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Home-cooked meals best for health, DOST-FNRI says    

By Angelica Marie O. Paz, DOST-STII

In this age when fast foods reign, home cooked meals are still best for health, as shown in several studies by experts from the Department of Science and Technology - Food Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI).

Foods eaten away from home has been associated with poor diet quality, reveals one of said DOST-FNRI studies. Conducted by Dr. Josie P. Desnacido, the study titled "Eating Away from Home among Filipino Adults: Association with Nutritional Status and Metabolic Risk Factors" uncovers the effects of eating takeaway food.

Said study that had almost 8,000 respondents aged 19-59 years old across the country showed that 4 out of 10 Filipino adults eat at fast foods and carinderia (local food stand), especially during lunch time. The danger is that people who eat in these establishments face health risks such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease according to Dr. Desnacido.

"According to studies, foods that are cooked or prepared outside of our homes have higher calories, saturated fats, sugar, and sodium. They are very low in fiber. In general, very few establishments serve meals with fruits and vegetables," she said.

As eating out appears to be unavoidable option to many, Dr. Desnacido advised. "It is your personal choice. You can eat out but make healthy food choices."

Meanwhile, the study titled "Consumption Practices of Filipinos in Selected Areas in the Philippines" likewise revealed that bringing packed food and taking out food to eat at home are the top food consumption practices of Filipinos. Presented by Dr. Marina B. Vargas, also of DOST-FNRI, the findings showed that carinderia is the most prominent food establishment that most often caters to working Filipinos aged 19 and older.

Although there are emerging food consumption practices based on different factors, such as age, wealth, and living status, Dr. Vargas emphasized the importance of eating home cooked meals to a person's health. As a motivating message, she told the audience, "A family that eats home-cooked meals together lives healthier, happier and longer."

The studies were presented during the 44th Seminar Series on Food and Nutrition Researches and S&T Activities held on July 4-6, 2018 at the Century Park Hotel Manila. Organized by the DOST-FNRI, the seminar series served as a platform for teachers, nutritionists, policymakers, students, and LGUs to engage and learn more about food and nutrition.

Keeping in line with the theme Generating Sustainable Food Resources for Food Security, Optimum Nutrition and Wellness (GROW), second day of the seminar focused on Science Innovations in Food and Nutrition. Researches on pressing issues in food and nutrition such as food consumption and food security were discussed in said seminar series

To further tackle the nutrition status of Filipinos, DOST-FNRI will be conducting a nutrition and diet counseling under the STI @Home cluster during the 2018 National Science and Technology Week to be held on 17-21 July 2018 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. This year's NSTW banners the theme "Science for the People: Innovation for Collective Prosperity." Through the NSTW, the contributions of S&T to different sectors such as education, health, agriculture, and infrastructure will be showcased to the public.