To improve existing health initiatives, we propose 3 recommendations to the Government of Singapore:
1. Update dietary guidelines to emphasise the health benefits of consuming less animal-based foods and adopting well-planned plant-based diets.
2. Set national per capita goals to decrease meat (including poultry and seafood), dairy and egg consumption.
3. Include initiatives into health master plans to reduce the consumption of animal-based foods and increase the quality and accessibility of plant-based alternatives.
We plan to deliver the position paper below to MPs, select Ministers and Ministries in Singapore later this year.
When we do, it will give the position paper more attention if we can show that there is support for it - that's where you come in! Please sign and share with everyone you think may be interested.
Our government has taken many crucial steps in promoting a healthy diet in Singapore, while preserving the country’s rich food culture. However, the high consumption of animal-based foods such as meat, milk and eggs will pose challenges in ensuring a healthy, happy and productive population.
Scientific evidence indicates that compared to plant-based diets, diets high in animal-based foods are associated with a higher risk of chronic illnesses, including heart diseases, obesity, diabetes and certain types of cancer. If the issue of consuming of animal-based foods in excess remains unresolved, Singapore will continue to see high rates of disease incidence, mortality and healthcare expenditure.
In 2010, Singaporeans were overconsuming 20-116g of meat, poultry and seafood a day. In addition, analysis of USDA data of 500 food types shows that in general, compared to plant-based alternatives like beans and bean curd, cooked lean meat, poultry and seafood contains up to:
• 13 times more saturated fat,
• 33 times more sodium
• and 1.7 times more calories
In addition, compared to soya milk, cow’s milk contains up to:
• 5 times more saturated fat,
• 12% more sodium
• and 10% more calories
Cholesterol is only found in animal-based foods, whereas dietary fibre, which is essential in reducing the risk of many chronic illnesses, is not found in such foods. On the other hand, plant-based alternatives contain no cholesterol and can provide up to 25g of dietary fibre a day.
This position paper describes and explains the current situation and problems, the root causes, and finally our recommendations. We urge Singapore’s government to consider the recommendations set forth, develop a detailed roadmap, and take bold actions to encourage Singaporeans to adopt healthier dietary habits by reducing their intake of animal-based foods.
Read the full position paper here.
Annex A: Vitamin B-12 Content of Animal-based Foods
Annex B: Saturated Fat, Sodium and Calorie Content of Animal-based Foods and Plant-based Alternatives
Annex C: Dietary Fibre content of Plant-based Alternatives
Annex D: Protein Content of Plant-based Foods
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