Pacific Family Health Journal: Article 4 – October is ‘No Carbohydrate Month’

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Pacific Family Health Journal with Dr Rodney Itaki

October is No Carbohydrate Month!

So I have declared October as ‘no carbohydrate month’ for me. Why? My weight is pushing to 75kg and after calculating my body mass index I discovered that I fall into the obese category. My weight has been a healthy 70kg for long time then crept up to 72kg, which lasted about 7 years. In the last 2 years my weight has slowly crept up to 73kg, 74kg and now 75kg. So I have self imposed no carbohydrate for the month of October.

What are carbohydrates? Carbohydrates are energy foods, for example rice, bread, kaukau and banana. Any food that contains a lot of starch contains carbohydrates. However, some foods contain more energy than other energy foods. For example fried chips contain more carbohydrate then banana. And rice contains more carbohydrate than kaukau. In other words processed foods contain more carbohydrates then fresh garden foods. Pastries, chocolates and cakes are also very good examples of food that are high in carbohydrates. Some drinks also contain a lot of energy (so high carbohydrate drinks). Very good examples are Coke and other sugar drinks. So you can see that processed food contain a lot more carbohydrates than PNG traditional food from the gardens and fresh foods sold in the markets.

My wife laid down this rule for me and it goes something like this: If I can not fit into a pair of trousers she would go – “we are not buying bigger size trousers for you; you need to fit into those trousers!” My standard reply is – “yes boss”. So now my trousers are very tight around the belly and the waist line is getting wider so I have decided to go no carbohydrate for the month of October. And increase my exercise routines. Because I know the trousers’ size is not going to get bigger so my waist line and belly has to get smaller.

As we age, our metabolism slows down and we tend to be less active causing our weight to go up, belly gets bigger and waist line gets wider. I am sure you are familiar with this. When I advise my patients I usually tell them that adults are fully grown so what we eat is for maintenance and repair of injured or dead cells and tissues in our body.

Children need to eat more because they are growing. We adults can continue to enjoy our favorite dishes but we must reduce the amount we eat. Same foods but eat less. We should walk away from the eating table with the feeling that we should have eaten more but not feeling unsatisfied.

The situation is different for people in rural areas – they need to have high carbohydrate meals as they are active most parts of the day. The problems I am describing is more common among people living in the urban and peri-urban areas in PNG.

So if you are in the same situation as me why not you self declare no carbohydrate month this October. Skip processed foods such as rice and bread and let’s go back to our roots and try out PNG traditional foods for the month of October.

Don’t forget to be active as well. 

Dr Rodney Itaki, MBBS, BMedSci

Read Pacific Family Health Journal with Dr Rodney Itaki every Wednesday on PNGBUZZ.COM

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