pisang contains more calories than a fresh banana. Similarly, one piece of eggplant tempura has more calories than one serving of boiled eggplant. Overeating any type of food also increases the risk of excessive calorie intake, which will tip your energy balance towards weight gain.

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Guideline 5: Choose and prepare food with less fat, especially saturated fat
Fat is an essential nutrient for a healthy body. It provides energy and helps our bodies absorb, transport and store fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

However, fat also provides more than twice the number of calories for an equal amount of carbohydrate or protein. If you consistently consume more calories than you use through physical activity, you gain weight and may become obese over time.

Fat in foods

There are 4 types of fat:


saturated fat trans fat monounsaturated fat polyunsaturated fat

Fats and oils in food contain a mixture of these types of fat in different proportions. If your diet is high in saturated fat and trans fat, and low in unsaturated fat, it increases your risk of getting heart disease and stroke. Saturated fat is found mainly in animal products (e.g. fatty cuts of meat, the skin and fat of poultry). It is also found in high-fat dairy products (e.g. butter, full cream milk and milk products). Coconut milk, coconut cream and blended vegetable oils, used in cooking, are also high in saturated fat. A diet high in saturated fat tends to raise blood cholesterol levels. Monounsaturated fat is found in olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, most nuts and avocados. Other vegetable oils (e.g., corn, soybean, sunflower and safflower) and deep sea fish such as salmon, codfish and tuna are good sources of polyunsaturated fat. Both reduce blood cholesterol when they replace saturated fat in the diet. While monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat have health benefits, they should still be consumed in moderation.

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Choose and prepare food with less fat, especially saturated fat

Fat Fact
Fish is a rich source of unsaturated fat, especially omega-3 fat, which helps prevent heart disease and stroke. Eat fish twice a week as part of the meat and alternatives recommendation. Choose oily fish like mackerel, herring, sardines, tuna and salmon, which are high in omega-3 fat. Vegetarians can get their omega-3 fat from dried peas, beans and nuts.

Trans fat is produced in the manufacturing process when vegetable oils are hydrogenated or hardened for use in commercial deep-frying (all fast food restaurants use hydrogenated vegetable oil) and in processed products (e.g. factory-made cakes, pastries, biscuits and potato chips). Trans fat, like saturated fat, tends to raise blood cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol in foods

Cholesterol is found only in animal foods. It is not found in plant foods like grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts and pulses. Foods high in cholesterol (e.g. egg yolks, organ meats and shellfish) can raise blood cholesterol levels. This is especially so if your diet is already high in total and saturated fat. Your daily cholesterol intake should be less than 300 mg. Eat no more than 4 egg yolks a week. Limit your consumption of organ meat and shellfish to no more than twice a week.

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Choose and prepare food with less fat, especially saturated fat
Food Items Eggs Salted egg, 1 whole Century egg, 1 whole Hens egg (brown and white shell), 1 whole Omega-3 rich egg, 1 whole Lower cholesterol egg, 1 whole Quails eggs Seafood* Cuttlefish Lobster Abalone Crab Prawns (without head) Fish Meat and poultry* Mutton, lean Beef, lean Chicken breast, skinless Pork, lean
* Raw edible portion weight

Weight (g)

Cholesterol content (mg) 370 320 210 190 180 - 190 80 300 120 120 70 70 <100 70 60 60 50

70 115 50 60 50 10 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

What about good and bad cholesterol?

There is no good or bad cholesterol in food. Cholesterol is only classified as good or bad within your body. Good, or HDL cholesterol, removes cholesterol from the body cells to the liver for breakdown, cleaning the arteries. Bad, or LDL cholesterol, transports cholesterol from the liver to the body cells. Increased levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood will lead to fat being deposited on the inner walls of the arteries, which clogs the arteries. The main culprits that increase LDL or bad cholesterol levels in the bloodstream are saturated fat and trans fat. However, unsaturated fat lowers LDL levels while monounsaturated fat can raise HDL levels.

