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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cmon Macca's

I cannot tell you how disappointed I am that McDonald's have been advertising their new "snack" range and "frozen Coke" menu options right before the school holidays. After months and much money has been spent developing a new Happy Meal, and Deli Choice low fat menu options, the company giant has reverted to plugging the far less nutritious options just in time for Christmas

Now, don't get me wrong, I am no diet purist and accept that we all eat fast food at times, in fact I would be lying if I said I did not enjoy fast food but having it available and aggressively marketing it is another story.

So, if you are interested, no the new Macca's chicken range are not particularly healthy choices, nor should fast food be considered a snack at any time - in fact, most of us do not need to snack at all. And no, frozen coke is not a great idea either, for children or for adults.

C'mon Macca's, you can do better than that.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Tips for preventing Christmas weight gain

  • Never go to a Christmas party starving, always have a light, protein rich snack such as a nut bar or peanut butter corn thins before you go to avoiding overindulging on the pastries
  • Limit high fat treats including mince pies to the Christmas week itself
  • Swap beer, wine and champagne to spirits with low cal mixers
  • Swap dinner for a light soup or salad when you have eaten out
  • Look for protein rich options such as prawn and chicken skewers and sushi on food platters
  • Bulk your plate up with salad to make sure you get the bulk factor of your meal
  • Talk to your boss now about featuring nutritious options as opposed to the cheap and nasty pies, sausage rolls and vol au vent’s
  • Differentiate special occasions from cheap drinks and nibblers with random work acquaintances
  • Avoid cheap wine and champagne altogether - they give a nasty hangover
  • Try not to keep chip, nuts and lollies in easy to nibble places
  • Choose only good quality pastries, chocolates and sweets
  • Avoid doing your big Christmas shop until Christmas is much closer
  • Remember your low calories drink options
  • Swap crackers and rice snacks to wafer thins and vegetable sticks
  • Make dips using low fat sour cream and yoghurt
  • Remember that Christmas is really just one day, not 4 + weeks
  • Go for an extra run when you have over indulgedMaintain your routine exercise and add in some extra walking to compensate for the extra calories

Friday, November 9, 2007

We all need a little self help

Many of you may wonder why one earth a dietitian would be giving advice on “self development” books but my background is actually in psychology- You may also be surprised when I tell you that during nutrition counseling sessions you tend to spend a significant amount of time discussing the huge number of pressures and issues in people lives, that may be directly or indirectly affecting their food intake and hence my interest in personal functioning in general. So, here is update on some classics and personal favourites from a range of life areas in the bookstore which I hope you find as helpful as I have.

You Don’t Have to be Born Brilliant, John McGrath – a must read for all wanting the very best from their day to day life
You Inc, John McGrath – a must read for all self employed people who look at those who are successful and ask why - this is the book that tells you
The 4 Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz - a classic which looks at some basic principles that ensure you maintain calm and balance in your life, no matter what negative interactions may cross your path
Something More & Moving On, Sarah Ban Breathnach- a classic read for mid to middle aged women going through any sort of career or relationship changes
It’s Not About the Bike, Lance Armstrong – the classic portrayal of human courage
Don’t Die With the Music Still In You, Wayne Bennett – a description of human potential from the humble mentor of many
French Women Don’t Get Fat, Mireille Guiliano – food and eating as it should be, not as we make it
Choosing Happiness, Stephanie Dowrick – Clearly shows how it is our decision to be happy or not
Inspiration, Dr Wayne Dyer – Why life is not about trivial pursuits but magnificent obsessions
Enchanted Love: The Mystical Power of Intimate Relationships – a must for any female who has ever questioned the nature of her relationship
Crucial Conversations, Kerry Patterson - teaches you to have the conversations that you know you need to have but have thus far been unable to at work or at home
Really Relating, David Jansen; Margaret Newman & Claire Carmichael - the relationship classic for any couple who feel as if they are living separate lives
Playing with Fire, Gordon Ramsay - a fantastic insight into how childhood experience can drive an individuals behaviour in work and in life
The Rules, Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider - if you are a single female you need to have read this book.
Princess Bitchface, Michael Carr-Gregg - a must read for any mother of a teenage girl
Are you the one for me?, Barbara De Angelis - another classic for anyone who makes the same mistake in relationships, time after time
Dealing with the Self Absorbed, Nina Brown- a great read for anyone who works with ego driven individualsFeeling Good by David Burns: if you are prone to low mood and depression this book is a great introduction to cognitive behavioural therapy

Monday, October 29, 2007

Update readers responses to The Weekend Australian's article: Why exercise doesn't work

I did not read the article, but discouraging people to exercise purely for aesthetics is so frustrating. Did he mention that we not only exercise purely for weight control, but for cardio health, bone density and so much more. I think it is quite negligent to write this sort of rubbish.
Nikki Garland

I read the WeekendAus article and found it very depressing! Esp the study that took a group of people and trained them for a marathon and they didn’t lose any weight! I do agree with their point about the “energy in – energy out = weight” equation being too simplistic tho – I have seen some of family members eat sparingly and move a lot and weigh a lot more than other of my family members who eat more and exercise much less. But the one point I think the article missed was that weight per se isn’t the only (or most important) thing – they completely neglected to look at body measurements and I wonder whether exercise changes these, even if it doesn’t reduce weight. That has certainly been my experience.


Just one observation. As a long distance runner, I note that after a very long run or a hard one, I may not feel hungry for hours. I eat anyway but exercise doesn’t necessarily increase appetite.
Now, on Sunday I went for a 2 hour run at 6.20am. Afterward I “reluctantly” had 2 small bagels with sour cream and smoked salmon, a little fruit, can of coke, cup cake, 3 cups of tea. I didn’t feel hungry again until 2.00pm. Had a light lunch ( Jap restaurant) and even lighter dinner (sardines on toast and a bit of cheese) I feel fine and have very little body fat, as all long distance runners do. Yet, there is still fat! I believe a small amount is necessary for long distance running...there by function, not intention.

