Published on January 31, 2008
They advised Thai men to eat less than 2,000 calories a day and women to keep the amount to under 1,500 calories.
The nutritionists advised against consuming carbonated drinks that had high sugar content as each can was equal to three helpings of rice.
Dr Saming Kaocharoen, from the Khon Thai Rai Poong (Thais without bulging bellies) Network, said from 1986 to 2004, the Kingdom had seen the number of overweight people jump 7.5 times.
It was estimated there are between 10 million and 12 million obese locals today. This meant one in six Thais were overweight, he said, and were in danger of such conditions as heart disease, diabetes and stroke, three of the top 10 causes of death in the country.
Factors causing obesity stem from changing lifestyles and consumption patterns such as eating out, addiction to junk food and a high intake of processed items that are high in fats, salt and sugar, Saming said.
He cited a recent report by Kasikorn Research Centre that showed respondents eat out 13 times per week on average, the highest in South East Asia.
It was found Bangkokians eat out the most while North-easterners preferred cooking their meals, he said. "Thais spend approximately Bt927 per month eating out, benefiting fast food restaurants that will be investing several billions of baht in new outlets this year. There are nearly 1,000 fast food outlets now operating in Thailand today," he said.
Dr Khanat Kruthkul, a cardiology expert and clinical nutritionist from Ramathibodi Hospital, said people who eat out add 290 more calories to their diets than those who cook at home. Restaurant meals use more oil and offer foods that are rich in calories, he explained. He said people who eat at home tend to be more sensible when deciding how food is prepared and in choosing what is healthy for their needs.
Public Health Ministry nutritionist Sanga Damapong said men should take in 1,800 to 2,000 calories daily while women should consume 1,200 to 1,500 calories, spread over three meals.
He said breakfast should yield 360 calories, lunch 280 calories and dinner 360 calories.
He urged people to opt for plain water, which had no calories rather than carbonated drinks with high sugar content. A can of pop soda with 12 teaspoons of sugar will contain 240 calories. Once consumed, the sugar content soon turns into fat and is stored by the body.
Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) deputy permanent secretary Dr Sitthisak Jiamwongphaet said the BMA had joined with Ramathibodi Hospital, the "Khon Thai Rai Poong" Network, the Department of Health, and the Thai Health Promotion Foundation to host the second fat-fighting market on Saturday on the sixth floor of CentralWorld. It will provide healthy menus, a basic check-up programme and tips from those people who had successfully shed weight using safe, healthy methods. For more information, log on to www.raipoong.com