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Choose and prepare food with less fat, especially saturated fat

Fat allowance of adults

The estimated fat allowance for the typical inactive Singaporean is shown in this table: Total fat (g) Saturated fat (g) 21 or less 17 or less

Men (based on energy intake of 2100 kcal) Women (based on energy intake of 1700 kcal)

70 56

How To Keep Your Fat In Check

Reduce your saturated fat intake when you cut down your total fat intake. Look out for visible and hidden sources of fat. Visible sources of fat include oil floating on soups, creamy sauces and thick curries and the glistening coating on deep fried food. Hidden sources of fat refers to the fat that blends so well into foods like cakes, pastries and certain kuehs. This table tells you the fat content of some commonly eaten food: Total Fat (g) 1 bowl of laksa lemak 1 plate of nasi briyani with chicken 1 plate of fried kway teow 1 plate of fried hokkien prawn mee 1 chicken curry puff 1 piece of fried chicken drumstick with skin 1 egg tart 1 slice of kueh lapis (baked) 40 37 25 19 16 13 10 10

Fat Trap!
The way food is prepared can change its fat profile. Processed food usually has a higher fat content. For example, a steamed fish has little fat, but a commercially breaded deep-fried fish fillet has 4 times more fat, most of it saturated fat.

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Choose and prepare food with less fat, especially saturated fat

Quick Quiz

What is the proportion of Singaporeans who exceed their dietary allowance of fat? A. 1 in 4 B. 1 in 3 C. 1 in 2 Turn to page 42 for the answers.

Eat less fat, especially saturated fat, today!

Heres how:

Cooking
Use less oil. Choose oils higher in unsaturated fat. Replace coconut cream or milk with reduced-fat milk. Use reduced-fat milk in beverages and cereals instead of creamer and condensed milk. Limit deep-frying to twice a week. Cool soups, curries and stews to allow fat to solidify. Skim off the solidified fat before reheating. Use fat spreads (e.g. peanut butter, margarine, butter, cheese spreads and kaya) sparingly. Choose soft margarine over hard margarine. Replace meat dishes with tofu, peas and lentils on some days. Use lean cuts of meat and poultry. Remove visible fat and skin.

Eating out
Ask for less oil. Ask for skin to be removed from meat and poultry dishes. Choose dishes cooked without coconut cream or coconut milk. Choose plain rice over flavoured rice (e.g. chicken rice, nasi lemak, nasi briyani).

Buying food products


Choose products with the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS). Read the Nutrition Information Panel (NIP). Compare the NIP of similar food products and choose those that are lower in fat. Read the ingredient list for fat and oils. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. When oils are listed high on the ingredient list, their content in the product is of the highest amount. Generally, all oils used in processed foods are blended or hydrogenated. Thus processed foods have proportionately higher amounts of saturated fat and/or trans fat. Choose food labelled low fat, reduced fat, skimmed or fat free.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. Margarine contains trans fat. Is it a healthier choice than butter?


Soft margarine has less than half the amount of trans fat compared to hard margarine. A teaspoonful (5g) of soft margarine provides less than 1g of trans fat. The total amount of trans fat and saturated fat in soft margarine is less than half that in butter. Hence, soft margarine is still a healthier choice than butter. There are several varieties of trans fat-free soft margarine on the market.

2. Are all vegetable oils the same?


No, most blended vegetable oils have proportionately higher levels of saturated fat compared to pure vegetable oils. Blended vegetable oil is the most common cooking oil used by Singaporeans. It is a major source of fat and saturated fat in our diet. Many blended vegetable cooking oils contain palm olein as the main ingredient and have 4050% saturated fat. In comparison, pure vegetable oils such as corn, soybean, sunflower, safflower, canola and peanut oil have proportionately higher levels of unsaturated fat. Most of these oils have only 10-20% saturated fat. As for blended vegetable cooking oils, there are several brands in the market that have lower levels of saturated fat. Look out for brands that carry the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS).

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Guideline 6: Choose and prepare food with less salt and sauces

Salt contains 40% sodium. Excessive sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke and kidney disease

Quick Quiz

What is the proportion of Singaporeans who take too much salt? A. 9 in 10 B. 6 in 10 C. 1 in 10 Please turn to page 42 for the answer.

Where does sodium in our diet come from?

We get sodium from: what is found naturally in food what food manufacturers add during processing what we add when cooking what we add at the table.

Most foods are naturally low in sodium. However, salt and sauces such as soy sauce, ketchup and chilli sauce added in the preparation of food and at the table contribute to most of the sodium we consume daily.

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Choose and prepare food with less salt and sauces


An average healthy adult needs no more than 2,000 mg of sodium a day (equivalent to a teaspoon of salt). However, the average Singaporean takes 3,527 mg of sodium a day. The following list shows the sodium content of foods commonly eaten by Singaporeans.

