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Fruits and veg­gies de­lay on­set of chronic dis­eases

Eat­ing plenty of fresh fruit, vegeta­bles and whole grains helps pre­vent peo­ple from de­vel­op­ing more than one chronic dis­ease, says a new med­i­cal re­search con­ducted by the Univer­sity of Ade­laide. The re­search ex­am­ined the link be­tween diet and 11 chronic dis­eases in­clud­ing anaemia, hy­per­ten­sion, di­a­betes, arthri­tis, hep­ati­tis, coro­nary heart dis­ease, asthma, stroke and can­cer.

The find­ings say that peo­ple who eat a higher amount of fruit are less likely to de­velop any new chronic dis­ease, while a high in­take of vegeta­bles helps pre­vent peo­ple with one chronic dis­ease from de­vel­op­ing a sec­ond. "The find­ings are in line with cur­rent food guides rec­om­men­da­tions on fruits and vegeta­bles and whole grain ce­re­als," the re­searchers said.

"Risk fac­tors such as smok­ing, lack of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and nu­tri­tion are al­ready known to be linked to the devel­op­ment of chronic dis­ease. But this is the first time re­search has shown that nu­tri­tion it­self is di­rectly as­so­ci­ated with the devel­op­ment of mul­ti­ple chronic dis­eases over time," says study co-au­thor Dr Zu­min Shi.

"There is al­ready a lot of gen­eral nu­tri­tion aware­ness among the pop­u­la­tion but this study re­in­forces the need for broad ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams about the ben­e­fits of healthy eat­ing," Dr Shi added.

The re­sults of the study, pub­lished in this month's is­sue of the jour­nal Clin­i­cal Nu­tri­tion, looked at health, diet and life­style data of more than 1,000 Chi­nese peo­ple over a five-year pe­riod.

Give your chil­dren wa­ter – not sugar-full drinks

Par­ents should only serve wa­ter with meals and ban fizzy drinks and juices from the dining ta­ble in order to re­duce their chil­dren’s in­take of sugar, nu­tri­tion ex­perts have said. Sugar-sweet­ened drinks, in­clud­ing sports drinks, are a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to the obe­sity epi­demic among chil­dren. While the obe­sity prob­lem does not have easy so­lu­tions, avoid­ing sug­ary drinks will help, the ex­perts as­sure.

The rec­om­men­da­tion comes ahead of sci­en­tific ad­vice to be pub­lished by Pub­lic Health Eng­land about how much sugar peo­ple should con­sume and pro­posed mea­sures to re­duce pub­lic lev­els of con­sump­tion. The UK govern­ment’s Sci­en­tific Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee on Nu­tri­tion will also pub­lish a draft re­port on health and car­bo­hy­drates. The sug­ges­tions are ex­pected to in­clude ef­forts aimed at con­trol­ling the sugar in­take of teens and chil­dren along with a tax on soft drinks.

The ex­perts stated the ma­jor ef­fect of sugar on health was that it acted as a source of calo­ries in the food which could re­sult in obe­sity. They also added that sugar, be­sides caus­ing obe­sity, might raise the dan­ger of heart com­pli­ca­tions and Type 2 di­a­betes as well.

As per the cur­rent guid­ance, calo­ries from su­gars should not be more than 11 per cent in the daily calo­ries in­take, whether it is added by man­u­fac­turer or in the cook­ing, and in­cludes sugar from syrup, honey and fruit juice. The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion has also stated in its draft guide­lines that su­gars should not ac­count for over 10 per cent of en­ergy in­take. It has ad­vis­esd that gov­ern­ments and peo­ple should tar­get 5 per cent.

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