Have you thought of visiting a nutritionist to guide you on what, why, how and when you should be eating? Are there times you have felt hungry and opted for fast foods or ice cream? Have you had to skip breakfast because you are late for work? Have you tried skipping meals in a bid to lose weight? Do you eat while watching TV or lying down? Well, according to experts, that needs to be changed.
“Poor eating habits are ones where practices towards food are not right and if this is done more often, it may lead to health disorders. The most common poor eating habit, especially among youthful girls who want to remain slim, is eating food and immediately forcing oneself to vomit. This is dangerous since the body loses out on some essential nutrients,” says Dr Private Kamanzi, a nutritionist from Amazon Wellness Centre Ltd in Remera.
He also says that when you force yourself to vomit after eating, you stimulate the gastric acid to rise, which can damage the stomach walls, hence causing stomach ulceration.
Kamanzi also says it is better to consult specialists like nutritionists if you want to lose weight.
“They should guide you on the kind of diet that is ideal to manage your weight because you need to know how many calories you need in your body,” he says.
Dieudonné Bukaba, a nutrition expert from Avega Clinic Remera, says all food categories should be eaten on a daily basis.
“Eating a balanced diet comprising fresh fruits like apples, pineapples, oranges and much more fresh vegetables like broccoli, cabbages, and dodo is recommended. Whole grains like millet, oatmeal, brown rice, legumes like beans and peas, lean proteins like fish, beans, eggs, milk, and beef, carbohydrates like Irish potatoes, bananas should also be consumed daily,” he says.
Vegetables should take a half a plate, while for the remaining half should have energy giving foods and protein-rich foods, Bukaba notes.
Kamanzi explains that eating while watching TV is not healthy since you are not able to concentrate and that the brain will not give the right command to body organs to digest, absorb and assimilate food.
“Poor sitting posture (like eating while sleeping) is also not good. If it is time to eat it is better you concentrate on food then sleep later. This is because the body is not in position to maintain the proper movement of food from the mouth to the esophagus if the sitting posture is poor,” he says.
Kamanzi adds that if food is not chewed properly, it makes digestion hard since some food particles are swollen without being chewed but also leading to ulcers. He advises people not to eat hot food because it is not easy to chew; rather, you should eat warm food.
He says that mixing solid and liquid food (eating while drinking) is not healthy because it can lead to metabolic disorders like low gastric peristalsis.
“Over eating junk food like fast foods; that is to say chips, pizza, burger, fried chicken, noodles, sausages, pancakes, ice cream, and mayonnaise, among others, is a poor eating habit which can lead to diabetes,” he emphasises .
Kamanzi adds that junk food should be avoided because it lacks micro nutrients, antioxidants and cause cancer, high blood pressure.
“Improving eating habits involves taking fruits 30 minutes before eating and drinking water at least 30 minutes after eating is advisable. Fruits can also be eaten after food,” says Bukaba.
He adds that poor feeding habits lead to malnutrition, poor growth and some other medical complications.
Bukaba says we need to look after our bodies since they operate like an engine that requires fuel and maintenance.
Kamanzi states that salads, tomatoes and cucumber should be eaten daily after meals. If you are to eat mayonnaise on salads, you should eat some lemon after, he says.
According to Dr Barbara Rolls, the head of nutritional sciences at Helen A. Guthrie based in USA, people tend to eat consistent weight and volume of food but reducing the density of calories in that volume will help you eat less.
She says it is better to focus on the calories per bite by consuming a normal portion of fewer calories, adding that lots of fruits and vegetables are healthy since they mostly contain water.
“You can still eat foods you enjoy, as long as you lower the bulk. For example, when eating a sandwich, instead of using cheese and mayonnaise on white bread, use a lower fat meat, bulk it up with your favorite vegetables, substitute mustard for mayonnaise and use whole grain or whole wheat bread, you will possibly end up with a bigger sandwich by weight with half the calories,” Rolls notes.
She urges people to think of weight management as healthy eating.