Barbadians warned to change their eating habits

With 60 per cent of the beds in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) occupied by persons afflicted with non-communicable diseases (NCDs), retired medical practitioner Dr Maurice Smith is urging Barbadians to change their sedentary lifestyles and to immediately address their bad eating habits.

The retired gynecologist made the appeal at the University of West Indies Cave Hill Campus this week during Health Week, which runs June 12-16 under the theme Generating Wealth Through Health.

Dr Smith argued that the fight against NCDs in Barbados was an uphill battle, with 25 per cent of the population suffering from hypertension, stroke, heart attack and cancer. He disclosed that two to three strokes occurred here on a daily basis with 14 heart attacks were recorded every week.

He therefore urged those in attendance to “let food be your medicine and let your medicine be your food”.

Advocating for the use of kitchen gardens and an agrarian lifestyle, Dr Smith said: “The diet we’re exposed to these days bears no resemblance to what our forefathers had before us. The food on average is 45 to 50 per cent depleted in terms of the nourishment we get . . . [and] by the time the stuff gets to you, the nutrition has long disappeared.”

The medical practitioner said Barbadians needed to be reprogrammed and re-educated on healthy practices, as he suggested that too many people were prone to following dietary myths and quick fixes in their search for results.

“We have also been led to believe that fat is a bad word, until we discovered that every cell in your body has fat in the cell wall and cannot perform its function unless there is fat in the cell wall. . . . We were designed to use fat for energy, but now we have to find a way to re-educate the body to use fat for energy and not sugar,” said Dr Smith. “The reason we are where we are now is because we switched to a high carbohydrate diet and got rid of fat. . . . But you have to be careful that the fat you are using is healthy fat and good fat.”

The medical doctor also cautioned the audience against the abuse of pharmaceutical drugs as they seek cures for their illnesses.

He contended that medication was not the solution to chronic disease but merely helped to control the condition.

“A lot of us are on pharmaceutical medications . . . . The problem is that they don’t cure or get rid of any problem. They only treat symptoms and therefore they mask the problems.

“Over the last ten to 15 years . . . we have lost 28 lives from pharmaceuticals. . . . I think that’s a lesson to be learnt. We need pharmaceuticals, especially in emergency situations, but that is not the way to go in healing this problem of non-communicable chronic diseases. It has to be diet,” he stressed.

He also told members of the audience that they needed to focus on improving their health and ensuring they had a long life.

“We spend our time accumulating wealth until we get to the stage in life where we then have to spend that wealth to get our health. It’s maybe too late to go back and start over, but it is not too late to start now and have a different ending,” Dr Smith suggested.

36 Responses to Barbadians warned to change their eating habits

  1. Philip Matthews
    Philip Matthews June 16, 2017 at 12:07 am

    How can they change for a better diet when every year taxes go up and food cost go up and “healthy” food going further out of reach with the less spending budget so many houses has ?

    Reply
    • Yvonne Warner
      Yvonne Warner June 16, 2017 at 6:55 am

      That’s when you get the fork and start the kitchen garden.

      Reply
    • Jay Manny
      Jay Manny June 16, 2017 at 8:11 am

      That gardening thing ain’t for everyone. Plus u plant and others reap.

      Reply
    • Philip Matthews
      Philip Matthews June 16, 2017 at 8:13 am

      Jay Manny monkeys and the breadfruit tree sick

      Reply
  2. Sheldine Dyall
    Sheldine Dyall June 16, 2017 at 12:34 am

    They cannot eat any better some days there’s no food.

    Reply
  3. Anfaani Henry
    Anfaani Henry June 16, 2017 at 12:42 am

    Stop eating Kentucky fried chickens for one and lef off d Soyway
    Burger King horse meat and other garbage

    Reply
  4. Bonita Weekes
    Bonita Weekes June 16, 2017 at 12:56 am

    You don’t think that most people know what they should eat? Do you go to the Supermarket, do you know the cost of food, do you see how the cost increases month after month. We still have other bills that have to be paid, are you aware the some people still take home under $300 weekly. Do you understand that some people at times have no food or very little food. You see people going along but have no idea of their struggle, can you live on $300 a week. I wish some of you would just shut up, food is a struggle fo a lot of people, GET REAL. A $15 chicken is like a sparrow, last week beans and christophenes were $8 a pound, sweet potatoes $3-$4 a pound and food will soon be going up again. If every thing is going up and you are not getting anymore money, what are you going to do. The people who have and can afford most things always find a way to make those who have less look like asses. To make it worst every thing is being done to take more money from you so for many people food is what they will skimp on.
    I notice that a lot of the people who say this are people who can afford to buy what they want.

