Overeating during festive season: Real threat or temporary blip?

Health concerns and tips for moderation

NURUL NABILA AHMAD HALIMY
NURUL NABILA AHMAD HALIMY
15 Apr 2024 11:16am
According to health expert, overeating during Aidilfitri festivities alone typically doesn't result in obesity, as the conversion of excess calories into body fat is a gradual process. Small images from left: Ruzita and Ismail.
According to health expert, overeating during Aidilfitri festivities alone typically doesn't result in obesity, as the conversion of excess calories into body fat is a gradual process. Small images from left: Ruzita and Ismail.
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SHAH ALAM - While festive overeating might not directly cause obesity, it can lead to health problems due to a temporary increase in calorie intake.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Professor of Community Nutrition, Faculty of Health Sciences, Professor Dr Ruzita Abd Talib advised caution, especially for those with pre-existing conditions.

"Take lemang, for instance, a high-calorie festive staple made from coconut milk and glutinous rice.

"When consumed excessively, it can disrupt blood glucose levels, posing risks for those managing diabetes.

"Overweight individuals may also experience further weight gain.

"However, incorporating physical activity the following day can help mitigate these effects," she said.

She suggests that hosts offer healthier options to minimise excess calorie intake.

"Rather than serving carbonated drinks, hosts should opt for healthier options like fruit juice or plain water, as carbonated beverages contain high sugar levels.

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"A small can of soda contains approximately nine teaspoons of sugar, equating to 20 to 30 calories per teaspoon.

"By providing healthier choices, we promote a culture of wellness," she added.

On the other hand, Malaysian Association for the Study of Obesity (Maso) former president Emeritus Professor Dr Mohd Ismail Noor described that overeating during Aidilfitri festivities alone typically doesn't result in obesity, as the conversion of excess calories into body fat is a gradual process.

"Moreover, the body possesses its own mechanisms to regulate calorie intake according to individual needs, influenced by our daily activities.

"Weight gain typically occurs over the long term when calorie intake exceeds expenditure," he elaborated.

Ismail recommended practicing portion control, particularly with fatty and sugary foods, to ensure calorie intake aligns with daily requirements.

"Given the abundance of calorie-rich dishes during festive occasions, it's crucial to exercise moderation.

"Avoiding late-night meals after indulging during open houses can help prevent excessive calorie consumption," he said.