Nutritionists weigh in on Museveni’s diet, weight loss

Friday January 24 2020

‘Weight loss journey’. President Museveni

‘Weight loss journey’. President Museveni during the trek early this month. The President has attributed his weight loss to dieting. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA  

By ESTHER OLUKA

Nutritionists have explained President Museveni’s diet with some individuals wondering whether it is healthy and can be embraced.

President Museveni is known for encouraging Ugandans to exercise and avoid bad eating habits.
During a recent interview with BBC Newsday presenter, Mr Alan Kasujja, the President revealed he does not eat European and Asian foods.

He said he eats local food comprising cassava, some bananas, millet and vegetables in the morning. The President said he does not have lunch but will drink water and coffee without sugar.

For supper, Mr Museveni eats two Irish potatoes because they have low starch. He also said he “adds a lot of vegetables to deceive the stomach that he’s putting something there”.

While recently responding to social media comments, President Museveni revealed he had moved from 106kgs to now 76kgs, which he hoped to stabilise

Mr Elvis Mwanje, a nutritionist and wellness specialist in Kampala, said the President’s breakfast diet comprising cassava, bananas, millet, and vegetables is a great one.
“It is a balanced and heavy,” Mr Mwanje said.
Mr Mwanje also applauded the vegetables in the President’s diet.

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“Vegetables are great. They help one lose weight since they create a satisfier effect where by one feels full, yet, in actual sense they are not,” Mr Mwanje says. “Vegetables help deceive the body.”
Mr Mwanje, however, discouraged individuals from eating vegetables alone because they do not meet all the body’s needs.
“One of the most important nutrients the body requires is calcium which is not abundant in vegetables,” he said.
Mr Mwanje said lack of calcium in the body tends to cause bone issues.

“In addition, the vegetables do not meet all the important vitamins such as A, D, E and K. Vitamin A supports growth and bone development as well as development and maintenance of skin tissue. Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, Vitamin E an antioxidant is helpful in protecting cells from damage while Vitamin K plays a role in controlling blood clotting,”he said.
Mr Mwanje said to ensure that the body gets all the vital nutrients, individuals need to add other foods in their respective diets.

“You can still eat the meat, chicken, eggs and drink the yoghurt and milk. These foods have other body nutrients including essential vitamins that the body requires. You don’t need to include these in your diet on a daily basis. Just once in a while,” Mr Mwanje said.
He added: “Skipping lunch is a bad idea too. Usually at that time is when you need the most energy to work. So, its’ important that you eat something. If you are watching your weight, minimise the portions then,” Mr Mwanje said.

However, Ms Regina Nantege, a dietician at AAR Healthcare Uganda, said foods such as cassava and millet are a great source of carbohydrates to include in one’s diet.
“They are a major source of energy for the body,” she said.

Sugar alternatives
Some individuals stay away from taking sugar for fear of getting diabetes. Mr Mwanje advises that the sugar can be substituted with natural sweeteners such as honey.

eoluka@ug.nationmedia.com

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