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This month we take a look at: concerns regarding BPA – a toxic chemical, a solution for people who suffer from irritable bowel, the benefits of barley, plus more! 


What’s in the News – BPA to be Phased out of Baby Bottles in Australia - Finally!

With Canada, the U.S. and a number of European countries already withdrawing plastic bottles containing Bisphenol A (BPA) from the market, from July 2010, major Australian retailers including Coles, K Mart, Target, Woolworths, Big W, and Aldi also agreed to join the band wagon and phase out baby bottles made with this toxic chemical.

What is BPA? BPA is an industrial chemical used to make clear, heat-resistant, shatter proof plastics (known as polycarbonate plastics). Sure these are great functional attributes, but evidence has been mounting that BPA can leach into foods and liquids contained within such plastic bottles – especially if the foods are acidic or heated in the plastic.  Studies have linked chronic, low dose, exposure to BPA with endocrine disorders, certain cancers, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and reproductive disorders. 

Australia’s regulatory body, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), has acknowledged the growing public concern by helping retailers introduce the phase out, but concluded from a review of its own that the levels of BPA consumed through baby’s bottles are too low to be deemed hazardous, and the phase out is therefore not a mandatory government requirement.

The worrying news is that BPA is not only found within baby bottles. It also hides in infant feeding cups, the linings of some infant formulas, as well as many other plastic food containers, drink bottles, and some canned foods. You may notice that certain plastic products now claim ‘BPA free’ on their labels.  The best way to select BPA free bottles and containers is by checking the number in the recycling triangle symbol on the bottom of the container/bottle. Avoid using those with the numbers 3, 6, or 7 as these are likely to contain BPA. Instead, opt to eat and drink from those numbered 2, 4, 1, or 5. 

Read more about the phase out


Slimming Tip – Portion Distortion

Did you know that over the past 20 years our food portions have more than doubled? This means we are unknowingly taking in twice as many calories – a sure way to fast track weight gain!  If you feel as though you eat ‘normal’ sized portions but can’t shed the kilos, it’s likely you have become victim to the portion distortion era, which is sabotaging weight loss efforts right round the western world!

Here are a few comparisons of now and then:

  • Today's portion of spaghetti and meatballs (2 cups of pasta with sauce and 3 large meatballs) supplies 4300 kilojoules, which is 2200 more kilojoules than a portion 20 years ago.  Do you have a spare 2 ½ hours to do some house cleaning and burn this off?
  • A turkey sandwich 20 years ago provided only 1500 kJ. Today’s 10-inch turkey sub (think Subway) has almost 3,500 kJ!  To burn off the extra 2000 kilojoules you’d need to ride your bike for 1½ hours.
  • A normal portion of French fries 20 years back was the size of McDonalds SMALL French fries in today’s terms! This means that when you eat hot chips today, instead of getting 900 kJ you’d probably receive 2500 kJ, for which you’d require over an hour of extra walking to burn off.

So is it a case of portion distortion for you? With our busy lifestyles, leaving us little time to exercise and burn off the bonus calories, it makes sense to reduce our portions to what was once considered ‘normal’!

Our advice: don’t be fooled into upsizing or grabbing the value-added meal.  For the few extra cents you’ll get much more than you bargained for!  If you’re confused about the whole portion distortion dilemma, speak with your dietitian to learn more about appropriate portions for your modern needs. 


Clinic News – Sue is Away Unlocking the Secrets of the Mediterranean Diet

This month Sue Radd is in Greece, busily researching the peasant dishes and cooking methods of the salubrious traditional Mediterranean diet.  She will no doubt return full of interesting facts and new recipe ideas that we can share with you at our upcoming Culinary Medicine Cookshops. Monica and Melissa will certainly be keeping a check on her adventures throughout the month!


What's Cooking in August – Delicious Wheat Free, Gluten Free Food to Tame an Irritable Bowel

Do you suffer from unexplained bloating, wind, pain, diarrhoea or constipation?  You may have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). 

Join us on 17th August at 6:30 – 8:30 pm, for an exciting new cookshop, which could change your life! Learn to eliminate FODMAPS – the dietary culprits responsible for most cases of IBS - and see how to cook friendly foods for your gut.  

