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HETN Hidden Hunger


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HETN is changing lives in Africa. This presentation tackles, in a simple and easy to understand way, some of the misconceptions about nutrition and the role it plays in disease prevention.

HETN is changing lives in Africa. This presentation tackles, in a simple and easy to understand way, some of the misconceptions about nutrition and the role it plays in disease prevention.

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  • 1. Millions are starving. The solution isn’t food. It’s nutrition. But do we know what nutrition really is?
  • 2. HETN stands for Health Empowerment Through Nutrition – an organisation dedicated to exploring the relationship between nutrition and Unlocking the chronic disease hidden hunger We know that the human body needs sufficient nutrients for optimum health – but due to environmental degradation, soil depleting farming methods, food crisis with effective processing and diet choices, the nutrition of most people is inadequate, even if nutrition they have food on the table. The result? Hidden Hunger affects more than two billion people. Even when a person consumes adequate calories and protein, Immunity is compromised. Chronic diseases are on the increase. Even in if they lack one single micronutrient, or a combination the West where people live longer, half have health problems that require of vitamins and minerals, their immune system is prescription drugs on a regular basis. compromised and infections take hold. This worldwide problem is extreme in Africa, where a diet deficient in primary World Food Program micronutrients is widespread, and fortification of food with chemical isolates has become commonplace. This dietary fortification is inappropriate, because it cannot solve the problem and may even make matters worse – as these chemical vitamins and minerals are not only poorly absorbed, but often toxic, and rarely act in the body the way nature intended. Hunger is not merely about having a lack of food. Hunger is about lacking food that produces a healthy human being. Throughout the world, nutrition is being neglected in favour of a full stomach. HETN believes that there is more to food – because real food is about effective nutrition.
  • 3. The crisis Why healthy soil Malnutrition is rampant throughout the world – and has a devastating impact, means healthy food and healthier people not only on lives, but also on the global economy. The terms ‘nutrition’ and ‘a balanced diet’ are used with little understanding. There are many communities experiencing health problems not seen by their grandparents, who often lived in even greater poverty. By providing highly refined foods with added highly refined vitamins and minerals, science has done little to provide a solution to malnutrition – because highly refined means that these foods are not the natural foods our bodies are designed to use, and they don’t work. The problem Every day, the human body needs nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. Obtaining these nutrients from the food we eat, or in the right form from other sources, is beyond most people – either through poverty or ignorance. Not only have people moved away from their traditional foods, but modern agricultural practices and food processing remove essential nutrients from the food chain. Nutrient Depleted Soil Nutrient Rich Soil This means we can no longer rely on ‘a balanced diet’ to obtain the nutrients our bodies require. Modern farming practices leave Soils farmed responsibly are rich the soil depleted of nutrients – in bio-available nutrients, which The continued fortification of food and diets with chemical isolates cannot and the resulting crops that enter are incorporated into the farmed address the problem. the food chain have insufficient foodstuffs – and, when eaten, the This is what we call Hidden Hunger - because filling bellies and improving the vitamins to provide our bodies vital nutrients they contain are Body Mass Index of children does not mean that they are well nourished. with the nutrients we need. readily absorbed by the body.
  • 4. The more refined the food, Food fortification isn’t the less nutritious the food a solution The refining process further reduces the nutrient content of foodstuffs. In Where there is awareness of nutrient depletion, it is usually ‘corrected’ by the fact, the vital parts of the whole grain that contain fibre, vitamins, minerals & addition of isolated chemical nutrients – but this does not solve the problem. omega fats are discarded in the refining process. For example, according to the National Food Consumption Survey (2000), in South Africa, the five foods eaten the most are refined white maize and sugar, A WHOLE GRAIN tea, milk and brown bread. Bran - Protective Endosperm - outer shell. High in Contains starch, The result of this is that many children are seriously deficient in iron, zinc and fibre and B vitamins. protein and some Vitamin A. In response, the Department of Health introduced mandatory food vitamins and minerals. fortification of all maize and wheat flour from 2003. However, despite widespread use of these fortified foods, a repeat survey in Germ - The seed for 2005 showed no improvement. Why? a new plant. Contains • Because electrolytic iron has a bio-availability of less than 2%, it is not B vitamins, some readily absorbed. protein, minerals and • Phytates in maize further reduce this. healthy oils. Vitamin E • Inorganic iron and inorganic zinc compete for absorption. Vitamin B6 Magnesium • Electrolytic iron oxidises the vitamin A. Manganese Riboflavin PERCENTAGE OF EACH • Vitamins are denatured and destroyed by cooking. Niacin NUTRIENT LEFT AFTER Fibre WHOLE WHEAT IS REFINED Zinc Potassium Thiamine Iron Phosphorus Copper Sodium Pantothenic Acid Calcium Selenium Fat Vitamin B12 Folate Protein 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 % of nutrient in refined white flour compared to whole wheat flour
