Fat too much fibre too low

2014-06-12 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The food MPs eat in Parliament can give anyone heart problems, said dietician Mariam Forgan, spokesperson for the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (Adsa).

Her warning followed after several MPs had complained Parliament’s food were making them fat. Forgan said when looking at the variety of daily meals and snacks available to MPs, she saw a fat content that is too high, a lot of refined carbohydrates, too much salt and too little fibre.

“If you want to pick up weight and increase your risk for heart diseases, this is how to do it. It also does not help that MPs have high stress levels, as this influences their choice of meals,” she said.

“The carbohydrates they eat do not fill them and the soda drinks will bloat them and make them feel sleepy. Most of them suffer from heartburn.”

MPs who sleep during Parliament sessions are often caught on camera.

Some MPs say each member must decide what they want to eat.

On his way to the parliamentary dining room, Mandla Mandela, ANC MP, yesterday said it is not just about what MPs put into their bodies, but how they work off the meals.

“Exercise is important. One can’t just eat and eat and do nothing. We have a gymnasium for MPs. I make use of it regularly and other can also do so.”

Yesterday’s menu for the MPs included fish, cubed beef, fried chicken, mince balls, baby potatoes, springrolls, fruit and celery, carrots and cocktail tomatoes.

All the food is served on a buffet and MPs can have second or third servings.

Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health told sister paper Die Burger South Africa’s unhealthy eating and drinking habits combined with other risk factors like smoking and drinking to create a is ticking time bomb.

“MPs and all the government leaders must set an example. If they do it right, the rest of the country will follow.

“People criticise me as a strict health fanatic, but South Africa was recently listed as the country with the fattest people in Africa south of the Sahara. I am not targeting MPs, but they do have the power to change things, like the menu.”

The Parliament did not react to questions on the size of Parliament’s catering budget or how the menu is made up. In 2012, the budget for food and drinks was R16 million.

Juli Killian, ANC MP, said there was a lot of food to choose from and MPs had to select healthier food.

Typical food on the MP menu

Breakfast from 9 am: yoghurt, sandwiches and croissants. Tea: scones with cream and jam, sweet and savoury biscuits (the chocolate biscuits are very popular), cheeses, dry wors and biltong. Appletizers or Grapetizers are served with the tea and coffee.

Lunch lam chops, sausages, chicken drumsticks, beef cubes, and fish. Normally only the lettuce leaves remain on the serving dishes.

Recommended menu for MPs

Breakfast: Muesli, yogurt, nuts, fruit salad, poached eggs and a low GI seed loaf, chicken salad, roasted tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach and fresh mixed fruit juice.

Tea: Beverages, water, fresh fruit juice, Coke lite and Sprite zero. Biltong, nuts,

olives, dried fruit, Provitas with hummus.

Lunch: Meat or beans with roasted, steamed vegetables, roasted potatoes and salad. Limited pasta and bread.

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