Taiwanese adults gained an average of about 1.7kg during the Lunar New Year holiday last year, data compiled by the Bureau of Health Promotion (BHP) showed.
The survey conducted from Feb. 22 to Feb. 25 last year polled 1,087 randomly selected people over the age of 18 across the country, and showed that about 39 percent of respondents ate more than usual during the holiday season.
The survey found that about 19 percent of people drank more beverages, and up to half of the respondents ate more snacks, cookies and candy, the bureau said, adding that 43 percent of respondents also said they spent less time exercising during the holiday.
Taking some common snacks eaten during the holiday season as an example, the bureau said that a 175g bag of sweet potato chips contains about 600 calories, accounting for the total amount of calories an adult needs for lunch; and 10 pieces of peanut candy (15g each) or three pieces of pineapple cake (50g each) combined contain about 800 calories, approximately the same amount as a pork-chop lunch box.
A person who weighs 60kg would have to walk for about one-and-a-half hours at a speed of 4kph to burn 300 calories — about the number of calories gained from a bowl of rice or four pieces of milk peanut candy (牛軋糖), it added.
Bureau Director-General Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑媞) said that people should not underestimate the number of calories in snacks, and people with chronic diseases should keep an eye on blood glucose levels, blood lipids and blood pressure during the holiday.
The bureau suggested a number of measures on how to eat smarter without gaining too much weight, including paying attention to the labels on food products, choosing low-calorie snacks, purchasing and serving smaller portions of food and replacing fried snacks with baked ones and dried or preserved fruits with fresh ones.