BEING a little more careful about what you eat will keep you healthy, perhaps wealthy but certainly much wiser with it best being to avoid meat because World Health Organization (WHO) has found a clear link between red meat and cancer, Dr Arthit Kukreja, an internist at Bumrungrad International Hospital said recently.
WHO has especially warned against processed meat such as sausage, ham and bacon, because of the strong link to cancer.
“In fact when this announcement first came out, within the next two weeks sales of these products dropped by $1.4 million in Australia – in just two weeks.”
While there is a difference between red and white meats, Dr Arthit pointed out that meat is meat and most of the meat available these days are from factory farms where they do everything they can to get the biggest-size animals.
“I am told they inject hormones to get them fat and heavy and where does all this end up ? In the consumer’s body.”
His advice is to be more vegetarian than non-vegetarian and stick to fish while avoiding factory-farm pork and chicken.
“I have been vegetarian for 22 years and I don’t see that I am at all malnourished or lacking in protein.
“So many Indians are vegetarians – in India millions and millions of them.”
Dr Arthit also mentioned that sugar has become far too dominant in today’s cuisine and seems to be put into everything.
“Sugar in very small amounts causes inflammation of the blood vessel walls throughout the body … so you should absolutely minimize sugar intake.”
While the majority should limit their intake of salt because some people are susceptible to getting high blood pressure, this does not apply to everyone.
On street food which is abundantly available at all key areas of Bangkok and other metropolises, Dr Arthit said it’s common sense that it is not clean and often people who eat this kind of cheap food end up paying a doctor much more to help them recover.
“How clean are the dishes, the plates, the spoons? They wash them in a bucket or tub nearby.
“People generally have some immunity, they are used to it, but it’s not the best way to eat.
“You can see for yourself – although they do try to implement the minimum standard of hygiene, you can’t really expect tip-top.”
While fast food should be cleaner because of better industrial standards, Dr Arthit is uncertain about the nutritional value and think it varies from brand to brand.
“There’s too much meat I think – too much chicken, beef and pork – that’s unhealthy.”
TOP: A vendor prepares somtam, or papaya salad, for a client at a busy area of Bangkok. Photo: Bridget Coila, CC-BY-2.0
INSET: Dr Arthit says millions and millions of people are vegetarian in India.
By Nanthida Kumari