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Nutritionist: Don’t blame the panucho!

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Ileana Fajardo Niquete and Enrique Barbosa Martin, DIF. Handout photo
Ileana Fajardo Niquete and Enrique Barbosa Martin, DIF. Handout photo

The obesity epidemic in Mérida has many causes, but the panucho isn’t one of them, said the director of nutrition at DIF Mérida.

An earlier report connected Yucatecan food with the region’s growing battle with expanding waistlines. But Ileana Fajardo Niquete said that area food favorites like the panucho not the villain here.

We went from a traditional diet of fruits, vegetables and legumes to white bread, cakes, cookies and soft drinks, she said. Packaged food has replaced homemade Yucatecan meals.

Currently, the average Meridano starts the morning with coffee or a bottled soft drink, accompanied by some cookies, a sweet bread or cake. By midmorning, another packet of cookies and maybe some yogurt or fruit. At lunch, pizza or a torta — which usually has no vegetables. At night, repeat the breakfast foods: again, bread, pastries, cookies, coffee or soda, said Fajardo.

The tradition of maintaining fruit trees in the backyard, and enjoying local mango, plums and citrus, is a thing of the past, she said. And supermarket fruit is shipped in from far away, and very expensive.

Panuchos are delicious, but contribute to an obesity epidemic in Yucatán.

Recent reports cited Yucatecan food as a culprit. Fajardo defended one of the most indulgent local delicacies, a dish that starts with a refried tortilla, filled with black beans and topped with shredded turkey. The nutritionist notes that the pancho “has corn, lettuce, tomato, avocado and onion; beans and shredded beef. What is the problem?”

Just eat two for a meal, and wash it down with water rather than soda, and you could do worse, she said.

Source: Diario de Yucatán

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