People need less food than they think and exercise is not a bad thing - for any reason. I think we should eat small, exercise big.

When I went to hospital recently for a foot operation, I had wires coming off me everywhere, checking the condition of my heart. The Doctor declared he’d like to have my heart. I’ll be 55 y.o. this month.
Dennis Wylie

I saw the article and was a bit annoyed. It never mentioned that there are some like me who really get a buzz from exercise. It also failed to mention that for your own well-being doing something is good. To me the article tried to say that exercise has little bearing on weight loss when it is known that any thing that puts the energy equation in a debit position even a little bit is better than nothing at all. I thought that the Lance Armstrong physiology thing was interesting, if this is the case then why aren't we reading about this in the fitness mags. It was implied that you had to run or cycle heaps to burn sufficient weight, when we know that a balanced combo of aerobic activity and weights ( not necessarily the bodybuilder type program) will significantly help.....and also make you feel good. From my experience once you lift the feel good factor the rest can fall into place even if it does do slowly. Well that's my beef about the article. Thanks Virginia

Thanks for your articles. I enjoy reading them.
I didn’t read the Weekend Australian and I agree with you regarding it. Moderation in everything and yes, if training for a triathalon then that’s a different story. Apples for apples.
As far as daylight saving is concerned, Qld is too close to the equator for it to be of any advantage to us, but as it is we do have the choice to get up an hour early and have our walk in the cool of the morning in summer whereas with D.S. after work in the afternoon/evening it is still quite warm for comfortable walking.
With daylight saving we do not have that choice if we work and are controlled by the clock.
Keep up the good work Susie.



Hi Suzie, Regarding your comments about the article, my personal experience is that I actually feel like eating less when I exercise. And when I do eat I feel like eating more healthy choices of food like salads and fruit and drinking plenty of water. Apart from physically feeling that way I am psychologically more conscious of what I am eating so that I don't undo all the good work I have just done!
Popi Zappia

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Why our supermarkets control us

In Australia, there are two main supermarket chains. Occasionally you come across an independent supermarket but they are rare. This is quite unlike the States or the UK, countries with populations large enough to support specialised chains which feature certain types of food including organic, generic or mainstream brands.

What this means for us, is that our two major chains have enormous power over what we eat by stocking the products and locating them on the shelves exactly the way it suits their bigger business interests.

While this is unlikely to change anytime soon, being aware of it at least informs you so you can make a strong decision about the brands and types of foods you wish to purchase from these chains. If customers demand products, supermarkets have to stock them but if you do not ask, you will not get.

Where you can support your local grocers and fruit and vegetable markets and look high and low on mainstream supermarket shelves to track down the exact products and brands you are after. Don't let them control the way in which you and your family are able to eat-

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Susie is.....

Like many, for the past few months I have been completely obsessed with Face Book. The narcissistic streak that is rather common for all members of the Y generation has well and truly emerged in this Generation X'er, as we are all encouraged to tell the online community about our hopes, dreams and secrets and create a personally engineered pictorial life story to match - preferably one that is updated daily.

Like many, I have too spent (or wasted) many an hour searching through lists and lists of 'friends'; looking for those from my past who may have embarked on a truly remarkable life path to emerge or just in case the love of my life was actually the boyfriend I had in high school. Alas though, thus far, this has been far from the truth. Of all the past that has come flooding back in recent weeks I have to admit, there is little of it I have missed nor am keen to invite back into my present life.

Perhaps sticking with reality and the very concept of 'moving on' is the key to a satisfying present and Face Book is merely cyberspaces way of dragging us back, albeit temporarily, to delay the move into an unknown and sometimes daunting future.

When my true love told me last night that he is far too busy to talk to me on Face Book and that he will just call me if he wants to speak to me, I realised that perhaps just living life rather than searching for it in the past online is the secret he obviously already knows. Susie is now, done with Face Book and I think the phone is ringing......

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Are you really surprised the Wallabies are out of the World Cup?

Last week at the pub I was nearly taken out by a rugby fan when I dared say that I thought the Australians would be booted out of the World Cup by the South Africans or by the Brits. The guy looked at me as if I was a member of Al Qaeda and I quickly learnt to keep my opinions on rugby to my self.

So, on waking this morning I am not at all surprised to see the results back from the World Cup plastered all over the front of the Sunday papers and seriously, are you?

I am constantly amazed at how little insight men have into the actual psychological dynamics of high level sporting teams. Great teams are not determined by the number of Mark Gasnier's they have (just look at the Dragons!), nor are they decided upon by how much money is invested in their development and preparation (just look at Australian rugby!).

Great teams are developed, yes developed, when the coaching staff has the unique ability to nurture each individual player to the same level of focus, commitment and motivation, at the exact right time for every single game or competition.

That is the difference between good and great teams. Wayne Bennett is the classic example of a coach who has this ability. The players listen when he speaks and he commands a respect from all who cross his path - he is a man that can make good teams great. Todd Louden from NSW rugby is another, as shown in his work this year with the Bulls in the Super 14 competition. He has the amazing ability to lift players spirits to that far beyond their natural ability and as a result creates a team dynamic that far outweighs any skills that can be drilled into players at training. As a result each individual in the team is at one with himself, leaving him available to align with the teams goals for every game and session. The energy such a team creates is so great that the team can do anything it sets its mind to.