  • 5. Current solutions are not We need a new working approach in order to A Balanced Diet is the medical approach – but ignores reality. Most underdeveloped communities do not have access to foodstuffs that will ensure real nutrition provide a balanced diet. Where they do, they often cannot afford these STANDARD APPROACH BEST APPROACH foodstuffs. When they can afford them, due to ignorance, they usually do not choose them. When they can afford and choose food that can provide a balanced diet, it is often nutritionally depleted. Food Security is the approach of the World Food Program, but often only fills an empty stomach - because grain is grown on depleted soils and harvests are deficient in vital trace minerals. The milling process results in the loss of fibre, vitamins, minerals and omega fats, due to the removal of the husk, membrane and germ. This removed goodness is usually sold as animal feed. This kind of food intervention has a limited ability to strengthen the immune system. Chemical Micronutrients Bio-available Nutrients Using supplements as isolates to address daily nutritional needs perpetuates malnutrition as this approach results in expensive urine. The problem is that isolates cannot be readily or easily absorbed and are often excreted from the body without any effect. Because chemical Isolates and genuine food nutrients have different structures, they use different metabolic pathways and function differently in the body. The body needs these micronutrients as food or in a food form. For example, the vitamin C you get from an orange is more readily absorbed and is more effective than chemically produced ascorbic acid, which is often just urinated out of the body. Isolating nutrients and expecting the benefits of chemical isolates to equal those provided by whole foods, reveals an Refined Grain Whole Grain ignorance of how nutrition works in the body. Body Mass Index (BMI) is not a sensible measure of nutritional status – because even though your body may not be emaciated, this does not mean you are healthy. Why? Because an improvement in BMI can be achieved through eating high levels of carbohydrate and fat – and that does not equate to good nutrition. Gaining body mass can occur without even adding cheap micronutrients – and is unaffected by whether or not the body absorbs these micronutrients. We see confirmation of this, not only in Africa, but also in the USA and UK, where there is a high prevalence of obesity in people eating refined, nutritionally sterile food. Little absorption of Good absorption of So for both poor and rich - malnutrition continues to exist. Vitamins & Minerals Vitamins & Minerals
  • 6. We need whole foods Proof that Health with bio-available vitamins Empowerment Through and minerals Nutrition and e’Pap Where access to fruit and vegetables is limited, whole grain cereals need to be fortified – but with nutrients that can be readily absorbed by the body. changes lives & Beyond is a world leader in luxury adventure travels and This can be done. It is affordable. And it works! safaris. They have a philosophy that says “Care of the Land. Care of the Wildlife. Care of the People.” This was their Did you know that it costs less than £2 per month to feedback on HETN’s approach and e’Pap. provide a vulnerable child or a TB patient with a daily nutritious meal? “Our most valuable asset is our staff. With this in mind, in 2003 we How? With products that are about real nutrition, such as e’Pap. initiated Positive Health across the group. This programme is built around natural vitamins and minerals, affordable foodstuffs and Products such as e’Pap are the power of positive thinking. It is geared at preventive health care and improving the health of people living with chronic disease. about real nutrition e’Pap is an important part of this initiative. In Africa, HETN supports e’Pap. This is a pre-cooked, whole grain food, Not just another cereal, e’Pap is a nutritious and affordable meal-in- based on maize and fortified with soya and a cocktail of 28 nutrients. e’Pap one, enjoyed by our staff at more than 45 safari camps and lodges. is produced in Africa where it’s composition and brand name are suited to Positive Health champions from each lodge educate the local Africa’s taste and tradition. The formulation is based on a local understanding communities on the many benefits of this remarkable product.” of nutritional need, and uses state of the art, first world fortification chemistry to ensure bio-availability and bio-efficacy. e’Pap makes the difference at & Beyond says Steve Does it really work? See the 3 Month e’Pap effect for yourself. Fitzgerald (Chairman) We teach and encourage our staff, as well as the communities surrounding our conservation areas, to grow their own vegetable gardens to ensure that they get all the nutrients they need. Operating in various countries across Africa and in very remote destinations, this is obviously a challenge. In order to supplement their diets, five years ago we sourced e’Pap, which is effective and affordable. e’Pap contains all the nutrients that a person needs on a daily basis and we have seen remarkable results. The difference that it has made has been immediately visible, especially with BEFORE AFTER
