How to choose healthy foods for a healthier life

New Zealanders should avoid junk food, high-glycemic foods and low-calorie beverages to avoid obesity, according to a new guide to help them eat healthily.

New Zealanders who eat more than three meals a day should also reduce their calorie intake to about 2,500 calories per day, while those who eat less than 3,500 should reduce their consumption to about 1,500.

A guide published on Tuesday outlines ways to cut back on sugary snacks and high-fat and high sugar foods to reduce obesity, which is increasing rapidly in New Zealand.

“While most of us have already lost weight, we should be doing more to get our food into the right place and reduce our intake of high-caloric foods,” said the Food Guide NZ chief executive, Michelle King.

It said that in many cases people were “sick of being fat”, and were seeking to lose weight to avoid the health problems caused by high body mass index.

The guide advises those who already weigh around 190 kilograms to reduce their weight to 160kg, but recommended they not eat or drink sugary, high calorie foods such as white chocolate, sugary drinks and fizzy drinks.

The NZ Food and Nutrition Board (NZFNB) said the guidelines were based on recent research and a review of the literature.

“They’re very useful tools that help us make healthy choices for our own wellbeing and those of our loved ones,” NZFNB chief executive Mark Davies said.

The guidelines include tips on how to choose foods that were high in protein and healthy fats, which could help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

“These guidelines provide a valuable starting point for people to consider whether they are a good fit for a healthy diet,” he said.

“The best way to find out is to try it out for yourself.”

Dr Andrew Hargreaves from Auckland University said the NZFBN guidance was useful.

“People who are overweight or obese can use this guide to see if their diet is working for them,” he told Reuters Health.

“You could also look at whether you might be overweight or obesity if you have some other health problem that may affect your overall health.”

For example, people with high blood pressure or heart disease may need to change their diet to reduce the amount of sugar they are eating.

“If you are overweight and obese, you should consider changing your diet to try to keep your blood pressure under control,” Dr Hargroves said.