Have you heard the news? The Australian Government has released new dietary guidelines. Read on to find out what they mean for you. This issue we also share our love for kumara and tell you how a dehydrator could help curb your habit of snacking. And you won’t want to miss our upcoming culinary medicine cookshop, which will teach you how to create delicious dishes using powerful ingredients that can help lower your cholesterol and blood sugar.
Did you know that a healthy diet and lifestyle could prevent up to 70-90 % of chronic disease? Do you have a family history that may be putting you at risk?
The 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines*, based on a review of over 55,000 research papers, provides updated eating advice that you may wish to consider. The last national guidelines were released 10 years ago, so this update was certainly well due.
The new guidelines put a much greater emphasis on ‘healthy weight’, since obesity is such a strong driver for most medical conditions and is now recognised as contributing to a shortened life-span. Also, as we all know well, prevention is a smarter tactic given weight loss can be so difficult to achieve and even more difficult to maintain.
A Body Mass Index of 40-45 can reduce your life expectancy by 8-10 years!
Being a couch potato isn’t the only reason for carrying around those extra kilos. Evidence from western countries clearly shows an increased calorie intake from processed snack foods, sugary drinks and fast foods is mostly to blame. Strikingly, there is now strong and consistent evidence that children and adults who eat just one or more fast food meals a week are at a significantly increased risk of weight gain, becoming overweight and becoming obese! How often do you pick up a take-away meal?
After reviewing the evidence in a systematic fashion, the National Health Medical Research Council (NHMRC) advises that a realistic and sustainable weight loss goal, with clinical benefits that your doctor can measure, is 1-4 kg per month, reaching 10 % loss of your starting weight in the medium term and 10-20 % over 1-5 years.
While this might hardly be the kind of numbers you see splashed across the covers of glossy magazines, it’s the amount associated with more permanent, sustainable, weight loss, rather than a quick fix. Isn’t that what we all want?
New exercise goals
The level of exercise required to prevent weight gain in healthy people who are not overweight has increased. The government warns that if you’re planning to eat discretionary foods such as biscuits, lollies or drink alcohol and expect to not gain weight, this will only be possible if your physical activity levels are also increased – such is the power of our calorie-rich and abundant food supply that surrounds most of us.
Table 1: Minutes of daily exercise required to prevent weight gain
For general population
For formerly obese person
Plenty of vegetables and legumes
A wide variety of nutritious foods is recommended, as always, but the emphasis on ‘plenty’ is reserved only for the food group: vegetables and legumes. This is not surprising really, since these foods are vital for a healthy waistline and contain a broad range of phytonutrients – from carotenoids and flavonoids to isothiocyanates and oligosaccharides, and, of course, dietary fibre. So, as you’ve probably heard us say many times before, these foods should form the major part of your diet if you want to fight the onset of chronic disease. Note: legumes are represented in both the vegetable and protein food groups in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (which is a plate-like graphic) for good reason.
In order to reach health targets, Australians need to increase their legume consumption by 470 %!
Research clearly shows that not all carbs are bad, just the refined and high-GI ones. So the guidelines have upped the bar from ‘preferably wholegrain’ to now mostly wholegrain and/or high-cereal fibre varieties. This means white bread is out and quinoa and barley are in.
Meat limit imposed
Processed and cured meats – think lean ham on your sandwich and bacon with your eggs – are no longer recommended in the protein food group due to their strong link with bowel cancer. They have been relegated to the ‘discretionary foods’ section, together with typical junk food choices like cakes, pies and fast-food.
For the first time in Australia, there is also a 450 g weekly limit imposed on total red meat intake per adult. If you’re a patron of steakhouses, which now offer up to 500 g slabs of meat in one meal, this could mean you’ll need to limit your visits to once per week in future.
Low-fat dairy after two years of age
Low-fat varieties of dairy products remain the best pick for everyone aged two years and older, meaning you don’t need to give little kiddies full-fat milk drinks and should opt for lower-fat cheese, unless you want to speed up their artery clogging. Of course, fortified dairy alternatives are also recommended for those who prefer to go dairy-free.
