New labels and tax to tackle Thailand's junk food problem

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New labels and tax to tackle Thailand's junk food problem

Post by buksida » Sun Mar 26, 2017 2:14 pm

Since early this year, a person with leafy arms has begun appearing on food packaging to signify the difference between shameful midnight snacks and healthier fare.

With the obesity rate now at nearly one-in-three adults, public health policy is taking a two-prong approach to the sugary drinks and salty snacks seen as the problem: Label acceptable products and tax those that aren’t.

“The rapidly increasing level of obesity due to sugar and sodium consumption is worrying. If not taken care of, the problem will be such a strain on primary health care that the government could go bankrupt,” said Visith Chavasit of Mahidol University’s Institute of Nutrition.

The labels – humanoid figures with leafy bodies – is part of the Healthier Choice program, which began a year ago but only officially launched Aug. 31 with only 20 products, a number that grows every day.

“The program got off to a slow start because we had to approve food companies and wait for them to change their packaging. Now we can see more products in the market, and have more public awareness about this educational tool,” said Wantanee Kringsinyos of the Institute of Nutrition of Mahidol University.

Nationwide, excessive consumption of salt and sugar from street and processed foods combined with increasingly sedentary lifestyles have driven obesity levels to an alarming 10 percent of children and about 30 percent of adults, Visith said.

With it comes an increase in associated health problems hitting people at younger ages, such as heart disease and diabetes. Thailand has the highest rate of death from such noncommunicable diseases in ASEAN – 0.6 percent compared to a regional average of 0.4 percent.

Full story: http://www.khaosodenglish.com/life/food ... d-problem/
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Re: New labels and tax to tackle Thailand's junk food problem

Post by RCer » Sun Mar 26, 2017 2:59 pm

I don't suppose the tradition of dumping sugar in every dish would have anything to do with it.

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Re: New labels and tax to tackle Thailand's junk food problem

Post by hhfarang » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:26 pm

... and salt and/or MSG... I could hardly eat Thai food out there because of an MSG allergy and borderline diabetes.
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Re: New labels and tax to tackle Thailand's junk food problem

Post by oakdale160 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:05 pm

one advantage of night mkt food is that you can watch it being cooked and veto the addition of sugar. But this is a world wide problem, look at the ingrediants on prepared items, there is palm sugar in so many items

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Re: New labels and tax to tackle Thailand's junk food problem

Post by Takiap » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:58 am

People have been eating and drinking salty and sugary snacks and drinks since Jesus was a boy, and obesity was not an issue.

I'm sure I have way too much salt in my food, and I have never made any attempt to restrict sugar intake, but yet I am not obese, or even overweight.

As far as I'm concerned, people are simply eating far more than they should be. How can you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and not put on weight if you spend most of your time sitting on your ass?


At my local shop, every member of the family, apart from two, are far overweight. Whenever you see them, they are eating, then they are either sitting about serving the occasional customer or else they are sleeping. Now, I would bet my bottom dollar that if they all cut salt and sugar out of their diet completely, they would still continue putting on weight.

Simple mathematics can solve obesity totally - calories in, minus calories burned. Balance your calorie intake, and get off the sofa, and you're onto a winner.

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Re: New labels and tax to tackle Thailand's junk food problem

Post by oakdale160 » Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:55 pm

i think that generally you are correct, but i think that we all know people who eat like pigs and remain non-obese or even under-weight--their bodies obviously lack the ability to store,

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Re: New labels and tax to tackle Thailand's junk food problem

Post by handdrummer » Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:52 pm

some people have a faster metabolism than others and burn calories quicker and more efficiently. my wife can eat much more than I yet doesn't gain weight while everything I eat turns to fat. I don't eat sugar or salt but, do to a restricted diet, eat more carbs than protein so I tend to gain weight. reducing obesity it's not a simple one size fits all solution.

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Re: New labels and tax to tackle Thailand's junk food problem

Post by Takiap » Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:36 am

handdrummer wrote:
Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:52 pm
some people have a faster metabolism than others and burn calories quicker and more efficiently. my wife can eat much more than I yet doesn't gain weight while everything I eat turns to fat. I don't eat sugar or salt but, do to a restricted diet, eat more carbs than protein so I tend to gain weight. reducing obesity it's not a simple one size fits all solution.

Yes, that's basically what I was trying to say. Governments could ban the use of salt and sugar, and you would still have just as many obese people going about. Som people can eat as much as they want and they don't put on weight, while others can't. It's up to those people to recognize their problem and then deal with it accordingly, or just be content with who they are.