Sodium content of common food


Food Seasonings Salt Stock cube Salt substitute MSG Light soya sauce Reduced-salt soya sauce Dark soya sauce Chilli sauce Tomato sauce Local dishes Mee goreng Nasi briyani with chicken Fishball noodles (dry) Char kway teow Chicken rice Processed food Chicken curry, canned Salted egg French fries Potato crisps Carbonated soft drink Quantity 1 teaspoon 1 teaspoon 1 teaspoon 1 teaspoon 1 teaspoon 1 teaspoon 1 teaspoon 1 teaspoon 1 teaspoon 1 plate 1 plate 1 bowl 1 plate 1 plate 1 can 1 medium 1 regular serving 1 packet 1 can Sodium content (mg) 2000 920 865 615 365 185 200 60 50 1800 1660 1650 1460 1290 1250 350 200 180 40

Salt Trap!
Fresh foods are naturally low in sodium. However, salt is often added when these foods are canned or processed, so they can become very high in sodium. Read the food labels to detect the salt traps!

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Choose and prepare food with less salt and sauces

Reduce your salt intake with these tantalising tips!

Reducing salt intake is a challenge for Singaporeans, especially those who often eat out and consume large amounts of processed food. Salt is an acquired taste. You can recondition your taste buds to reduce the salt intake. When you eat at home: Fresh is best. Most fresh foods contain glutamate, a natural taste enhancer. Glutamate-rich foods include meat, poultry, fish and vegetables such as peas, tomatoes, corn and mushrooms. These foods can easily be included in your daily meals. They provide natural flavours without the need to add salt and sauces. Try natural seasonings. If you need to spice up your meals, use natural seasonings instead. You can prepare tasty dishes with fresh or dried herbs such as parsley, coriander, onion, garlic, chives and spring onions. Spices, such as cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, pepper, curry powder and chilli powder enhance a dishs flavour without increasing its salt content. You can also flavour your food with lemon, lime or orange juice.

When you eat out: Ask for less sauce and gravy. Taste food first. Use salt, sauce and pickles only if needed.

When you are shopping for food: Choose fresh over processed food. Choose less salt-preserved, cured and smoked food. Examples include Szechuan vegetables, salted eggs, ham, sausages and smoked salmon.

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Choose and prepare food with less salt and sauces


Read food labels to compare the amount of sodium in processed food. Choose food labeled reduced salt low in salt or sodium salt or sodium free no added salt

Look for food items carrying the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS).

Food for thought


When eating preserved meat (e.g. luncheon meat, sausages, bacon), include some fruit and vegetables (as a juice or salad) within the same meal. Vitamins in fruit and vegetables may protect against potentially harmful effects of the preservatives used. Another great reason to eat more fruit and vegetables!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. What are salt substitutes? Are they a good replacement for salt?
Salt substitutes are products which have some of the sodium chloride replaced with potassium chloride. They contain approximately half the amount of sodium compared to table salt. Used in place of salt in the same amount, salt substitutes help lower the sodium content of the diet. However, these products do not help recondition the taste buds as they reinforce the liking for salty food. Hence, they should still be used sparingly. If you are on medication for diabetes, heart or kidney diseases, please consult your doctor before using salt substitutes.

2. Is lowering salt intake safe?


Yes. This is because healthy adults need only small amounts of salt (i.e. less than a quarter teaspoon of salt daily) to meet their needs. Our recommendation that you limit your daily salt intake to no more than a teaspoon far exceeds the salt requirement.
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Guideline 7: Choose beverages and food with less sugar

Sugar provides empty calories (calories with no nutritional value). One teaspoon of sugar contains 20 calories and not much else.

Consuming too many beverages and food high in added sugar can lead to: Excess calorie intake. It also spoils your appetite for nutritious food. Tooth decay, especially if oral hygiene is neglected.

Where does sugar in our diet come from?

We get sugar from:

what is found naturally in food, such as milk, fruit and some vegetables what is added to food during processing or preparation.

