A HERBALIFE Nutrition survey shows more Filipinos are eating better in the so-called new normal.

HERBALIFE Nutrition recently released the findings from the 2020 Diet Decisions Survey, showing that more Filipinos are eating better in the so-called new normal.

The survey, which polled 8,000 consumers in different Asia-Pacific markets including the Philippines, revealed that among the Filipinos surveyed, 53% said they have started eating more fruits and vegetables and 43% ate more plant-based food. The Philippines, too, ranked highest (62%) among the markets polled in its openness to plant-based foods and meatless options.

“These results are a good sign that Filipinos are becoming more mindful about their personal health. Making healthier food choices and becoming more open to plant-based and meatless options and staying physically active,” said Dr. Rocio Medina, vice-chairwoman and member, Nutrition Advisory Board, Herbalife Nutrition, in a recent forum with local media where the survey results were discussed.

“These are great ways to start combating obesity, which has been rising worldwide,” added the doctor, who talked about “Reversing Obesity Among Filipinos” at the forum, part of Herbalife Nutrition Philippines’ Virtual Wellness Tour.

Dr. Medina underscored that obesity is recognized by leading health organizations, including the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization (WHO), as a chronic disease. It is associated with decreased life expectancy and co-morbidities and requires a long and comprehensive management approach to help people.

She cited figures from the Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DoST-FNRI) which show that one of three adults in the Philippines is obese and the trend has been increasing over time.

Given such a situation, Dr. Medina said that now more than ever people should be aware of the need to reverse obesity and act on it.

She mentioned three factors that can help improve body composition, namely, increasing one’s intake of high biological value protein, like isolated soy protein, egg white, beef protein, fish, poultry, and whey; decreasing one’s consumption of simple carbohydrates such as white bread, white sugar, and white rice; and increasing one’s physical activity like doing strength training for two to three times a week and resistance aerobic training for three to four times a week.

She also advised cutting down on added sugars.

Meanwhile, the 2020 Diet Decisions Survey also sheds light into the motivations behind the consumers’ recent dietary and lifestyle changes in the new normal.

Fifty-eight percent of the Filipino respondents, the survey shows, have made a major change to their diet and 89% agreed that they had a specific moment during the pandemic when they realized they needed to change their diet.

Eighty-two percent said they made their change for health reasons while 51% said it was to lose weight. Twenty-seven percent said changing their diet would be more cost-effective for them.

Apart from changing their diet, Filipinos also started to exercise more.

Filipino consumers believe as well they will emerge healthier from the pandemic.

According to the survey findings, 77% believe that they would emerge from the pandemic healthier than they were before and 88% claimed they already noticed a positive difference in their health since they changed their diet. Majority (83%) said they plan to keep the dietary changes that they made for a prolonged period of time.

Dr. Medina said they at Herbalife are determined to continue to push the importance of nutrition education. “Having education in an area helps people think, feel, and behave in a way that contributes to their success, and improves not only their personal satisfaction but also their community,” she said.

Ongoing right now is the Virtual Wellness Tour, a monthly event which is part of the group’s continuing efforts and commitment to raise public awareness on the importance of balanced nutrition and having a healthy active lifestyle. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo