Nutrition Influence On Vietnamese Health

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It is generally believed that the Vietnamese has always been considered slow developed in physical strength and appearance. The community supposes that the main reason for this problem is genetic factors. However, many scientific researches have proved that it is not true. According to Mueller (1982), people’s height is basically defined by heredity, but if the nutritional and environmental conditions did not satisfy basic requirements, height development would not be adequate to the rate which was defined back then by hereditary potential. Among the surrounding elements, nutrition and disease are the two most important factors. Only 20% of height development is affected by gene, and 80% depends on nutrition. Nutrition is dependent on eating habit, diet, and nutritious knowledge.

According to a survey of a group of Foreign Trade University students in 2011, 44% of 133 students who were surveyed never or rarely have breakfast. So that, there is 56% of them have breakfast regularly. Among these number of students, only 23 students pay attention to hygiene and food safety, 25 students take interest in nutritional value of food they eat, and 75% of them attach much importance to price, which means the lower the price of food, the more attractive of them to students. However, to decrease the price, the sellers must ignore food safety factor, such as using bad ingredients: stale meat and fish, chemicals, etc. In addition, based on a survey of Vina-research company about habit of eating fast-food of Vietnamese youngsters, within 563 people, 90% of them eat fast-food at least once per week. Among them, 151 people eat fast-food every day and 127 of them consume fast-food 4 to 5 times per week. Overview, almost more than 60% Vietnamese youngsters are having bad eating habit. This research paper will attempt to provide nutritious knowledge and suggest some diet solutions for Vietnamese youngsters.

Breakfast – The most important meal of day

Breakfast has long been considered the most important meal in a day. As nutritionist Adelle Davis affirmed:” Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.” However, not many Vietnamese youngsters pay much attention to it. The first thing we need to concentrate on is that how serious health risks you would face if you did not eat something at the beginning of the day. Cahill et al (2013) authenticated: “a 27% increase in coronary heart disease amongst those North American men who regularly failed to eat breakfast.” In addition, according to the research “Consumption of a high-fat breakfast on consecutive days alters preclinical biomarkers for atherosclerosis” of McFarlin et al, eating high-fat breakfasts too often has recently been accused of increasing the risk of atherosclerosis.

Breakfast relates to diseases

It has long been known that eating breakfast will provide you with alertness and fuel for the body to perform over a day. Therefore, many people have been drinking coffee at the beginning of the day in order to be in full possession of their faculties. Intriguingly, there are several researches documented that this fact is true. According to Lucas et al (2014):” consuming a couple of cups of caffeinated coffee a day literally halved the suicide rate”. Moreover, a research done by (Rahmani J, 2017 ) exposed that consumption of a healthy diet, including high intakes of fish, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, may improve psychological – disorder problem. In addition to dietary intakes, some dietary habits including breakfast consumption have been related to mental disoders (Quirk SE, 2013). It has been reported that breakfast consumption has the advantages to provide better association between fat, obesity and depression. (Luppino FS, 2010). Furthermore, it has been affirmed that breakfast skipping increases hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity, which subsequently elevates production of stress (Alexa, Louise, & Clare, 2009). So, taken together, food and drink which we consumed first in the morning not only supplies energy for the body but also have positive effect on anti-depressing attitude and preventing diseases, such as obesity.

Skipping breakfast was also recorded to cause some serious diseases. First of all, it is type 2 diabetes. According to the research over 935 cases with type 2 diabetes among 96,175 participants, the meta – analysis displayed that higher possibility of diabetes was higher among youngsters who skip 4-5 days breakfast per week. This inquiry provides evidence that breakfast skipping is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, and the association were still significant after adjustment for adiposity. Healthy daily breakfast eating may help lower risk of type 2 diabetes (Schlesinger, 2018).

Meanwhile, another research further showed that skipping breakfast leads to greater lipid absorption rate and consequently provokes to obesity. “Overweight/obesity was significantly more common in those used to skipping breakfast than those who had breakfast” (Mohsen Maddah, 2008). Eating breakfast also has effect on losing weight and prevent obesity. At least 58 observational studies (with 88 independent groups) spanning the globe have been published on the relationship between breakfast consumption and obesity, with evidence from over 30 countries and 5 continents. A cumulative meta-analysis of these data supports public health guidelines that regular breakfast consumption is associated with a lower risk of obesity. (Brown AW, 2013). It is commonly reported by laypersons that skipping breakfast will result in increasing intake of food for the rest of the day. For this to reduce body mass then energy intake compensation must surpass the energy contained in breakfast and also be sustained over time. Moreover, the potential for breakfast to modulate components of energy expenditure should also be considered alongside energy intake, because increased energy intake could be surpassed by larger increases in expenditure. (Gonzalez, 2018) Importantly, the increase in energy intake is almost always insufficient to account for the energy intake that is missed with breakfast skipping. (Clayton DJ, 2016). One study has advanced the idea of a more positive energy balance with breakfast consumption. The second-meal effect is also present in obese (or overweight) individuals, whereby consumption of a carbohydrate-rich breakfast results in a lower plasma glucose response to lunch. Post-lunch plasma insulin concentrations are also sometimes, but not always, lower when a breakfast has previously been consumed, suggesting that insulin sensitivity may be acutely improved with breakfast consumption. The exaggerated triglyceride response to lunch when breakfast has been consumed is also seen in overweight individuals. (Thomas EA, 2015) (Chowdhury EA, 2016).

