Sun, Jun 18, 2017 - Page 3 News List

People choosing healthier food at convenience stores

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

More Taiwanese who eat meals at convenience stores have been choosing healthier, unprocessed foods than before, the John Tung Foundation said yesterday, citing data on the top 10 types of instant food sold in convenience stores.

About 68 percent of Taiwanese aged between 13 and 64 often eat out for three meals per day, of which 77.6 percent eat food from convenience stores, the foundation said, citing a 2014 report by a market research company.

The foundation’s food and nutrition division in 2015 began asking convenience stores for lists of their best-selling food items to analyze the public’s general food consumption behaviors, it said.

After comparing the lists of Taiwan FamilyMart’s best-selling foods in 2015 and last year, the foundation found that hard-boiled tea eggs and baked sweet potatoes were the No. 1 and No. 2 best sellers respectively, while bananas last year moved up the list to No. 4, replacing hot dogs.

In 2015, bananas were found only in top 10 lists in the north, but last year they were included in central and southern lists as well, the foundation said, adding that aside from showing the public’s willingness to buy fruits at convenience stores, the data might also indicate that more people are trying to eat healthy.

FamilyMart data showed that sales of fruits, nuts, salads, unsweetened dried fruits and unsweetened tea have been rising over the past few years, the foundation said, adding that the convenience store operator has increased the types of fresh fruits it sells from 12 in 2015 to 17 last year.

However, a 2015 online survey of office workers’ top 10 afternoon snacks showed that they preferred foods high in fat or sugar, which have excessive caloric contents and can cause negative health effects if eaten too often, the foundation said.

The foundation recommended that office workers choose foods high in calcium, fiber and nutrition when buying snacks.

It also provided a useful tip for people who are on a diet: Cooling sweet potatoes in a refrigerator raises their levels of resistant starch, which is more difficult to digest, meaning people will feel full after eating, but consume fewer calories.

Cooling cooked rice increases the level of resistant starch, the Food and Drug Administration said on its Web site, adding that as resistant starch cannot be fully broken down and absorbed — instead turning into short-chain fatty acids by intestinal bacteria — it functions like soluble fiber, meaning fewer calories are ingested than when rice is eaten hot.

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