MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Health (DOH) wants food manufacturers, including fastfood outlets, to properly label their food, particularly calories per serving.
"It's going to be one of our major legislative proposals for the coming Congress in June or July," Health Secretary Enrique Ona said Friday.
Based on a 2010 study by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Dood and Research Institute, 10 million Filipinos now have diabetes and 25 million have hypertension due to excessive salt intake and obesity.
Dr. Anthony Leachon, DOH consultant on non-communicable diseases, said it's about time that Pinoys count their calories.
Leachon said the recommended calorie intake for women is 1,500 and 2,000 for men.
He said to better understand this concept, Pinoys should divide their plate into 4 parts -- 1 part for the grains like rice or bread, the 2nd part for fruits, the 3rd part for vegetables, and the 4th part for the protein like fish or meat.
This will total 450 to 500 calories per plate, he said.
Leachon said Filipino should aim for just 500 calories per meal.
His food plate concept allots 100 calories for vegetables, 50 calories for fruits, 200 calories for a cup of rice and about 150 calories for "ulam."
Leachon said a serving of chicken is 200 calories, beef or pork is 300 calories, steak is around 600-700 calories, burger is 700 calories, small fries is 500, large fries is 700, softdrinks is 150 to 200 (or equivalent to one cup of rice), ice cream per scoop is 200 calories, fruits like apples are 50 calories each, a banana is 70 and a mango is 60 calories.
He said the first thing that your body will burn are the carbohydrates. Next are protein and fats. "If you lessen the intake of carbs like rice, your body will burn protein and fats faster. Kung marami kang kinain na rice tapos hindi mo binurn, tataba ka."
He added that you gain a pound for every 3,500 calories you eat.
If you do not eat 3,500 calories, you lose one pound, he said.
Leachon said mandatory food labelling is important. "Kapag hindi mo alam, napapadami ang kinakain mo."
He said other countries such as South Korea are already labelling all food products.