ABU DHABI 25 October 2019: The UAE National Dietary Guidelines, prepared by the Ministry of Health and Community Protection, revealed that the UAE’s daily per capita consumption of sugary beverages is 1.1 packs.
The guidelines highlighted key findings on the dietary habits of 18-year olds between 2017 and 2018, especially those associated with fat, salt and sugar consumption.
The guidelines are based on food habit statistics included in the results of the UAE Health Survey conducted in 2018 involving 8,214 participants from around the country, which was carried out by the ministry, in cooperation with relevant national authorities, said Wam.
The guidelines highlighted a sense of awareness of healthy ways of preparing food, stating that 48.9 percent of respondents preferred grilled food while 31.7 percent preferred boiled food and around 15.5 percent preferred fried food.
The guidelines also showed that the increase in fat content is not only through consuming oil, but through the consumption of cheese, with the average consumption of white cheese accounting for 38.8 percent, and cream cheese for 17.5 percent, yellow cheese for 15.6 percent, and low-fat cheese for 5.9 percent. Whole milk also had the largest share of the UAE market, with consumption amounting to 56.7 percent.
It also pointed out that 40.6 percent of Emiratis always add salt to their food while the consumption of food with high salt content, such as ready-made soups, was relevant to 31.1 of respondents, and ready-made meals to 33 percent.
Consumption of bread and refined breakfast cereals totalled 68.8 percent while the consumption of chicken meat totalled 45.6 percent, followed by fish and red meat.
In terms of the consumption of vegetables and fruits, 82.8 percent of respondents consume less than the World Health Organisation’s recommended five servings.
Starting in December, the UAE will adopt an excise tax of 50 percent on sugary beverages and other products with high sugar or sweetener contents produced for the purpose of drinking, whether liquid, concentrated or powdered, to reduce the consumption of these products, the nation’s obesity rate, and the number of chronic disease cases.