Drink to your health
Plain water is backed as the perfect drink to reduce your risk of weight gain, type 2 diabetes, dental caries and cardiovascular problems, which have been associated with guzzling sugary or highly caffeinated beverages.
While it’s acknowledged that a small amount of alcohol may benefit heart health (for certain people with risk factors), the evidence for an increased risk of cancers of the breast, colon, rectum, liver, oral cavity, pharynx and larynx is also highlighted for the same small quantities of alcohol consumed regularly. For example, even one standard drink of alcohol daily (defined as 100 ml wine or one can of beer) can increase your cancer risk. Alcohol use by adolescents has especially harmful effects on their developing brain and the NHMRC recommends the safest option for people aged 15-17 years is to delay drinking for as long as possible.
While there are many things you can do to improve your lifestyle, we believe diet is the single most important behavioural risk factor (after smoking) you can easily improve.
Do you need to audit your diet? Try our quick quiz.
Or book in to speak to one of our friendly Accredited Practising Dietitians. The NHMRC recommends people with medical conditions receive expert dietary advice.
*NHMRC, Eat for Health Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013.
“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.” – Julia Child
What’s Cooking – More Clever Foods to Reduce Your Cholesterol
Do you cringe at the thought of taking lifelong pills? Would you prefer to enjoy delicious meals instead?
Join us to learn about nature’s exciting ‘portfolio foods’ and drop your cholesterol, sugar and dress size the natural way.
Research has proven that a unique dietary combination of certain foods in appropriate amounts can lower your cholesterol by up to 30 %. This is as much as a starting dose of a first generation statin medication that doctors prescribe!
The only side effects: more energy and improved regularity. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Impressed? We can show you how to do it all at home to improve your blood test results.
At this event you’ll learn to cook gorgeous black beans using a time-saving pressure cooker for a warm winter salad. You’ll discover the delights of okra in a fragrant tomato sauce and drool over a moist dessert loaf served with a cholesterol-lowering cream that you can even eat at breakfast!
You will just love this menu!
When: Tuesday 6th August 2013
Time: 6.30 pm – 8:30 pm
Learn more about our cookshops
Enjoy a delicious three-course tasting meal, recipes and handouts!
Call NOW on (02) 9899 5208 to book your place. Bring a date and make it an evening out!
Breaking News – Sue Radd Awarded Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian (AdvAPD) Credential
We’re very excited to share the news that Sue Radd has just been honoured by the Dietitians Association of Australia by receiving the Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian (AdvAPD) and Advanced Accredited Nutritionist (AdvAN) credential.
AdvAPDs are role models for the profession of nutrition and dietetics and the credential is a formal way of recognising their outstanding professional achievements. Less than 2 % of dietitians in Australia have been awarded this credential. Congratulations Sue!
What’s Fresh? – Kumara
Kumara is a favourite root vegetable at the Nutrition and Wellbeing Clinic. Not only does it taste good, but we think its health benefits for people with diabetes and weight loss clients are up there with other super foods.
Kumara is a starchy based root vegetable and its flesh comes in a variety of colours, including orange, purple, white, red and yellow. It is thought to have originated from Central and South America but has now spread to all corners of the globe.
Importantly, kumara is a low-GI carbohydrate, making it ideal for everyone who needs to watch their blood sugar level. It releases glucose more slowly into your bloodstream, helping to keep you fuller for longer. It is a great alternative to most varieties of potato (which tend to be high-GI – especially if mashed!).
When shopping, look for kumara that is firm to touch. Its skin should be smoothish and unbroken. Store your kumara like potatoes – in a cool dry place with good ventilation (for up to a week). Do not refrigerate.
Prepare your kumara like you would potatoes. Its skin can be washed and lightly scrubbed prior to cooking. But it’s not always necessary to peel kumara before use, there’s plenty of goodness also in the skin!
Kumara is versatile in cooking – it can be mashed or baked or added to soups, curries, barbeques, pies and quiches.
