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Foundation unveils diet plan to help smokers quit

2012/04/25 21:57:13

Taipei, April 25 (CNA) The John Tung Foundation, a health promotion body, on Wednesday unveiled a four-week diet plan that it said will help people quit smoking.

The diet plan features five meals per day with a total calorie intake of 1,800, which is the standard amount for the average adult male, said Hsieh Yi-fang, the dietitian who designed the plan.

Smokers are advised to eat foods that contain vitamins A, B, C, which could help ease withdrawal symptoms in the first week after they stop smoking, Hsieh said.

Having soup and fruit before proceeding to a meat course could help control weight gain, she said.

She also suggested chewing a piece of sugar-free gum to replace the desire to smoke.

The diet plan is part of a broader effort to help smokers quit, said Lin Ching-li, the head of the foundation's tobacco control division.

Central to the plan is a quitting contest, which has attracted a record 10,000 participants in the three weeks since it opened, Lin said.

Many people who are trying to stop smoking worry about gaining weight since the nicotine in cigarettes acts as an appetite suppressant, said Lai Chi-Kuan, secretary general of Taiwan Medical Alliance for the Control of Tobacco. As a result, when people stop smoking, their sense of smell and taste become stronger and they tend to eat more, he said.

It is normal for someone who is trying to quit smoking to gain about 2-3 kilograms, Lai said. However, if there is no diet control, the weight gain could be more than 5 kilograms, which could result in health issues, Lai said.

Actors Ariel Lin and David Hsu, who were promoting the quit smoking contest, said that smokers trying to quit should try taking deep breaths, drinking lots of water, stretching, and brushing their teeth or washing their faces to avoid the urge to light up.

(By Chen Ching-fang and Maia Huang)
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