The important role of Omega-3

Omega- 3 has been one of the most important substances which are vital to human beings. Omega-3 is essential fatty acids, which means human’s body cannot synthesize itself, and human can be dead if omega- 3 is not absorbed from food (Clandinin MT, 1990). Omega-3 has an important role in preventing cancer. One study of Gabriel Fernandes (1993) indicated: “The alterations in the pattern of dietary lipid consumption over the years has gradually led to increase or imbalances in polyunsaturated to saturated fat ratio (P/S ratios) which could be one of the possible causes for increase in certain cancers.” Gabriel also proved that Omega-3 help human body to increase number of IL-2 and NK-Cell, which are essential in destroying abnormal cell and cancer cell. Moreover, many more researchers (Barber, 1999) (van der Meij, 2010) (Wigmore, 1997) (Yeh, 2013) appointed that EPA and DHA (Omega-3) supplementation provided several potential benefits in the treatment of the cachectic syndrome in subjects with different types of cancer.

Omega-3 furthermore enhance acne problem. The results from the researches of (UJ Jung, 2009) and (Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser, 2012) pointed out that consuming Omega-3 will significantly reduce acne in 5 to 10 weeks, because Omega-3 has benefits in inflammatory and anti – inflammatory. “N-3 PUFAs can reduce inflammation in overweight, sedentary middle-aged and older adults, and thus could have broad health benefits.” – (Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser, 2012).

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Biological value of protein and the significance of protein

Biological value of protein is a measure of the proportion of absorbed protein from a food. It also affects digestion time of a protein source. The higher the biological value, the larger ratio of protein human can absorb (Daniel R. Moore, 2015). For example, in 1 whole chicken egg contains 3.47 gram of protein, and its biological value is 94. (Cespedes, 2019). It means the maximum amount of protein a normal person can absorb from a whole chicken egg is 3.26 gram.

Here is a list of biological values of food:

  1. Whey protein: 106-159 (Hoffman & Falvo, 2014)
  2. Egg: 94 (Cespedes, 2019)
  3. Cow’s Milk: 91 (Singhal, 2017)
  4. Cheese: 84 (Jolliet, 1998)
  5. Rice: 83 (Jolliet, 1998)
  6. Chicken: 79 (Ricciuto, 2018)
  7. Beef: 74 (Volkova LD, 1998)

Based on the list above, it is clear that Whey protein has the highest biological value, which means it is the fastest and purest protein source that human can absorb.

Protein is one of the 3 most vital substances to maintain human’s life, which is protein, carbohydrate and fat. Moreover, adding protein to diet is the simplest, most effective and most delicious way to lose weight with minimal effort. Studies showed that protein both increase human’s metabolic rate and curb appetite (MS, 2008). Because protein requires energy to metabolize, a high-protein diet can increase calories burned by 80–100 calories per day (Veldhorst MA W. K.-P., 2010) (Veldhorst MA W.-P. M., 2009) (Johnston CS, 2002). Protein is also by far the most filling nutrient. One study showed that people who ate 30% of calories as protein automatically ate 441 fewer calories per day. (Weigle DS, 2005).

Not only will protein help to lose weight, it also takes advantage in prevent or at least significantly reduce weight regain (Larsen TM & Diet, 2010) (Westerterp-Plantenga MS, 2004) .

Vietnamese dish and necessary nutrition to maintain life

Regarding a normal Vietnamese dish, it has satisfied the common requirement of energy, but it is lack of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. 70% ingredient of a normal Vietnamese dish is starch (typically white rice) and 20% is meat. Therefore, there is only 10% of vegetable. This problem has resulted in 27.8% of under 5 years old – kids experienced anemia, 13% got avitaminosis and even 49.7% suffer from parakeratosis. (Truong, 2018) . According to Tran K.V. , malnutrition has disadvantage effects on health, intelligence among teens and reproductive ability when they grow up. Malnutrition is also the most serious factor that leads to undeveloped of height growth. Furthermore, it has been known that most of Vietnamese do not frequently eat fish. It is extremely disadvantage for health, because fish is the main resource to provide Omega-3(EPA/DHA), and the benefits of Omega-3 have been shown above.

For a normal person from 19 years old above, the average indispensable amount of protein intake is 60 gram a day for man and 46 grams for woman. (FAO/WHO/UNU, 1985). If the protein intake is below this required value, a person may suffer from diseases included undeveloped muscle mass and bone structure, etc (Ricciuto, 2018) . The average calories needed to maintain life for man between 19-30 years old is 2500 kcal per day, and this amount for woman is 1900 kcal. (Nordqvist, 2018). Therefore, in order to obtain good health, the Vietnamese in particular and everyone in general should eat at least the amount of nutrition above.

Nutrition is the most vital and important aspect which people need to consider, especially teenagers because during this period, human body has the highest developing rate. This research has demonstrated some nutritional knowledge based on proved evidences and revealed Vietnamese youngsters’ bad eating habit. Overall, Vietnamese youngsters in particular need to adjust amount of nutrition intake and diet in order to have good health.


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