April 13 1998

If people in Yemen are generally thin and slim, a good question would be why talk about dieting. But the public should already be aware of the fact that there are plenty of fat, ‘healthy’ people as well as thin undernourished bodies which have lent themselves to stereotypes that we always keep in mind.
A good food diet also means keeping a balanced nutritional level of carbohydrates, fats and proteins as well as vitamins. This means not to indulge in high fat foods like steaks or plates rich in cholesterol like cooked shrimp, both of which might be very appealing taste-wise but dangerous in the long run for thin and fat people alike.

The primary reason why the romance between diet centers around the world and the media began is to keep the people informed of a good nutritional intake regardless of their weight and with an accent on particular culprits like low fiber and high fat diets.
Low fat diets were popular in the 80s and 90s. The tendency to keep slim by reducing fat and carbohydrate intakes has become the norm now for many years. Is this a fad or will this trend continue into the next century?

Not only will consumers become more aware of the hazards of eating the ‘wrong’ foods but will also be exposed to an ever increasing health food consciousness which pushes more fiber and vitamins into the diet and even reintroduces certain natural food diets which are low in cholesterol, culprit number one in the health watcher’s diet.
In the past couple of decades, people have been concentrating on cholesterol because of the media, but if one thinks carefully, it is easy to remember food programs pushing unsaturated fat diets, the introduction of margarine based products on the market and the increased use of vegetable shortening in baking.

Has butter died out because of the media’s play on alternatives? Hardly! Traditional food experts advocate that a regular but non-excessive use of butter is hardly dangerous to the organism which needs a certain amount of fat for body insulation and as an energy storage source. This explains why the Danish are doing so well as they introduce butter into the Yemeni market shelves just as margarine was introduced as a source of unsaturated fatty acids in Canada years ago.
For the success of dieting to perpetuate itself, readers will not only be more informed as to the origins of poor food habits, but of the biochemistry of cholesterol and related steroids which create an ever increasing consciousness especially for the heart patient. Our bodies synthesize a certain amount for the production of cell membranes, the cover of our cells especially in the nervous system where the chemical goes into the manufacture of the more complex sphingolipids that are used to protect brain tissue.

This new age food consciousness has interplayed with the media which will then further influence dietitians and other health experts to continue to promote health schemes especially for developing countries like Yemen where the educated will demand more information on improved food products. In other words, as the Yemeni people become more educated they will be exposed more to certain health schemes that are normally available as dietitian tables in many diet clinics of developed countries. And there will naturally be a backlash from Yemenis who are still conscious of their ancestral food habits and might argue why so much emphasis is placed on all these new food products. They got along well with what they ate for centuries when there was no mention of cholesterol hazards and the like.

This is probably why the media will succeed. As the world changes, people want to be more informed. Besides, there is the tendency in developing countries is to emulate the progress of food dieting which runs parallel to the progress of reform in the quality of life in developing countries.
Since the quality of life and living standards are improving here in Yemen, it is most likely that people will be ever more conscious of new food trends. Besides, as technology makes the world smaller and smaller, unique features in small countries will be eroded as a unified culture grips the world and creates uniform living styles.
By: Martin Dansky,
Yemen Times.