According to the World Health Organisation, in 2016 more than 1.9 billion adults (≥18 years) were overweight, 650 million of these adults were obese (WHO, 2018). In Jordan, an overall prevalence rate of 30.5% overweight and 35.9% obesity among the Jordanian population was reported in 2018 (Ministry or Healtm or Jordan, 2018). In Hungary, Rurik and co-workers (2016) reported an overall prevalence rate of overweight and obesity among men as 40% and 32%, respectively, while overweight and obesity occurred in 32% of women based on data from 0.55% of the population above 18 year (43 287 persons) (Rurik et al., 2016). The latest Hungarian representative dietary survey (OTÁP, 2014) shows that nearly two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese (Erdei et al, 2017).
Energy imbalance is one of the main causes of obesity. Globally, there has been an increased intake of energy-dense foods. In the Jordanian population, the proportion of energy from fat, carbohydrate, and protein is within the recommended value (Alkurd et al. 2019), the daily ﬁbre intake is 8 g/1000 kcal and that for sodium is 7623 mg (Alkurd, 2011). In the Hungarian population, the proportion of energy intake from fat is higher and from carbohydrate is lower than the recommended value, the protein intake is adequate, the average ﬁbre intake is 22.9 g/day (Sarkadi Nauy et al., 2017) and the sodium intake is 5300 mg/day (Nauy et al., 2017).
A huge part of our food intake comes from traditional meals and modern meals requiring traditional ingredients that are popular among people. They are frequently consumed in every country, because it is a deﬁning part of the national cuisine. So far, there are limited studies published on the healthiness of these meals.
Hoyard and co-workers (2012) studied the energy and macronutrient contents of 100 main meal recipes of ﬁve popular UK television chefs. Authors compared the nutrient contents of these meals both with the WHO nutritional recommendations and UK Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) “traﬃc light” system for labelling food. They found that no recipe fully complied with the WHO recommendations.
Scmneider and co-workers (2013) investigated the nutritional properties of recipes (entrees and main dishes) shared on popular online food blogs. The nutritional values of the meals were analysed according to US Dietary Guidelines. The recipes analysed in this study met energy recommendations but were excessive in saturated fat and sodium.
In a cross sectional study, Trattner and co-workers (2017) compared the energy and macronutrient contents of 5237 main meal recipes from the food website Allrecipes.com with those of 100 main meal recipes from popular chefs and 100 ready meals. The basis of the comparison was also the nutritional guideline published by WHO and recommendation of FSA. Only six from 5237 internet recipes fully complied with the WHO recommendations. Internet recipes were more likely to meet the WHO guidelines for protein than other classes of meal, however, these recipes were less likely to meet the criteria for fat, saturated fat, and ﬁbre compared to ready meals. More internet recipes met the criteria for sodium density than ready meals, but fewer than the popular chef meals.
Trattner and co-workers (2017) investigated the healthiness of 58 720 recipes from internet website of Allrecipes.com. Their main ﬁnding was that only a small percentage of recipes available on the internet can be considered healthy according to WHO and FSA guidelines. The healthiness of recipes varied across the 27 diﬀerent meal categories, but even recipes in the “healthy recipes” category can be misleading.
Recipes promoted either in books, websites, or TV programmes by popular chefs are sometimes presented as being healthy. Therefore, in this study, we compared the energy, macronutrients, ﬁbre, and sodium contents of the main and popular traditional and modern meals in both Jordan and Hungary with the national and international recommendations.
Authors would like to thank the Hungarian Government represented by Ministry of Foreign Aﬀairs and Trade and the Tempus Public Foundation for Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship program and the Doctoral School of Food Science at Szent István University for covering the software cost and providing the necessary support.
see more information on Manal Alalem: https://www.food4ever.org/person/chef/manal-alalem/
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