I also think a lot has to do with the type of food you eat. I am a firm believer in the idea that good real food doesn't make you fat. I see countless Thai babies/toddlers who are far overweight, and most are only eating a diet which consists of about 90% rice with a few morsels of chicken or pork thrown in for good measure. From the minute my own kids started on solids, they were fed food which I prepared for them at home, and rice was never even a part of their diet which was almost entirely a blend of different vegetables and meats. The focus was on vitamins and etc. rather than on bulking them up with carbs, although the did and still do get mash potatoes regularly. Even now when they are growing up, they eat mostly real foods, including plenty of veg. I've heard so many people say their kids don't like veg, but if you want to, you can get kids to eat veg. For me, stews do the trick perfectly. My kids will scoff down my stews without even thinking about how much veg it contains.

At the end of the day, unhealthy diets lead to obesity. Sugar and salt may be bad for you, but they are not the only culprits.

:cheers:
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Re: New labels and tax to tackle Thailand's junk food problem

Post by handdrummer » Tue Mar 28, 2017 7:40 pm

Takiap, yes I agree with you. when my children were very young I would put a variety of raw vegetables in front of them and they could choose what they liked. it didn't matter which ones they ate and it avoided confrontation. eating should be a pleasure and not a chore. actually sugar and salt in moderate amounts aren't harmful. especially if you use an unprocessed salt. xylitol is an excellent sugar substitute, it tastes like, looks like and can be used like sugar. it also helps to prevent cavities and is not a simple carbohydrate.

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Re: New labels and tax to tackle Thailand's junk food problem

Post by margaretcarnes » Wed Mar 29, 2017 6:33 am

The 'traffic light' system has been in use in the UK for some time now, and seemed to come into common use quite quickly. Where Thailand has the leaf person, (which is a good start) we have a row of boxes on food products, each coloured - red, orange, yellow, green, and a white I think. Each box denotes either fat, saturates, sugars, salt, along with the percentage content.

it's a good system IMO but does of course rely on people looking carefully at the labels!

One thing has surprised me in the last few days. and that is the food dished out to patients at my local - big - hospital. A friend who has been in there for over a week has type 2 diabetis, and medication for that has been stopped due to other tests going on. OK bloods are monitored regularly, but there is no effort to ensure that veggies are served with cooked meals, and due to a broken oven yesterdays dessert was tinned fruit with a flavoured yoghurt or custard ...no fresh fruit.
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Re: New labels and tax to tackle Thailand's junk food problem

Post by Homer » Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:05 pm

Takiap wrote:
Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:58 am
Simple mathematics can solve obesity totally - calories in, minus calories burned.
It would seem so. The boffins have have long since rejected that mechanistic model.

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Re: New labels and tax to tackle Thailand's junk food problem

Post by margaretcarnes » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:20 am

Governments could ban the use of salt and sugar, and you would still have just as many obese people going about. Som people can eat as much as they want and they don't put on weight, while others can't. It's up to those people to recognize their problem and then deal with it accordingly, or just be content with who they are.

I also think a lot has to do with the type of food you eat. I am a firm believer in the idea that good real food doesn't make you fat. I see countless Thai babies/toddlers who are far overweight, and most are only eating a diet which consists of about 90% rice with a few morsels of chicken or pork thrown in for good measure. From the minute my own kids started on solids, they were fed food which I prepared for them at home, and rice was never even a part of their diet which was almost entirely a blend of different vegetables and meats. The focus was on vitamins and etc. rather than on bulking them up with carbs, although the did and still do get mash potatoes regularly. Even now when they are growing up, they eat mostly real foods, including plenty of veg. I've heard so many people say their kids don't like veg, but if you want to, you can get kids to eat veg. For me, stews do the trick perfectly. My kids will scoff down my stews without even thinking about how much veg it contains.

At the end of the day, unhealthy diets lead to obesity. Sugar and salt may be bad for you, but they are not the only culprits.

:cheers:
[/quote]

I do agree that kids should be encouraged - or even conned - into eating fruit and veg. When I was a kid I wouldn't eat cooked carrots, but loved a pile of grated raw carrot with my meals. My Mum was wise enough to spend just a bit of time preparing that for me bless her. Sadly now many parents, certainly in the UK, don't take the time to ensure their kids eat well. The latest revelation is about kids taking packed lunches to school with cold Big Macs and crisp sandwiches.
This has nothing to do with cost IMO but everything to do with a combination of laziness and lack of education. It is sad that Thailand is going down the same path, and great that you have taken a sensible hands on approach with your family. But I do wonder how Thai children traditionally seem to have fared well on a high rice and low meat diet, but are now facing the problem of obesity? Can it just be a lack of exercise?
And now we also have the theory that a balanced diet will need to change according to age. That at certain ages we will need more carbs/protein or whatever. Whatever we SHOULD be eating now always seems to change according to which study happens to be in vogue.
Quite honestly I now eat what my body tells me to, but for responsible parents with small children the whole thing must be a nightmare.
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