There are different forms of sugar and no one form is healthier than the other. Always read food labels to detect the added sugar. If you see any of the ingredients listed in the following table as the first few ingredients, the food has high added sugar content. Names for added sugars that appear on food labels Brown sugar Cane sugar Corn sweetener Corn syrup Dextrose Fructose Glucose High-fructose corn syrup Honey Icing sugar Invert sugar Lactose Malt syrup Maltodextrin Maltose Molasses Raw sugar Starch hydrolysates Sucrose Syrup Table sugar White sugar

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Choose beverages and food with less sugar

Consume added sugar in moderation

For the average adult, the allowance for added sugar is approximately 40-55g a day, which is about 8-11 teaspoons. This limit includes sugar added to beverages and sugar contained in food such as cakes and candies. Sniff out the sweet stuff in the table below:

Added sugar content of selected food and drinks


Food and beverages Quantity Sugar content (teaspoons) 7 6 5 3 2 1

Beverages Carbonated soft drink Bubble tea with milk and pearls Non-carbonated drink , regular sweetened Non-carbonated drink, not-so-sweet 3-in-1 coffee powder 3-in-1 coffee powder, low sugar Food Ice-cream sundae Chendol Black forest cake Jam Sweetened condensed milk

1 can 1 cup 1 packet 1 packet 1 sachet 1 sachet

1 cup 1 bowl 1 slice 1 tablespoon 1 tablespoon

10 9 4 3 2

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Choose beverages and food with less sugar

6 zingy tips to reduce your sugar intake

Like salt, sugar is an acquired taste. Recondition your taste buds to accept food that is less sweet with these tips: 1. Choose plain water, milk and fruit juices over sweetened drinks. 2. Taste beverages first. Add a little sugar or syrup only if necessary. 3. When eating out, ask for less sugar and syrup in your beverages and desserts, e.g. red bean soup. 4. Read food labels to compare the amount of sugar in packaged food. 5. Choose food labeled no added sugar or unsweetened less or reduced sugar low in sugar sugar free.

6. Use spreads like jam, kaya and marmalade sparingly.

Sugar substitutes

Sugar substitutes (e.g., saccharin, aspartame and sorbitol) are ingredients that deliver a sweet taste with just a fraction of the calories of sugar. Some people find them useful if they want a sweet taste without the calories. However, be careful when you consume certain sugar substitutes: Mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol cause diarrhoea if used in excess. Individuals with phenylkatonuria (PKU) should avoid aspartame as it contains phenylalanine. PKU is a genetic disorder in which the body cannot process phenylalanine properly.

Sweetened drinks

People usually compensate for overeating by eating less at the next meal. However, people do not compensate as much when they drink sweetened drinks (e.g. soft drinks and sodas).

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Choose beverages and food with less sugar

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. If a product claims on its food label that it has no added sugar, does this mean it is sugar-free?
No. Even unsweetened products such as juices, milk and canned fruit contain naturally occurring sugar. The Nutrition Information Panel (NIP) on the food label gives the content of both naturally occurring and added sugar. To find out if sugar has been added, look at the ingredients list on the food label. Look out for words ending with -ose, (e.g. dextrose, maltose and fructose). These are basically different forms of sugars.

2. Are reduced-sugar products lower in calories?


Not-so-sweet and unsweetened juices contain less sugar and are generally lower in calories than regular drinks and juices. However, some food products which carry the reduced-sugar claim may be high in fat. Check the NIP on food labels if you are unsure. Compare the values of similar products to choose one that provides less fat and more vitamins, minerals or fibre for the same energy content.

3. Can I use sugar substitutes to help me lose weight?


Sugar substitutes are low in calories. Some people find them useful to get the sweet taste without the added calories. However, foods which contain sugar substitutes are not necessarily calorie free. Unless you reduce the total calories consumed and increase physical activity, using sugar substitutes will not make you lose weight.

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Guideline 8: If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation


Alcoholic beverages are harmful when consumed in excess. Heavy drinking can increase the risk of high blood pressure stroke liver diseases certain cancers injuries caused by alcohol-induced motor vehicle accidents.

Alcohol also provides empty calories (i.e. calories with no nutritional value). Heavy drinkers are at risk of malnutrition if they substitute alcoholic beverages for nutritious food.

Drink in moderation

If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation. Women should drink no more than 2 standard drinks a day and men should drink no more than 3 standard drinks a day. Individuals who often drink beyond the alcohol limit should gradually cut down on their alcohol intake.

What counts as a standard alcoholic drink?