A great coach is cool, collected, self regulated and in such an intense focus for his craft the few manage to infiltrate his world or mind. The players one interest in this special man is to catch their own personal glimpse of his greatness, for that too will improve their game beyond any development program they themselves could embark on.

In retrospect this is the clear weakness of the Wallabies. Not only does the coach fail to demand respect from the players or the public for that matter, the Wallabies are not a mentally tough group that understand nor appreciate the privileged position they are in, nor do they have the absolute desire to be the best for themselves, their country or their teammates. The Wallabies live for months of the year in an isolated holiday camp in paradise and whether they win or lose they return to their multimillion dollar north shore mansions and look forward to the Australian Summer that awaits them.

Take the South Africans on the other hand; whether they win or lose they return to a tough country where they still work the land and witness suffering and poverty every single day of their lives. They spend much more time giving back to their religious families and are expected to give whatever they can back to their local communities.

The Wallabies cannot be blamed for their failure to perform at the World Cup. If Australian rugby had any insight into these dynamics, they would never have given John Connelly the job of coaching an underdone side to the World Cup. The trouble is, we cannot be sure that they will learn their lesson this time.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Do you know what is in food?

Can you believe that even though we eat it everyday, few of us really know what food is made up of? How many of you know how cheese is made? Or where the different cuts of meat actually come from off the animal? Or what carbs, proteins and fats really are?

Basic nutrition needs to be drilled into us when we are kids. Forget this idea of fruits and vegetables and breads and cereals - the 5 food groups. That was the most confusing thing that health professionals ever put together. It is all about carbs, proteins and fats. They are what food is made up of and the balance of them determines if we are going to be fat or skinny - it is as simple as that.

So it is time to ditch the wood work, legal studies and society and leisure and get the carbs, proteins and fats back in the curriculum. If we understood what we were eating, we may be better at managing it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Time for some cooking lessons

After almost 10 years of pretending it didn't really matter, I have now got to face the harsh reality that I can no longer be a dietitian who cannot cook, and I am going to have to go and get lessons. Yes, it is true. Each and every day, I routinely tell complete strangers what they should eat and how to cook it, only to retreat home to eat eggs mixed into an omelet like mixture or a bowl of soup my mother has made for me.

This conclusion has been reached when just tonight I reached my all time low point of having to beg a celebrity chef to cut the avocado for me on the TV shoot because I was terrified I would cut my hand off doing in during the record. Pathetic I know.

So, tonight I am making a commitment to find someone who will teach me how to chop, and possibly throw a recipe together so never again will an avocado be so scary.

So if you are looking for me over the weekend it is likely I will be at Border's looking for "Cooking for Dummies" and Nigella had better watch out.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Go with your gut feeling

Just tonight, in several different ways I was reminded that your gut feeling can be a pretty powerful guiding light on making the right decisions in life. Three years ago I started a job that I coveted more than anything in the world. I had waited for that job for a very long time; I wanted to be around the people in the organisation and I thought it was the next significant stepping stone in my career.

Right from the beginning though, things did not run smoothly. The management continually behaved in ways that were not appropriate. Work was not valued, inappropriate requests were repeatedly made, payment was poor and I was compared to the cleaner also being forgotten when it was questioned why I had not been invited to the groups annual gala dinner with the other members of staff. All in all, pretty powerful signs that it was not the best place to be around, professionally or personally.

Unfortunately, back then I was far less wise, and have stuck it out, which is the reason why now, some three years later I am now in exactly the same position I was back then. The only difference is that I am now significantly more resentful about how low this role and treatment has made me feel and pondering the ways in which I would be much better off if I had told them to fuck off three years ago, as I should have then, and would now if I had my time over.

It is the same with diet programs. If it sounds too good to be true, it will be. Each week I get contacted by new gurus in the diet and exercise space, wanting to pitch new products and claim they have found the newest, most effective way to lose weight. Now, call me cynical but seven years of uni and hundreds of patients of all different weights, ages and genders has taught me that there is no easy way to lose weight and any new idea is simply another poacher wanting to grab his or her five minutes of diet hall fame.

And in relationships? How many of us are kicking ourselves when we saw the first sign of disrespect, of bad behaviour, of infidelity and choose to ignore it, to justify it, only to make a split or the harsh truth so much more hurtful and difficult months, if not years on?

So, the main thing I have learnt this week is go with your gut instinct because it is usually the right option. If someone treats you badly, it is highly likely they will again. Remember, past behaviour is the most powerful predictor of future behaviour. And finally, we teach people how to treat us. If someone is not treating you well, something you did told the person that it was OK to treat you that way and it is now your job is to not make the same mistake again.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Will banning TV advertising to children really fix obesity?

Working with overweight kids for 7 years has taught me that there is not one simple thing that makes kids fat. Fat kids do not eat Macca's every day, nor do they eat a particular type of food that makes them fat. Kids get fat because they do not burn enough energy and, like many adults, eat too much for the amount of energy they burn.

So, while banning food advertising to children does seem to be a powerful response; one that successfully raises the emotions of the health professionals involved in the lobbying to something rivalling that of saving the starving children in Africa and definitely one that removes the notion that food companies are taking advantage of our precious darlings by exposing them to the wicked Ronald McDonald and the Paddle Pop Lion; I am not convinced it is the answer.

If we just get kids more active in their daily lives; more active at home, more active at school, not only will they watch lessTV anyway and hence reduce their exposure to television advertising but they will also need to worry far less about what they are eating.

So, rather than starting another health crusade which focuses on the negatives of food companies, perhaps looking at the positives in terms of what parents and kids CAN do to help prevent and manage obesity will be a WIN/WIN situation for all.

The truth is that TV advertising to children has been banned for some time in some Scandinavian countries but alas, despite this, there as been no changes in childhood obesity prevelance in these countries. So, I am not convined that shielding the kids eyes from all things fun and yummy with protect them from obesity at all, but going for a regular walk may well do, and that, is proven to work.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Italian anyone?

