PETALING JAYA: It is only Day Four of the World Cup and your football jersey may already be a bit snug around the waist.
If so, it is time to rethink what goes on your snack plate, says Nutrition Society of Malaysia president Dr Tee E Siong.
“Since snacking is a must when watching the games, one has to make greater efforts to do so properly. For many, it is more of a habit; they just want to munch on something.”
Then, Dr Tee suggested that they lay off snacks fried in oil such as chips and sweetened snacks.
“This includes drinks. Cut down on sweetened beverages such as soft drinks and cordials,” he said. “Alcohol is also not advisable; it has more calories than sugar!”
Dr Tee recommended plain water and healthier snack alternatives, such as fruits that contain water like watermelon, cantaloupe and melon, and vegetables that are crunchy and yet low in calorie such as baby carrot, broccoli and celery with low fat dips.
Aggravating fans’ health during the World Cup would be the disruption in their daily schedule, causing a decline in physical activity, Dr Tee said.
He also urged those who have caught the samba fever to try get any amount of physical activity they can during this season.
“Try to walk around the office and the house more,” he said. “The soccer team is burning a lot of calories running around the field but the fans are just sitting down and gorging on extra calories!”
Dr Feisul Idzwan Mustapha, a public health physician at the non-communicable disease section in the Health Ministry believed that everything should be done and taken in moderation.
“I can talk about reducing the intake of teh tarik, soft drinks, or snacks – but that will go against the very essence of watching football together in Malaysia,” he said.
“That requires changing our culture – and we need champions for that.
“As the World Cup happens only once every four years, I don’t want to be a killjoy, but just be sensible; listen to your body and know your limits. If you are tired, rest.”
Malaysian Medical Association president Dr H. Krishna Kumar said adequate sleep and rest were important.
“Take your annual leave if you want to watch these games continuously so that you can sleep during the day time and get enough rest,” he said. “This is particularly so if your work requires crucial decision making or exposes you to possible injuries.”
Crucially, added Dr Krishna, go for a health screening to see if you have a pre-existing condition and need to be careful during the World Cup.