    Reply
  5. Sunshine Sunny Shine June 16, 2017 at 1:00 am

    Steve Blackett said that bajans are better off, that he does not see any child with its belly to its back. That means that this doctor is telling lies since Stevie has the facts. Bajans are better off that means, according to Blackett, they are healthy and eating well. Politicians know best.

    Reply
  6. Arlita Strose
    Arlita Strose June 16, 2017 at 1:18 am

    We already have due to heavy taxation that had subsequently occurred…brought to you by Prudent Insurance

    Reply
  7. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba June 16, 2017 at 1:34 am

    COME 2018 MANY OF US WILL BE BARELY ALIVE, THE HANDS OF EVIL ARE UPON US, DEM LOOK LIKE THE SLEEP IN DE GRAVE YARD

    Reply
  8. Buddy Love
    Buddy Love June 16, 2017 at 1:58 am

    Lose the flower beds and lawns and grow your own food. Raise your own chikens, go fishing and eat fresh food. Thats what we had to do when there wasnt much money about. You Bajans have gotten too spoilt.

    Reply
  9. Epaphras D. Williams
    Epaphras D. Williams June 16, 2017 at 2:59 am

    The old folks knew the benefits of purging. You can eat your guts full but don’t forget to purge the system every month or so.

    Reply
  10. Angela Griffith
    Angela Griffith June 16, 2017 at 5:29 am

    People will like to change for a better diet but the cost to high for healthy food

    Reply
  11. Michael Turton
    Michael Turton June 16, 2017 at 5:48 am

    Come on people this guy talking sense, we need to be reeducated about healthy eating. NCDs are a real problems and are a drain of the health services. My issue is the only solution the Minister of Health has is to tax soft drinks lol….. no reduction of cost of health products, vegetables and fruits, no education programs etc. I went to a particular store and saw a grapefruit for $6.95, how the hell can the average mom buy those…..

    Reply
  12. Asha Chase
    Asha Chase June 16, 2017 at 6:11 am

    I always wonder what the average Bajan thinks is healthy food since they’re quick to jump up and say that healthy food is too expensive. It isn’t any more expensive than junk food. Fast food is way more expensive and you can see how full they all are on a daily basis, even Sunday. Bajans just don’t like to cook anymore. If you cook your food you know exactly what is in it. Not eating somebody’s food from a van or cook shop or worse going to Burger King or Chefette. I hardly eat other people’s food now because it’s all either too salty or too fatty.

    Reply
    • Philip Matthews
      Philip Matthews June 16, 2017 at 8:17 am

      sweet potato and yam too expensive , fish

      Reply
    • VoR June 16, 2017 at 12:22 pm

      Well said. I think they imagine healthy food to be some of the imported, fancy packaged stuff that’s advertised in commercials on the US stations.

      We have enough stuff here locally that we can eat healthy at the same cost or lower.

      Reply
  13. Itz Queen
    Itz Queen June 16, 2017 at 6:33 am

    Sir I would like to eat better ,I know de hospital don’t have beds ,but I get $200 a week I live in a government unit I plants in buckets,but only so much ,I have to pay bills ,light water rent bus ,at de end of the week I can’t buy food,I go by a lady and wash up her pans from her food van to get leftovers from her day sales.and I don’t have a phone and thank God no children.This article was written for me,

    Reply
    • Lucinda Katrina McSinister
      Lucinda Katrina McSinister June 16, 2017 at 7:55 am

      Yesterday when I check squash, tomotoes, cucumbers were all a dollar a pound in town. Working for $200 a week is not an excuse for not eating healthy. If you can afford to be on Facebook, clearly you can afford to eat better. Priorities lady!

      Reply
    • Shalisha Samuel
      Shalisha Samuel June 16, 2017 at 8:31 am

      I think she’s saying thanks for the reminder. At least that’s what I read.