I fell in love with an Italian family when I was at uni, but most of all, as a budding nutrition student i fell in love with the way that they ate. A very long way from the grilled chops and mashed potato I grew up with in the western suburbs of Sydney; these delightful people sat together every night and savoured a number of courses of salad, bread, grilled seafood, marinated vegetables and coffee, every night. It was the best insight into food culture and one that could never be learnt from a text book.

Now, 10 years later, this family remain a very important part of my life and just last weekend, the 70 year old table head painted my townhouse. With him he brought his esky, filled with fresh Italian bread, proscuito, fruit and aged cheese, food which he survived on for the entire weekend.

I do not think that a scrap of butter, margarine has ever passed through this man's lips his entire life and not much processed food either-bread is about as processed as it gets. And maybe this is the very simple reason he is still working full time without a scrap of fat on him at the grand old age of 70 - or perhaps it is the 1/2 bottle or so of red he also polishes off each night!?

Either way, that kind of diet doesn't seem so bad after all

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Are you in EBB or FLOW?

Have you ever noticed how sometimes things just tend to fall into place. Work is going well, you have plenty of clients, when you head out, the person you hope is there turns up, people are paying their bills on time and life is ticking along nicely; things are in a state called FLOW.

Other times, nothing is going right. You couldn’t get a date if you paid for it, no work deals are being done and the phone is not ringing, every envelope you open is a bill and you have not been paid for months, everything you try and do becomes a hassle and life is really a chore; things are in a state called EBB.

While life can’t always be in FLOW, sometimes EBB comes when we need to make changes. Things are not flowing because we are not on the right path. We are in the wrong job, wrong relationship, looking for the wrong thing, training the wrong way.

If you think that you are in EBB, and have been there for some time it might be a sign that you need to make some changes in your life. The mid to late twenty’s are an age related period when these lags become apparent and big questions do need to be asked.

Key things to consider at this time include:

1) Where do I want to be in 12 months, 2 years and in 5 years; personally, professionally, financially?
2) And then, what do I need to change/do/alter/consult with to get to these places?

Confronting? Yes, but life is too short to be stuffing around on a path that is not in line with your authentic self, the journey you are meant to be taking and ultimately personal happiness.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Is your coffee making you fat?

When do you have your coffee? Just before breakfast? One the way to work? With breakfast?

A increasingly common eating pattern I am noticing with my clients is the propensity to have a milk based coffee such as a Latte or Flat White early in the morning, only to follow it an hour or so later with breakfast. Remember, the body is programmed to digest food with reasonable time intervals between eating occasions, meaning if you have a coffee that is milk based (or with added syrup, cream) you are effectively having a breakfast, albeit a small one. Rather than dragging your feeding occasions out by sipping on milk coffee all day or doubling your breakfast eating occasions in the morning, try and allow 2-3 hours in between your meal times with no calories going in. This mans that plain black coffee, tea or green tea are fine but milk based drinks tells the body you are eating again, which releases digestion hormones continually, which is not ideal for optimal fat burning.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Foods to rid your diet of forever

1) Meat in a can - this is not the way meat was supposed to be eaten. Generally extremely high in fat and salt. You will carry an extra few kilos after a meal that includes canned meat.
2) Rice crackers - 10 rice crackers = ~ 2 slices of bread in high GI carbohydrates and how easy is it to eat the entire packet?!
3) Cordial - Libby Lenton may recommend it but she is a swimmer after all so we cannot completely trust her nutrition knowledge
4) 2 minute noodles - up to 3 slices of bread per packet with little other nutrition
5) Roll ups - stick sugar straps that rot the teeth with no other positive nutritional properties
6) 97% fat free snack bars - 2 breads worth of highly refined sugar which leaves you hungry for more
7) Chicken nuggets - unless you make your own these little favourites are more crap and far less chicken for my liking
8) Devon - whoever defined this product as meat was clearly mistaken
9) White bread - we eat it everyday but plain white bread is high GI and low bulk. Go for wholegrain or at least sour dough if you must have it white
10) Cheese and dip packets - high fat sloppy cheese with high fat crackers = a high calorie, dodgy snack

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Jersey number or life role

For some time now I have been trying to find some meaning in the work I do with football teams. Working with large numbers of ego driven sportsmen and their entourage may sound appealing but the work is tough at the best of times. The best way I can think to describe it is using the words of the Cold Play song, Talk, "And I feel like they are talking in a language I don't speak, and they are talking it to me".

And now, some 7 years after I was told by the coach of the first team I ever worked with at the innocent age of just 22, "Why the fuck do you want to do this, the boys will have a field day with you, they will hit on you, want to sleep with you and treat you like shit?", as I contemplate my future as a sports dietitian, all of a sudden things have become crystal clear for me. Male team sport is simple a metaphor for the way men work and behave in life, all you need to know is what position they played. The information I have gathered from hundreds of players, coaches and support staff has actually given me all the information on men I will need for the rest of my life.

See if any of these descriptions sounds familiar to you-

Fullbacks (1 or 15) - often a humble type. Has the opportunity to display pure athletic brilliance but also fucks it up completely on occasions which tends to keep him nice and grounded.

Wingers (2,5, 13, 11) - spends plenty of time on another planet. Often not part of the core "male team" as visiting another world. Born quick so has not needed to spend any time developing other core skills and hence fairly non committal at the best of times.

Centres (12,14, 3,4) - has the rare opportunity to be both big and buffed and for this reason, rule the roost, particularly with younger players. Have successfully managed to do as little as they may like on the field while still scoring plenty of tries. Popular with the ladies and frequently spotted shirtless. Parade around the club and in life in general, always getting what they want. Suit self employment or modelling.

