Latin Americans eat far too much fat and too sweet

Latin Americans eat very unhealthy, according to a new study. The Food and Agriculture organization (FAO) of the UN tries to deal with guidelines tailored to each country.


The FAO, for each country a guide for healthy eating, based on the food available in each country. Poor eating habits create the malnutrition and non-communicable diseases in developing countries even worse.

Ecuador gets the voedingsgids in september, says national feed stuff advisor Gabriela Rosero. It is, along with Peru, the only country in South America that this instrument has not yet.

Especially processed food

The purpose of the guide is to give directives for food policy and nutrition programs. Both countries are part of the eight countries surveyed in the Latin-American Study on Nutrition and Health (ELANS). It was found that consumers generally give preference to processed and non-natural products.


Latin-American consumers generally prefer to processed and non-natural products.

The average energy intake (EI) is approximately 1959 calories per day, with a balanced distribution of macronutrients (54 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent fat, 16 percent protein), but the problem is in the details.

Sugar and fat

“More than 25 percent of the EGG comes from food sources that are rich in sugar and fat, such as sugary drinks, cakes, chips and candies. Only 18 percent of the EGG comes from foods that are rich in fiber and micronutrients, such as whole grains, roots, fruits, vegetables, beans, fish and nuts’, says the study.

Martha Yépez, one of the ELANS researchers, is of the opinion that this trend is a result of the development in the countries surveyed. “We’re in the middle of the consumption of easy accessible foods. It is easier to buy what already is ready everything is ready to make, even if it’s not cheaper.”

Unbalanced diet causes various forms of malnutritie that 88 percent of all countries in the world to take, says the FAO: acute and/or chronic malnutritie, a lack of micronutrients, obesity and nutrition-related diseases (including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer).


It is easier to buy what already is ready everything is ready to make, even though it is not cheap.

Martha Yépez

Double problem

Rosero confirms that Latin America has to fight against a double problem of malnutritie, as 34 million people are malnourished. In children younger than five years suffer ‘6.1 million from chronic malnutrition, almost four million overweight and 38.5 percent from anemia. With adults, has a 50 percent overweight and 27 percent obese.’

The ELANS research also showed that fish is almost absent in the energy-intake (only 9 percent of the EGG), although all the countries studied (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela) have access to the sea.

The influence of advertising

‘The exceptions were Peru and Ecuador, where the consumption of meat is half amounted to that in the other countries and little influence on the EGG’, the study said.

Manuel Coronel, voedingsingenieur to the Technical Equinox-university of Ecuador, says that it is a cultural problem, that the food security of each country, and threatens, and that it is also due to the huge influence of advertising.


People know what they should eat, but they do not.

Manuel Coronel

‘People know what they should eat, but they do not. If we are now no preventive measures are taken, then we will be at a later age, health problems as obesity and high blood pressure.”


Ivan Sisa, an expert in public health at the San Francisco university of Quito, ecuador, calls for more and better regulation.

‘In the U.S. drop the obesitasstatistieken because there is more regulation. The industry would be more regulated, with more taxes. Chile has, for example, games and comics, forbidden to the sale of corn flakes.’

Yepez says that the government earlier education to do than to regulation.

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