2 /3 can (220 ml) regular beer 1 glass (100 ml) wine 1 nip (30 ml) spirit

Note: A standard alcoholic drink contains 10 g of pure alcohol.

4 sobering tips to moderate alcohol intake

Heres how: 1. Keep track of how much you drink. Keeping track of how much you drink can help control alcohol consumption. 2. Decide in advance how many drinks you will consume. Whether you drink outside or at home, decide in advance how many glasses you will have to prevent over consumption. Politely refuse if your friends or business associates insist you drink more. Telling them you have to drive, control a medical condition or are on a special diet helps. Never exceed your alcohol limit.

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If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation


3. Do not drink alcohol to quench your thirst. Have a refreshing non-alcoholic drink such as water, soda or juice to quench your thirst. Alcoholic beverages cause dehydration. 4. Dilute alcoholic beverages. Do not drink alcohol neat (i.e. with nothing added). Select diluted alcoholic beverages such as coolers or spritzers. Mix alcoholic beverages with ice, water, juice or soda.

Who should not drink?

Some people should not drink alcoholic beverages at all. They include children and adolescents individuals of any age who cannot restrict their drinking to moderate levels women who are pregnant or are planning to have a child individuals who plan to drive, operate machinery or take part in other activities that require attention, skill or coordination individuals taking prescription or over-the-counter medication that can interact with alcohol individuals with a family history of high blood triglycerides, inflammation of the pancreas, liver disease, certain blood disorders, heart failure and uncontrolled high blood pressure.

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If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Does drinking red wine offer protection against heart disease?


Red wine has been associated with numerous health benefits, including a lower rate of heart disease. Studies have shown that drinking small to moderate amounts (1-3 standard drinks) of red wine daily may help protect middle-aged and older adults against heart disease. However, before you uncork that bottle of red wine, remember that alcohol is addictive. Heavy drinking can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, obesity and liver failure. Due to the harmful health and social consequences of alcohol consumption, adults who do not drink alcoholic beverages should not start even though there are potential heart health benefits. The best way to achieve good heart health is to Choose a healthy diet Do regular physical activity Avoid smoking Maintain a healthy body weight.

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The 4 Cs to Good Nutrition - Where To Find Out More About Healthy Eating
How many Cs do you have? Give yourself a head start in good nutrition with the Health Promotion Boards 4 Cs: Click on www.hpb.gov.sg for instant access to a wealth of information on leading a healthy lifestyle. Use the Food Info Search (under HPB eResources) to obtain helpful nutrition information on commonly eaten foods and dietary habits. Check out the Health Information Centre (HIC) for resource materials (books, booklets, brochures, etc.) on nutrition and other health topics.

Opening Hours
Mondays to Fridays : 8.30am - 5.00pm Saturdays : 8.30am - 1.00pm Sundays and Public Holidays: Closed

Location of Health Information Centre


Level 3 Health Promotion Board 3 Second Hospital Avenue Singapore 168937 Come visit us at HealthZone for a fun-filled, educational and interactive experience. Learn more about healthy eating and living as you tour Singapores only family health exhibition centre.

Opening Hours
Tuesdays - Saturdays: 9.00am - 5.00pm (Last admission at 4.00pm) Mondays: 1.00pm - 5.00pm Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays

Location of HealthZone
Level 2 Health Promotion Board 3 Second Hospital Avenue Singapore 168937

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Where To Find Out More About Healthy Eating


Call HealthLine, our toll-free health information service, which is available in 4 languages. (a) For personal advice on general health and nutrition issues, call 1800 223 1313 during office hours, or (b) You can call our 24-hour pre-recorded health information service at 1800 848 1313 to get information on a wide variety of topics related to nutrition and healthy eating.

Answers to Health Questions

Page 19
B. Despite the abundant supply of fresh fruit and vegetables in Singapore, a survey in 2001 showed that only 1 in 3 adult Singaporeans are eating enough fruit and vegetables.

Page 28
C. The 1998 National Nutrition Survey revealed that half of Singaporean adults exceed their dietary allowance of fat.

Page 30
A. The 1998 National Nutrition Survey revealed that 9 out of 10 Singaporeans exceed the recommended allowance of salt.

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Notes

Notes

Health Promotion Board 3 Second Hospital Avenue, Singapore 168937 www.hpb.gov.sg


Copyright HPB B E 438-05 April 2005 Designed and Printed by The Daily Bread

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