5/8 (10, 6) - a unique individual. Success depends on his halfback and hence is often a shy type, with amazing skills that are only fully exposed once you know them. The quiet achiever and extremely trustworthy. Makes a good captain, team leader or boss.

Half (9,7) - a self absorbed type. Never makes a good captain as too worried about how his own game will fare. Often become coaches in his other life to achieve the goals he never made in rugby himself. Intense, absent and focused. Works best alone.

Flanker (6/7) - likes to think he is different from the pack, especially as his position does not even exist in league. A nice match between brains and brawn although this should never be mentioned as this type is confident enough without compliments.

Lock (8) - any man who chooses to go it alone at the back rather than stick it out with the boys is a cult leader. His confidence demands respect from both men and swooning women which can be sickening if left unman aged. Best for coaches to tone this one down before you lose control of him forever

2nd row (4,5, 12, 11) - the shy insecure type, which is surprising given their size. They prefer to stick together with their mates rather than go it alone so never try and rely on this one in an emergency, they will always let you down. The gentle giants

Hooker (2,9) - the clown of the group and always up for a laugh. Nothing is taken seriously but a true team man. Anyone who is going to put their head where he does is surely a brave man and the one we would all pick if a war was looming- yes?

Front row (1,3, 8, 10) -these boys like it kept extremely simple-"go hard and straight" is their motto. Are disinterested in complex situations that require thinking and much prefer instant gratification to any long term investments. Are prepared to risk everything for the boys and this is their mantra for life in general.

So next time you are with a rugby player; ex or current, the only thing you need to ask him is; "What position did you play?", because it will tell you everything you need to know.

And to the coach who told me, after I had spent a season of my own time helping his team reach the highest level it could condescendingly emailed me to say; "You are doing a pretty good job. Keep improving and you will eventually get results" , I think I just got them.

Please note, any likeness to real players is coincidental only!

Best of a bad lot

Being a dietitian can be hard - many people expect you to be a diet purist. It is not uncommon for grown men to expose their belly to you in shame, for people to be almost disgusted to see you eating cake or chocolates and comments such as “you are well covered for a dietitian” are not uncommon.

The dietitians can be a tough bunch also. Choosing to recommend packaged foods in any context to patients or the average consumer is regularly questioned.

What is important to remember though, is that, like any behaviour or decision if life, there is what is ideal, and then there is reality. While fruit, nuts and unprocessed dairy may be the ideal choice of a snack for example, the reality is that people do eat packaged foods – in extremely large quantities.

So, is it better for dietitians to recommended the “best of a bad lot” in relation to packaged snack foods that are available on the market or pretend that people do not eat them and continue to rehash the same old nutrition messages which have thus far been fairly ineffective in preventing or managing the obesity issues in Australia?

I know which kind of dietitian I am, and find to be much more effective in realistically helping people to lose weight and keep it off, while recommending a combination of good quality food enjoyed on controlled amounts of both aerobic and resistance training. There just needs to be more of us in we are ever going to make a significant impact on the health of a nation.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Are we feeding our babies the right thing?

For some years now, rice cereal has been the recommended first choice of food for babies ready to start eating solids. Rice cereal has been historically chosen as a baby's first food for several reasons. Texture wise, it is extremely smooth and hence associated with literally no risk of choking. Rice cereal is fortified with iron, one of the key nutrients babies need after they reach the age of 6 months, as it is at this time that their iron stores begin to deplete and rice cereal is associated with an extremely low allergy risk.

I ask you though, how appropriate is it for babies from a European background to have rice as their first food? Rice cereal has a high glycaemic index, meaning eating it results in a relatively high secretion of insulin, the hormone we know to play a significant role in regulating fat cell development and size. I am unsure as to why, given that rice is not naturally high in iron that that would be our choice of first food for our precious babies? Would we not be a better option nutritionally to offer babies pureed vegetables or even oats; which are much higher in iron than rice cereal and then get the babies onto pureed meat ASAP?

While global manufactuers of rice cereal would strongly argue against this idea, I know what I will be giving my baby.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

From the footy boys

I have to be honest, in the five years I have worked with professional footballers, the boys have not taught me a whole lot; BUT the one thing they have taught me may be a pretty powerful message in itself. For those of you out there who have managed to avoid the craze of league and union, let me enlighten you.......

The life of a footballer generally revolves around three things:
1) Footy
2) Spending time with the “Boys” AND
3) Their next feed

Footballers spend an inordinate amount of time eating, planning to eat, planning where they are going to eat, planning who they are going to eat with and recovering after they have eaten too much. Come 7am, 12pm and 6pm footballers are already eating, usually at a place that is cheap, serves a lot of meat and they are enjoying themselves doing it.

Maybe if we all dedicated a little more time to planning, socializing and simply enjoying our meals we would not eat as much rubbish, and be in much better control of our weight and our health.

So go the Dragons, the Eels and the Wicks and thanks for the lesson

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Restaurant or royal palace?

What is it about "in vogue" restaurants in Sydney? While they may have chef hats, appear in all the latest magazines and have visiting celebrities dining at every second table, at the end of the day, they do just serve food to customers who are paying very good money for it, as well as for good service. Somewhere along the way, it seems that the service part has been forgotten, particularly in Sydney, with attendees behaving as if they are doing you a favour by letting you dine at their restaurant.

Just this afternoon, at the current Italian flavour of the past twelve months or so, North Bondi Italian, the Maitre d' almost laughed when my friend and I asked for a table to enjoy a mid afternoon red and cheese plate; being told that it would be at least a 45 minute wait. When we then asked if there was somewhere we could have a drink, she halfheartedly waved us in the direction of the overcrowded bar with no mention of the fact that we could actually eat there.