      Reply
  14. Othneal June 16, 2017 at 7:02 am

    Don’t shoot the messenger. It would be more appropriate ( productive) to thank him, then device a strategy to address the issues.
    An analysis of the comments​ thus far suggests that a solution​ can only be achieved with Government intervention and the individual efforts of Bajans.
    As Buddy Love suggests, why not grow your own? If you don’t know how, ask an older person; go to the internet. Older Barbadians know how to grow their own food. I know I grew up there. It​ is my home.

    Reply
  15. Sean B June 16, 2017 at 7:03 am

    The morons we have that masquerade as leaders just raised the cost of living by 29.5%. That is a slick, slimy way of devaluing your dollar. So..how in f$&+#@ name can people even think of buying expensive, healthy food? Every time Bajans try to help themselves, these bastards put new obstacles in their way so that they have to go back buying the crap that the local white merchants produce or import. I mean, wtf is a National Responsibility Levy?? This jackass leading the Ministry of Finance is the only clown who believes he can tax his way out of a recession. Every f$#@& budget this f&$#@ fool comes up with a new tax to make Bajans pay for the 19 downgrades this little ass country has endured. Both he and the PM would have been fired for gross incompetence anywhere else in the world. These two morons are the principle reason we can’t afford to buy healthy food.

    Reply
  16. Hazeline Sobers June 16, 2017 at 8:15 am

    For years Bajans have been eating unhealthy. It is not fair to shift the blame on the increase in food cost. I shop too, and I try to eat healthier. I see the amount of money that is spent on fast food and snacks. There is an increase in snack outlets and there is an increase in Cheffette branches. They are doing well because of the increase of customers that buy their lunch, snacks and dinner there. Some spend over $30 for 1 meal. That $30 can buy a wholesome healthy meal. So even if the food cost is on the rise you have to think about your health. If the body suffers under these bad eating habits then people should do something about… unless they don’t care and want to die or suffer their bodies. Which one make sense?

    Reply
  17. Elaine Vanhuis
    Elaine Vanhuis June 16, 2017 at 8:24 am

    The primacy of feeling good, growing old well, only this will cause bajans to do all they can to eat food that is life sustaining. Change a mans heart and even his diet will change.

    Reply
  18. Shalisha Samuel
    Shalisha Samuel June 16, 2017 at 8:29 am

    What did u have for breakfast? Maybe someone will get an idea for a healthy meal…

    Reply
  19. Nanci June 16, 2017 at 8:34 am

    A lot of people think a big bowl of peas and rice, and a big leg of pork is food, and if you don’t have that plate in front of you on a Sunday, you didn’t get a Sunday dinner. If someone eat some fruit and vegetables, and a piece of meat along with a small piece of plain rice, that’s more healthy than a big bowl of peas and rice, and lots of fried chicken.

    Reply
  20. Nanci June 16, 2017 at 9:02 am

    People need to drink water and stop buying the sweet drinks, because those drinks are expensive also. Let the drink makers have a surplus and not much sales. I think the government send up prices on things they know people can’t do without. Small countries can do as they please. The leaders get high raises , along with the persons who have good jobs, while the poor keep on struggling. If someone have to pay rent and live with increasing food prices, that mean the leaders don’t care about the poor. They want the poor people to hurry up and die. I heard a politician said poor people don’t go to the doctor, so why they need health care. The rich think the poor did something to themselves, that’s why they are poor. I also find older people have bad teeth and that also contribute to heart disease, strokes and very bad health. Your teeth is very important also to your health. The schools gotta have dentist come in and teach kids about refraining from sweets, and give out toothpaste and toothbrushes. Encourage them to drink milk instead of sweet water with dye.

    Reply
  21. Tony Webster June 16, 2017 at 9:16 am

    “Fast Food syndrome” is obviously not the best way to use admittedly scarce resources. Try an old time way, to eat sensibly, well, and cheaply too: get out your slow-cooker / crock pot, and put it on low the whole day, and a lovely soup wid pice of chicken, veggies, and & a few ground-provisions will feed your whole family by dinner-time. And lef-out sugary drinks.

    That, and exercise daily. It’s a no-brainer and a life-saver. I know, as I was once stupid too. Mek dat, very, very stupid, until my T.I.A., arrythmia, diabetes, and hypertension brought me to my senses. Thank you, Lord!

