Written by Dr Sandra Miranda , ND

Happy New Year to all!…Although for many of you the holiday season probably feels like an eternity ago.

I had the opportunity to visit the beautiful island of St. Lucia the first week of January with my family.  St. Lucia is an Eastern Caribbean island nation known for its rainforest and tapered mountains called the Pitons.   The volcanic beaches, rainforest trails, waterfalls and sulfur springs made this trip an unforgettable experience. 

During my visit, one of the main observations that I couldn’t help notice is a drastic distinction on rates of obesity comparing the tourists to the locals.  So I started to do some research… and here is what I found.

National prevalence of adult obesity in St. Lucia is only 27%.  This is significantly lower than other developing countries, for example Canada has an adult obesity rate of 64%.

I became interested in finding out what were some of the common nutritional habits and common foods that most people eat, in order to keep the obesity rates so low. 

I asked a few locals and these seem to be the top tips that most of them agreed on:

  • Most people consider their lunch their main meal and they only eat a small snack for supper.
  • There is a higher consumption of fish (of course fresh salt water fish) instead of other meats.
  • Many don’t eat red meat after 3pm because it is considered to be a protein that takes a long time to digest.
  • Overall, their food is a lot less processed than what we are used to in North America for example, their bananas (one of their main produce for exportation) are so sweet and tasty but so small compared to the rather large bananas that we can buy (makes me wonder what on earth our bananas are sprayed with in order to become so large).
  • Macdonald’s, KFC and other fast food chains are so expensive that most people will choose to buy more fish and sweet potatoes and other fruits and vegetables instead.

So how about it, do you think you can pick up some of these healthier nutritional habits?