Where is the , "Please have a seat, hopefully it will not be too long. Grab a wine while you wait, the time will pass in no time"? Where was the smile, the courtesy, the manners? Where is the service?

Yes, the food is good at North Bondi Italian, but not that good. No wonder people go to Melbourne; the service to SO much better down there. And yes George, we will be back to Salon Blanc next Sunday. You always take good care of us.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Omega 3's in food

While the health benefits of omega 3 fats are well known - anti-inflamatory's, healthy skin, hair and arteries, improved concentration, the list goes on; I remain far less convinced of the need to add omega 3's to our food. To date there are omega 3 eggs, bread and most recently oven baked chips, usually which contain relatively small amounts of the crucial EPA/DHA which are the long chain fats we really need. So, while food industry may preach the importance of getting more n-3's in the food supply I think I still prefer the idea of nuturing our waters to support the intake of more fresh fish and oil and less processed food in total as then our n-6 fat (largely from processed food) and n-3(omega 3) fat ratios will then be much improved anyway

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Out of the mouths of babes

Every week as I schlep out to The Children's Hospital at Westmead at 6o'clock in the morning I think to myself, "Why am I putting myself through this?", but when I get there and start to see the kids and the family's who are struggling with weight issues I remember how important it is for me as a clinician to keep in close contact with what is happening for the "average family" in terms of their food and nutrition so I can accurately portray this in my writing.

One of my gorgeous 9 year olds reminded me of this just this wee, after her dad had told me that she had convinced him to purchase the Munchable's packs; you know the ones with the four little sections in the pack where the kids get a mix of crackers, cheese, meat and lollies? Now, the issue was not the Munchables, more so that I wanted my patient to eat the milk protein bars but it made me think, what is it about those little packs that the kids love so much? They are tiny, you barely get enough food for a snack let alone a meal and yet the kids will happily give up their full lunchbox for a Munchables pack. Maybe that is the answer to the obesity issue. Simply give the kids a tiny lunchbox packed with a few fun foods and the kids will be happy. It could be as simple as that!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Thank you Kellogg

Finally we have had some movement from a major food company in terms of their commitment to improving kids nutrition. The increasing number of food companies using branded characters to entice children to less than desirable food options including muesli bars, processed cereals and biscuits disgusts me and now Kellogg have committed to phasing out this marketing strategy. Let's just ope that many more follow!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The truth about fat loss

After working primarily in fat loss with athletes, children, teenagers and adults for the past 7 years, these are the things I know to be true:

1) Fat slow is hard work. There is no easy way to lose weight.

2) You can get 10, maybe 20 kgs off with food restriction alone but you can get 20+ kgs off and keep it off if you do resistance training

3) The right exercise is just as important as the right diet

4) Low carb diets only work for as long as you can keep doing them

5) It is extremely hard to shift weight after someone has been on a constant diet for years and years

6) You either want to lose weight or you don’t - there is nothing in between. If you are not 100% committed, don’t even bother trying.

7) How a person looks after their body tends to be a marker of how they look after their life.

8) Body builders know just as much about losing body fat as any scientifically trained professional.

9) Research may give us an idea about what works in practice, but it is the clinicians, the people who see hundreds of paying clients who know the most about fat loss in real life.

10) Every single person will need a different diet and exercise prescription.

People who are thin exercise more and eat less than you do

Thursday, June 7, 2007

And they keep getting fatter....

I have worked in the area of child and adolescent obesity for just over 4 years. Unfortunately I must say that during this time not much has changed; yes there are more media headlines that scream out headlines to the effect of "Obesity Crisis", "1 in 4 kids fat", and more research is presented that tells health professionals and journalists that the problem is increasing and that describes habits related to obesity in children and adults. But, correct me if I am wrong. I would say that:
1) Many influencial people know that Australian children (and adults) have an obesity problem, and
2) We know what causes it - they move too little and eat too much

So unfortunately, until key and influential people in health, government (both local, state and federal), education, food industry and research come together and help families see the importance of making lifestyle changes, and help them to make them nothing is likely to change.

We need:

1) Large food companies to come to the party and help deliver more child and nutrition friendly processed food products
2) We need trans fats and palm oil to be clearly labelled on ingredient and nutrition panels to help consumers make informed choices
3) We need more research done by actual clinicians who can translate the science of eating and exercising into doable lifestyle recommendations for the average family
4) We need more physical activity in school hours
5) We need rebates for activity programs for children
6) We need GP's, nurses, teachers and paediatricians trained to deal with overweight children each and everyday
7) We need reality TV to talk about health promotion in a contemporary, sexy fashion rather than sensationalising fat families and teenagers
7) We need someone in government to take an interest in this and push it on the long term agenda to local, state and federal government levels

Until at least some of these issues are considered, we could be seeing childhood obesity headlines for some time yet

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

What do dietitians eat?

Every day I get asked what I eat, so here it is and as you can see, I am no purist and prefer the dietary concepts of balance and pleasure!

Every morning I wake up and make myself a cup of green tea. I like the Dilmah Jasmine one. I find that it is very calming and I drink it in bed with a candle or in the bathroom while I am putting my makeup on.

Then, about 730-8am I have one of those bran type cereals like Multigrain Weetbix or All Bran Honey & Almond with low fat milk and about half a cup of orange juice, both for the soluble fibre and Vitamin C. Or sometimes I have Burgen bread and Vegemite which I love-Vegemite toast is my all time favourite thing to eat, sad I know. On the weekends it is always eggs. My sister and I often go to Jackie's on Oxford St because we think they have the best eggs in Sydney and we have had a lot of them to know.