    Reply
  22. lswiltshire June 16, 2017 at 11:10 am

    If persons drink sweetened drinks the liver under the aegis of hexokinaseIV will extract the sugar from the blood flowing through it and store the sugar as glycogen. Once the glycogen stores in the liver and muscles are full, the excess is oxidised to acetyllCoA.

    HIGH SUGAR LEVELS BECOMES A PROBLEM IF THE PANCREAS DOES NOT SECRET INSULIN OR SECRETES DYSFUNCTIONAL INSULIN

    If A PERSON IMBIBES LOTS OF FAT THE RESULT IS HIGH LEVELS OF acetyllCoA.

    If A PERSON IMBIBES LOTS OF PROTEIN THE RESULT IS HIGH LEVELS OF acetyllCoA AND SUBSTANCES WHICH ENTER THE KREBS CYCLE- THE SYSTEM IN THE BODY THAT GENERATES ENERGY FOR CELLULAR USE.

    All of these substances are used as preservatives in foods.

    pERHAPS THESE SUBSTANCES ARE THE CULPRITS IN DISEASE CAUSATION

    IS THE BODY HAPPY WITH THE HIGH LEVELS OF THESE NATURAL SUBSTANCES IN OUR FOODS

    AFTER ALL THESE SUBSTANCES WHEN GENERATED IN THE KREBS CYCLE LAST ONLY FOR A VERY SHORT TIME AS THEY ARE VERY QUICKLY CONVERTED TO OTHER SUBSTANCES

    Reply
  23. lswiltshire June 16, 2017 at 11:33 am

    ALCOHOL IS ALSO CONVERTED TO ACETLYCoA

    Reply
  24. lswiltshire June 16, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    RE We were designed to use fat for energy, but now we have to find a way to re-educate the body to use fat for energy and not sugar,” said Dr Smith. “The reason we are where we are now is because we switched to a high carbohydrate diet and got rid of fat. . . . But you have to be careful that the fat you are using is healthy fat and good fat.”

    This IS ALL BIOCHEMICAL RUBBISH

    FAT IS A STORE OF ENERGY
    FAT CANNOT BE USED DIRECTLY AS A SOURCE OF ENERGY
    GLUCOSE IS THE MAJOR SOURCE OF ENERGY EVEN FOR THE MICROBES

    HOW ON EARTH CAN WE re-educate the body to use fat for energy and not sugar” WHAT A LOAD OF BOVINE EXCREMENT
    MAURICE IS TRYING TO REINVENT THE BIOCHEMICAL ‘WHEEL’

    Reply
  25. Helicopter(8P) June 16, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    I’m a Barbadian living in the USA and in a predominantly Caribbean neighborhood. With all best wishes to the producers of Barbadian dishes I extend my greatest of appreciation and participation! Now here is somthing I have to mention on my recent indulgence in a Bajan (Barbadian) delicacy…. “Barbecue Piigtails”! The year i was first introduced to the morals was 1989 AD. The preperation for such a succulence is well predetermined. First I was told to wash the pigtails with warm water the place them in a large skillet, bucket or pot with warm water and white vinegar for about an hour. Next throw that concoction of vinegar water away and fill the large pot with water 2 pills of vinegar and some lime zest not much and bring to a boil, then let simmer at low flame for another10 minutes turn off flame and throw contents into a clean kitchen sink. Let the tap run with warm water over them. Replace pigtails into large pot and add some coriander seeds fill with water and place over a medium high flame let pot stay opened and allow for about an hour at constant temperature until 90 % of the salt has dissipated. throw water off and place in a pie pan with marinate barbecue sauce place in a 380 degree oven and let stay until caramelizes. The worst thing you can do is taste a salty barbecue pigtail threat!

    Reply
  26. Kevin June 16, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Bajans can eat better. I had a health problem and had to eat ‘healthier’ and its not as expensive as people want to make you believe. Beets, okra, pumpkin, potato, breadfruit, spinach, local lettuce etc are very affordable. The most you spend money on is meat but I have taken to not eating meat everyday and substituting meat with nuts, legumes and a variety of beans and other food with high protein content.

    Reply

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