  • 7. staff who were ill. Once they started using e’Pap, they begin to look healthier, and their skin condition and colour, hair and weight improved visibily. Proof that Health Another advantage is that absenteeism has been reduced and people have Empowerment Through more energy to perform their duties. Nutrition with e’Pap We would recommend this product to anybody, as it has really made a difference to & Beyonders’ lives. It complements and enhances a well balanced saves lives diet and helps the body to defend itself against opportunistic diseases. e’Pap Improves TB Cure Rates by 39%. HM Timber is South Africa’s largest saw-milling group and When e’Pap was introduced, no one believed that it they have seen the difference in employee performance and would save lives - but we have seen miracles. cost savings based on improved productivity. Lenasia is surrounded by poverty. When everyone was losing hope, this miracle pap came to save lives. We used to cry and wonder why people should be so sick. Today, we walk with a smile and “The e’Pap intervention with 70 of our employees cost the company R3 songs in our hearts, because we have witnessed the dead brought back to life. 500 (£250) per month. By the third month, the cost saving to the company Atteridgeville is surrounded by squatter camps. Bread winners had taken to in reduced absenteeism and improved productivity was R34 000 (£2 430).” their beds. When e’Pap was introduced, most families were back on their feet. They gained weight, and grew in strength. Patients at Hamanskraal now respond positively to medication. The children can concentrate at school. They sing and praise e`Pap as it works miracles in their villages. With this little sachet we can heal the nation; we can change the world. John Heinrich, CEO, South African National Tuberculosis Association, writes: On behalf of SANTA, I would like to express our appreciation of the partnership enjoyed with HETN in the distribution of e’Pap to TB patients, their families and care workers. The pilot project of 2 tons of e’Pap per month is proving highly successful. The greatest impact is being seen on very ill / bedridden patients. Reports from recipients indicate that e’Pap is far more beneficial than supposed enriched foods received before. These e’Pap projects have proved most valuable and are well received. Their continuation and expansion is seen as one of the three major objectives of SANTA in the continuing fight against TB and HIV/AIDS - namely Nutrition, Awareness and Directly Observed Therapy (DOTS). SANTA is in no doubt that improved nutrition can revolutionise the fight against both TB and HIV/AIDS. 
  • 8. e’Pap is Changing Lives in Alexandra How does HETN make On behalf of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Maryvale Conference, I would a difference? like to offer our sincere thanks for the HETN is a Charitable Foundation, registered in donations of e’Pap we have received from HETN, and our appreciation for the the UK. partnership we have with you to distribute food to crèches and the terminally ill in Alexandra Township. Our goal is to address nutrient depletion, believing this to be crucial in health, education The current project of 2 tons of e’Pap per month is feeding twenty crèches and social upliftment programmes. with a total of 1800 children. HETN’s approach is based on numerous The success of the scheme is self-evident - children who were constantly tired scientific trials that demonstrate the are now full of energy, highly active and much more receptive to their teachers. importance of micronutrients in the prevention The overall improvement in their early childhood development is astonishing. and management of chronic disease. The success of the project is clear from the many requests we are getting from Our projects have a single aim - to ensure that crèches not receiving e’Pap who want to become a part of it. the recipients of feeding programmes receive The benefits to the township as a whole from the creation of a healthy a daily food portion that includes all the required micronutrients in a bio- generation cannot be over emphasised. available form. Of equal importance is the tremendous improvement in the health and quality We make a difference by: of life of the terminally ill and bedridden patients, whom we assist with our Partnering with NGOs in the field, to ensure that their nutritional interventions home based care service. are appropriate and cost effective. These include: e’Pap is a lot better than other food supplements that we have tried. • Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) - Crèche Feeding Patrick Lorentz - President SSVP Maryvale Conference • South African National Tuberculosis Association (SANTA) - Community Based TB Support Providing wholegrain food, with all the cereal fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals intact, and with the addition of all the required micronutrients in a form that is bio-available (chelates or food form). Comparing different formulations and measuring outcomes – with the aim of increasing the evidence base that supports nutritional interventions in the management of chronic disease. Our projects are already benefiting several thousand people in South Africa. Excellent nutrition overcomes Hidden Hunger and improves immune function, reducing the impact of infectious diseases, such as TB, Malaria and HIV.
  • 9. While HETN advocates the effectiveness of proper nutrition and provides credible evidence to define what healthy food actually is, it is not HETN’s task to feed the hungry – because this is the responsibility of governments and international agencies. Health Empowerment Through Nutrition Graham House Chequers Close Malvern WR14 1GP United Kingdom Phone: (+44) 1684 580 893 email: A UK Charitable Foundation (1116097)