Once I get to 10am I need my coffee and have an 80 degree skim mocha which may be accompanied with a homemade cake or cookies, especially if I am at the hospital with my friend Kerryn as we like to bake things. If I am at home I will have fruit.

Lunch is always a good piece of chicken or red salmon with feta and a massive salad. Maybe a Mountain or Burgen bread or beans. This is pretty standard. With a cup of tea to finish.

About 3 or 4 I have nuts, walnuts or almonds and maybe an apple if i am bored but i try and wait until dinner and am usually going to the gym now so don't want to eat too much.

I have to have cheese before dinner so we have a bit of Mersey Valley or Tasmanian Brie with those waferthin biscuits. Portions are meant to be controlled!

Dinner in the week is strict to compensate for the weekends. My mum makes me this rich vegetable soup which I love and have this most week nights. Most weeks I have nachos once with my friend SG-she does a very good nachos, her one and only recipe. I don't think it is low in fat. If I go to my sisters she makes me lamb or pizza or lamb cutlets, which we grew up with or last night we had Shepard's Pie- sharing dinner with people is so much more fun.

Then about 8 I have tea and chocolate, I know, a very bad habit. At the moment I am having that dark Rum and Raisin Old Gold but it changes each week. We all need treats.

The weekends are far less structured and I eat out most meals-usually fish, seafood, salads. Anywhere we can sit somewhere nice, with some wine, nibbles and good food and service. That is part the the pleasurable process.

So, as you can see, it is definitely not rabbit food and water for this dietitian but that would be boring wouldn't it?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Elite level rugby: Is what they eat important?

There are key moments in any career that stand out above all others and this is one of mine; I clearly remember the moment when a former Wallaby great was sitting at my table at the annual Sydney University Grand Final Lunch. After asking what I did for a living, the player actually laughed, and said, “so they are still telling you what to eat” before he continued to make a complete joke about my profession, and rant about how he thought that dietitians working in rugby were a complete waste of time.

I did not say it was a fond memory……

So is what they eat important? Could they eat a steak and eggs and perform as well as they do today? Possibly; there will always be genetically gifted players who could eat whatever they like and still do well, but it is as well as they could have if they had eaten well? Surely, maintaining optimal levels of hydration to reduce the risk of cellular damage during contact sport, having more than enough fuel stored in the muscles for extra time, or aiding in the prevention muscle soreness on long flights by eating the right thing, are simple yet powerful things any athletes could do to make their bodies feel better under the huge impact of what they expect from them, training session after training session, season after season?

It seems to me that some of these things are pretty simple, and yet many players and administrations, at both junior and senior levels still do not think that sports nutrition is worth investing in. I will let you decide.

As sports drink containers fly across the field when the final siren sounds, it appears that teams have hydration down pat, but did we all forget that it was pre game hydration that was actually the most important thing? Significant injuries: knee and shoulder reconstructions, hamstring tears, broken bones can finish a player’s season and even their career. Surely it makes sense that a well hydrated body; one that has more fluid padding on every one of the millions and cells helps to reduce the risk of injury? And yet players are still routinely dehydrated. A study completed with a national rugby league team found that on the average training day, 60% of players were significantly dehydrated.

Remember, an elite level rugby player will lose 3-4 kilos of fluid a game! Intensive rehydration protocols utilizing supplementary drinks, electrolyte replacement technology and practical interventions in which water bottles are placed in player hands as opposed to be left lying across the field, will become increasing importantly as we expect more from the human body, travel more for international competitions and look for ways to gain competitive advantage.

The average person is exhausted after their daily gym workout so imagine your workout was tripled in time and intensity and then you may be slightly closer you how the body of an elite level rugby player feels, and that is before we consider the impact of injuries, travel and age related pains and niggles. Without aggressive supplementation post every single game and training session, elite level players muscular systems is constantly in breakdown mode – a negative physiological state that leaves players vulnerable to fatigue, injury, infection and illness. To say eat, is not enough, it is unfortunately not that simple. Rather, it needs to be eat this, in this quantity and this time for every meal, every day, is again the specificity required to not only allow for reasonable recovery for an athlete of this level and but again ensure that every aspect of a teams preparatory culture is optimal.

Pre Game Preparation
Most players at Super 14 and international level rugby are well organised. They basically know what to eat when they are training and in the gym but game day is a whole new ball game. Many will not feel like eating or travel and game logistics simply mean that the foods the players need are just not available but this is the most important time for optimal fuelling.

Ideally pre game preparation begins the day before a game; fluid loads, carbohydrate regimes with a training tapers and of course foods that digest well to prevent physical discomfort to ensure the player feels light and yet energized for the physically and emotionally game day. The exact carbohydrate types within any sports drink can be the difference between optimal fuelling and gastric comfort, again variables that are too important to be blasé about.

Players will rarely miss a gym session but they will readily miss the breakfast they need before the session and they will gladly skip the food they should be eating for a fantastic array of pills and potions that are guaranteed to make them stronger, fitter and faster than every before. Welcome to the world of supplementation. There is not doubt that elite level players do require some degree of supplementation to get the calories they require on day to day basis within the frantic world of international rugby but how they take these supplements is considered slightly less important. Players are shocked to hear that supplements will work better if they are consumed with food. Of course they will be, the human body is programmed to absorb complete nutrients and will always do so more efficiently when wholefoods are consumed. That is why supplement programs go hand in hand with food programs.

So, I think that what they eat is important. It is every bit as important as the weight programs they do in the gym, the training drills coaches spend hours formulating and the massages they rush to the tables post game to get. Food is the basis of the body, and rugby is about the strength, speed, the focus and physicality of the human body and yet it is still the one-thing coaches, administrators and apparently ex players are quick to downplay.