7 ways to eat your kumara this winter:
- Include in vegetable stews or curries
- Slice into 0.5-1 cm-width circles, place onto a baking sheet, spray or drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake for 20-30 minutes
- Do a mixed veggie bake with kumara, beetroot, eggplant, zucchini, onions, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and herbs
- Slice thinly and use as a pizza topping
- Layer it through lasagne
- Use instead of potato in a shepherd’s pie
- Toss cubed, baked kumara through cous cous or quinoa salads
Food Matters with Sue Radd – Omega-3 for Vegetarians
Want omega-3 but don’t eat fish? No problem. There are vegetarian omega options for your brain, eyes and a healthy heart. Check out Sue’s column
Food InFocus – How Much is Too Much Alcohol?
Now that you know it’s a smart idea to limit your alcohol intake, what does a standard drink look like? Watch this TV interview with Sue Radd to see a standard serve of wine and learn about non-alcoholic options to help you cut down or enjoy some alcohol-free nights.
Kitchen Tip – Dehydrator
A dehydrator isn’t the type of box you’d expect to find in the average Aussie kitchen but given the current popularity of raw food diets, it may well become a more common entity with time.
Why would you want to own a dehydrator? Snack foods in the local supermarket tend to be high in saturated fats, sugar and salt. The dehydrator, on the other hand, provides an easy way to make your own healthy and delicious snacks to help you stay on track with your weight and health goals. You can make your own home-made roll-ups, muesli bars and veggie or banana chips without any of those extra nasties.
How do they work? Dehydrators use different drying methods. Some have base mounted fans (which move hot air vertically), some rear-mounted fans (which move hot air horizontally) and others use convection drying (with no fan at all). The fan position can determine how the heat is distributed and foods closest to the fan tend to dry quicker – so tray rotation may be needed. A dehydrator works by drawing cool air into the fan, heating the air up and then distributing it around the trays. Once the food is dehydrated, warm air removes the moisture from the foodstuff and is then pushed out the front of the machine.
Dehydrators can range from $100 to $500 in price and vary in size, shape, number of trays and drying thoroughness. As snack foods from the supermarket aren’t cheap, if you work out your annual spend, you may be able to pay off your dehydrator in just 2-3 months if you stick to home-made snacks. Buying seasonal foods in bulk and then drying and storing them for later enjoyment can potentially save you lots of dollars. Dried foods are also environmentally friendly as you don’t need to continually use energy during storage (as you do for frozen foods).
So what can you dry? Fruit, seeds, herbs, vegetables and even sprouts. Other foods you can create using a dehydrator include crackers, fruit jerky and raw pizza bases. Some people even use their dehydrators for leavening home-made breads, culturing yoghurts, softening honey or butter, sprouting seeds and hatching chooks!
Drying tends to concentrate natural flavours and sugars in food, giving it more flavour and texture. Most nutrients in food are kept intact during the drying process and you also get to avoid food additives like sulphur or added sugars (which tend to be present in many commercial products).
Dried foods are easy to store in air-tight containers or jars and can keep indefinitely (but we’re sure they’ll be eaten quicker than that).
One tip to keep in mind if you do dry your own fruits and feed them to children regularly: make sure everyone brushes their teeth well, as the stickier nature of the carbohydrate can promote dental caries.
7 things to consider when buying a dehydrator:
- Ponder your needs, family size, space limitations and budget before you buy.
- Larger models will require more space.
- Do you prefer stackable trays or removable shelves?
- If the fan is positioned behind the trays, then you have hot air blowing across the shelves, eliminating the need to rotate the trays.
- Convection drying doesn’t make as much noise and uses less electricity than fan-operated dehydrators but it tends to take twice as long.
- Fan heating can suck in dirt, which may contaminate your food items. However, if your fan-powered dehydrator is placed in a clean space, this shouldn’t be a problem.
- Cleaning your dehydrator can be somewhat difficult, depending on the model you buy.
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Published by the Nutrition & Wellbeing Clinic, Copyright 2013.
Suite 10, 80 Cecil Avenue, Castle Hill NSW 2154 Ph: +61 2 9899 5208 Fx: +61 2 9899 2848 www.nwbc.com.au
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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