Thu, Feb 15, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Nutritionist warns against holiday snacking

By Su Meng-chuan and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Eating four pieces of peanut candy or nougat is roughly equivalent to eating a bowl of white rice, a Taichung-based nutritionist said ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.

One piece of peanut candy or nougat contains 70 to 80 calories, one piece of pork jerky contains 35 calories and one sesame egg roll contains 86 calories, said Sung Wei-chi (宋瑋琪), a nutritionist at the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Taichung Hospital.

A 60kg adult needs to speed-walk for 55 minutes or jog for 36 minutes to burn 300 calories, Sung said.

During the holiday, many people eat nuts, dried shredded squid, candy and other snacks besides traditional Lunar New Year dishes, Sung said.

However, snacks have high levels of oil, sugar and salt, and contain a lot of calories, Sung added.

Many people gain weight during the holiday because they consume an excessive amount of calories, Sung said, urging people to opt for healthy snacks.

Unflavored nuts and seeds are rich in monounsaturated fat, vitamin E and other nutrients, and protect the heart, lower blood cholesterol and fulfill other functions, Sung said.

However, nuts belong to the fats and oils food group, so one portion or roughly one to two tablespoons per day is enough, Sung said, adding that eating too many nuts could lead to weight gain.

Another healthy snack is dried fruits that have not been marinated or processed with oil, Sung said.

When shopping for food products, people should first read the nutritional labels, Sung said, adding that the fewer ingredients the products have, the fewer additives they contain.

People with chronic conditions, particularly kidney disease, should limit the amount of seeds and nuts they eat because they are rich in phosphorus, as well as dried fruits because they are rich in potassium, Sung added.

People with cardiovascular disease or diabetes should avoid eating too many candied sweets and cookies because they contain high levels of sugar and trans fat, Sung said.

When jerky, dried shredded squid, candied fruit, flavored nuts and other snacks are processed, large amounts of salt, sugar and oil are used to add flavor, Sung said.

Eating these snacks could easily result in an overconsumption of sodium, Sung said, adding that people with high blood pressure should be careful when eating these snacks.

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