Researchers have found that eating a Western diet filled with fast food has had a negative health effect on Singaporeans. Those who ate Western fast food twice per week or more had a 27 percent increased chance of getting diabetes. They were also 56 percent more likely to die from a heart attack or related disease when compared to those people who ate traditional Singaporean foods. Those who ate fast food more than 4 times per week increased their heart disease risk by up to 80 percent.
Not many research articles exist on the effect of fast food and the above diseases and those that did usually focused on populations residing in the US. This is one of the few studies that look at cultures that did not traditionally have heart disease and had a history of not eating fast food until recently.
Singapore has had an increase in heart disease and diabetes of late so that the numbers of patients with diabetes are about as high as those in the US. The most recent study focused on those of Chinese descent. The changeover to fast food began in the 1990s so people had an increased access to pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers and French fries.
Other studies showed that those who ate more fast food were younger, less likely to smoke and were more educated than others. This is traditionally the diet that is associated with a lower risk of type II diabetes and heart attacks. There was no association between these diseases and an Eastern diet, including dim sum. Doctors believe that it’s the type of fat the food is used to cook in. Eastern food is cooked in vegetable oil, while Western food is cooked in trans fats, which are much more dangerous to you.
Another study looked at eating processed foods in Brazil. Most food served in Brazil is traditional and affordable. Many people eat at home with other family members. There are a lot of TV and Internet commercials pushing fast food and trying to get Brazilians to eat Western food. These commercials are fortunately not taking effect and Brazilians are still relying on traditional ways. Brazilian law is partially protecting the populace. For example, Brazilian children get one free meal at school and this food must be minimally processed or fresh food. Thirty percent of the food must be from locally grown sources. Brazil is also a great source of milk so that people can drink milk instead of sodas.
Access to healthy food in the country of Brazil is considered to be a human right that needs the law to protect it. This right to healthy food has been in the legal books since 2010, along with rights related to work, social security, education and healthcare. There are many societies in Brazil that are pushing the legal rights of the populace to eat healthy and to have many other healthful habits. Brazil has half the diabetes risk when compared to the US or Singapore; however, numbers are rising in Brazilian cities.