You’re probably wondering why our previous articles have dealt around the topic of food instead of ‘fitness (hence the fit in Commit to be Fit)’ Well, yes ladies and gentlemen, ‘you are what you eat’ after all.
We at Commit to be Fit believe that health and fitness is mainly based on what you consume and less of exercise or any other physical activity, opposed to what the general public believes. Through the years, we have been taught that in order to get fit, one has to train or exercise whilst we totally isolated the crucial act of eating well, which evidently plays a significant role – in ones general health and fitness – if you compare those who eat well and those who don’t.
Another reason that led us to tackling the food element of health and fitness, is the constantly changing ‘food guides’ introduced to us(in particular South African’s) throughout the years. Many of us were introduced to the well-known ‘*American food pyramid/triangle’ in the early years of primary school and since then, it is the guide we believe we need to abide by.
However, the very same food pyramid has seen to take change, in South Africa, throughout the years. Therefore we at Commit to Be Fit wanted to introduce a food pyramid which best suits our fellow South African’s.
van Heerden(2013) extends her appreciation as the Department of Health and a team of dedicated experts in the fields of nutrition and dietetics have produced our(SA) own food guide which will hopefully bring clarity to the field of public nutrition education in this country.
Worry not, we were not referring to the difference in the illustration, allow us to clarify: Launched during National Nutrition Week 2012, the new SA Food Guide consists of 7 circles of different sizes filled with examples of the food/beverage groups that we eat/drink in South Africa. The different sizes of the circles indicate how important each one of the food groups is and give a rough idea of what percentage that food group should occupy in our diets.
The food groups in the SA Food Guide are listed in the table below in descending order of size and thus of importance, together with typical examples of the beverages/foods, and the Guideline for Healthy Eating each food group illustrates::
If you visit the food guide units section on the Nutrition Week website (http://www.nutritionweek.co.za/NNW2012/20intro.html), you will find what measures of each food are regarded as a food guide unit (e.g. 1 slice of bread, ½ cup of cooked rice, ½ cup of cooked fresh or frozen vegetables).
The website also contains backup information about each food group and why the food groups have been arranged in the above sequence of importance.
Although many members of the public will at first glance be up in arms about the inclusion or exclusion of certain foods, and the emphasis that has been placed on one group and not on another, you may find that if you think carefully in terms of the entire South African population, the economic constraints our people have to face every day, and the pattern of diseases of lifestyle (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, etc) that characterise South Africans in the nutrition transition, as well as the need to boost immunity to combat HIV and TB, and to prevent malnutrition, then you will understand why the new South African Food Guide looks the way it does!
With that said, we hope that more and more people become aware of this particular food guide as much as we are aware of the old, traditional food pyramid.
So #CommitToWhatYouEat #CommittoBeProudlySouthAfrican #CommitToBeHealthy #CommitToBeFit