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Overweight Russia prescribed 'crisis diet'

Health officials have ordered Russians to adopt a back-to-basics diet for the economic crisis to stop their weight ballooning after a decade of indulgence during the boom years.

A report published this week by the Federal Consumer Protection Service said Russian men and women have gained two kilos (four pounds), while children put on almost a kilo over the past ten years.

The recommendations come as the deepening economic crisis is expected to reshape Russia's eating habits in favour of cheaper calorie-rich but nutrient-deficient staples like bread and potatoes.

"When it comes to obesity, Russian women are among the leaders in European countries," Gennady Onishchenko, head of the Federal Consumer Protection Service warned in the report entitled Healthy Nutrition on the Cheap.

The report also published by government newspaper Rossiskaya Gazeta presents a set of guidelines cobbled together by Onishchenko and a leading top nutrition institute on how to stay slim despite the temptation of eating cheap but calorie-rich foods.

The economic boom saw Russians develop a taste for foreign delicacies and US fast food after years surviving on the notoriously dull meat and potatoes cuisine of the Soviet Union.

Onishchenko encouraged Russians to cut down on fizzy drinks in favour of milk and extolled the delights of healthy home-made meals as opposed to ready-made or junk food.

"We are losing our culinary traditions," the doctor lamented.

"I am very sorry to say that by losing the skills of traditional meals cooking we are loosing part of our culture at the same time."

Russians are recommended to start their day with porridge, have traditional bortsch beet soup, a vegetable salad and fish for lunch and not to forget a glass of kefir (sour milk) before bed.

The recommended diet includes approximate prices and says that an adult Russian male can enjoy healthy eating on just 2,780 rubles (77 dollars) per month, while Russian women can make do on just 2,354 rubles (66 dollars).


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