Bring a friend and enjoy delicious tasting plates together - from entrée through to dessert!  For a taster, read Sue Radd’s latest article on dietary FODMAPs

If you’ve had a gutful, call NOW on (02) 9899 5208 and reserve your seat! 


What’s in the news – Hungry for a Food Change?

Do you ever wonder what you’re really eating and plating up for your family? A recent film Food, Inc. delved into the mysterious world of food production and manufacture with raw facts that may startle you. From factory farming, cloning, pesticide use and genetic engineering, to the impact modern foods have on our environment and health, this film promises “you’ll never look at dinner the same way again”. If you missed out on the screenings across Australia last month, check out the trailer to see why this movie is having a profound impact on viewers or read Sue’s review.

DVD copies of the film will be available by the end of the year.


What's Fresh? Barley

Did you know that barley is one of the oldest crops in the world, having been cultivated for over 8000 years?  This ancient grain has re-surfaced with consumer interest after the recent approval of a health claim on food labels by the US FDA that barley lowers the risk of heart disease.

Why is barley so good for you?  Barley is a wholegrain and a superfood in its own right! Loaded with beta-glucan (a soluble fibre) it’s proven to help lower your cholesterol and is one of the lowest glycaemic index (GI) grains you can eat, meaning it can better regulate your blood sugar levels. The high fibre content will also help curb your hunger, making it a great substitute for white rice.

Several varie­ties of barley are available including hulled (the tough outer hull is removed), pearled (hull removed and kernel polished), rolled (steam rolled and dried), bran and flour. Unlike most grains where the fibre is located in the outer bran layer, the fibre in barley is found throughout the entire kernel.  So even partially refined barley products, such as pearl barley, supply a good source of fibre! You’ll find barley in the rice and pasta aisle of your supermarket and in health food stores.

3 ways with Barley

  • Create a hearty soup or stew by adding pearl barley to your favourite recipe
  • Make a warming barley risotto (replace white or brown rice with pearl barley). See recipe
  • Experience a fresh barley salad. Try this recipe  

In the Kitchen: We Love BPA Free Stainless Steel Water Bottles

If you want to avoid nasty toxins that may leach into your drinking water from plastic bottles, why not switch to a stainless steel bottle instead? Stainless steel is free of BPA – a widespread chemical found in many household plastics including baby bottles, drink bottles, the lining of canned foods, non-stick cookware and food storage containers.

As mentioned above, regulatory bodies such as FSANZ have determined safety levels for humans, but these levels are currently being questioned as a result of new scientific studies suggesting that even very low doses over long periods of time may have deleterious effects. While there is continual debate about the health effects of BPA, we’d rather drink out of BPA free bottles while we wait for all the results to come in!

Stainless steel bottles are dishwasher safe and freezable. What’s even better is that they’re healthier for the environment too! Some brands have also brought out insulated styles – great for the warmer months ahead!

Depending on the size, brand, and style, you can pick up a stainless steel bottle for around $10. We’ve located an Australian online site dedicated to selling BPA free bottles including Cheeki, Thermos, ECOtanka, Camelbak, Earthlust, Innate, Klean Kanteen, Nathan, and Thinksport. For more information click here


Clinic News – Cookshop Survey Competition Winner

We’re delighted to announce that the lucky winner of our cookshop competition last month is Danielle Vassallo! Congratulations Danielle – you’ve won a Tefal 3 in 1 steamer! We’d also like to thank everyone else who participated in the survey. Your feedback and comments will be very helpful in planning our cookshops for 2011.


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Published by the Nutrition & Wellbeing Clinic, Copyright 2010.

Suite 10, 80 Cecil Avenue, Castle Hill NSW 2154 Ph: +61 2 9899 5208 Fx: +61 2 9899 2848 www.sueradd.com

We are a boutique Dietitians clinic in Sydney, Australia, offering one-on-one consultations, culinary medicine cooking workshops, motivational health seminars and nutrition advisory services to businesses in the local and global area.


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