The funny thing is, that is always the true champions who are most respectful, who see the possible improvement in performance with small levels of intervention whether it be strength, conditioning or nutrition. Take Victor Matfield, arguably the worlds best line out forward, who sat quietly and respectfully in every one of the lectures I gave to his club on a recent trip to South Africa, even though he would have heard it all many times before. While junior players sniggered and carried on the way that young men in a group only can, Victor sat, listened and asked intelligent questions that inevitably has helped his team’s perforance in the recent Super 14 competition. These are the qualities of a true champion.

So, there can be ridicule, from ex players, coaching staff and even sometimes the players themselves, but every so often you work with a team in which you have been a part of a winning mentality, where all aspect of preparation including nutrition and have been second to none and the team outperforms itself. And that is what makes it all worth it.

My deepest congratulations to the Bulls for their standout season. I wish some of our teams here in Australia posessed your focus, commitment and vision which has so clearly paid off.

Monday, May 21, 2007

CSIRO for kids?

Last week the Federal government announced it would be funding CSIRO to formally evaluate "The CSIRO Total Well Being Diet" for children. Naturally this was met with both applause and resistance from health professionals. The health professionals who work with overweight children (including myself) are thrilled that we finally have an opportunity (and money) to formally evaluate the various dietary models we find work in clinical practice with these children. Others, who question CSIRO's funding background and the appropriateness of "diets" for kids once again find fault with any forward moving action.

At the end of the day, we have a lot of fat kids in Australia and any research we can get the government to fund to help evaluate management plans has to be a good thing.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Another weight loss centre

It seems that yet another diet craze has hit the suburbs-the “Tony Ferguson Weight Loss Centre” is coming to a local shopping centre near you. This low carb craze will work, at least temporarily for many people but my concern is the people who have specific reasons for their weight problem; hormonal uses, psychological issues, for which, on the whole such centres rarely have the staff qualified to deal with such issues. So, you are thinking of trying it, or know someone who is, do your research and make sure it is the right program for you before you commit much time, energy and money to it. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is, low carb diets often only work in the short term and if there was an easy way to lose weight, I would tell you about it!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Healthy or orthorexic? The new battle for teenage girls

Western societies obsession with everything thin and beautiful is frequently questioned in regards to the long-term effect this has on body image, self-esteem and the prevalence of eating disorders, particularly in the teenage population.

Teenage girls, for a myriad of reasons are a group of the population at particularly high risk in the high-pressured world in which they spend their adolescent years. Television, popular magazines and “My space” websites, are filled with stunning images of twelve going on thirty year old girls, pouting and posing with their lithe body’s wrapped in minute pieces of material, showing of the stunning physiques that bless us all during these brief few years.

While most will emerge from this period, strong and unscathed, for the vulnerable few who collapse under the pressure of this time, clinical disorders including depression and eating disorders become increasing common, potentially ruining young lives before they have even begun. The classification for clinical disorders is clearly defined in the DSM IV- the official manual used by the American Psychological Society to classify psychological disorders but as for any scientific definitions, there are outliers, and this is the case with an increasingly commonly seen condition in teenage girls – orthorexia.

Orthorexia was first described by an American doctor in the late 1990’s, who was seeing an increasing number of female patients who were exhibiting a number of eating disorder related symptoms including eating only an extremely limited food variety, and maintaining an extremely low body weight without satisfying the criteria for a clinical eating disorder. These girls were obsessed with only consuming foods that were “pure” and “healthy”, and as a result tended to consume only extremely low calorie, unprocessed foods, which in turn kept their body weight extremely low.

Unlike sufferers of a clinical eating disorder, these girls were not malnourished, as their diets were packed full of nutritious food choices, but in many cases their mood state was low either a result of a low food intake or a result of other stressors in their lives such as school issues caused by a clinical depression.

Orthorexia has been referred to less in the Australian scientific literature, with brief mentions in the lay media only but clinically over the past twelve months I have seen four teenage girls who too have presented in private practice with such symptoms. All cases have been teenagers between the ages of fourteen to sixteen, from middle class family backgrounds attending good schools. All girls have been classified as “very intelligent” but struggle socially with the pressures only teenage girls experience from peers - the lure of boys, the pressure to achieve at school and to look good. A trigger, either family distress or negative interaction at school appears to be a common link with all cases, leading to depressed mood and the desire to be in control of as many other variables in their life as they can, such as their food intake and the way they feel about their body.

From a clinician’s perspective, this is a challenging situation. The girls are underweight but not “unhealthy” and their eating patterns are disturbed, without being clinically disordered. Blood biochemistry can be checked for signs of physiological distress but in most causes, return within normal ranges as food or supplement intake, although minimal keeps the girls within normal biochemical ranges.

Maintaining an optimal baseline nutrient intake by ensuring adequate intake of core food groups including dairy, meat, oily fish and nuts is a positive initial step with these cases to ensure that the key nutrients; calcium, iron, zinc, protein and unsaturated fat are adequate.

Secondly, exploring the underlying emotional triggers such as stressors at home or at school that may be directly or indirectly related to the depressed mood and rigid eating patterns of these girls is an important part of the process to help empower them to be able to manage the various scenarios that arise in their day to day lives. There are a number of simple techniques including diarising all personal interactions with both friends and family that may be causing distress or anxiety is one way to help the girls learn to identify and manage their emotions, rather than using food and exercise as an escape from them.

Perhaps the most important step of all with this vulnerable patient group is developing a strong rapport and therapeutic alliance to help guide them and their family through this challenging period of their lives. Mums and dads are terrified as they see their baby girl struggle both physically and emotionally and need clinician support to empower them to help their teen through this intense period of their adolescent years.

While adolescents’ can be an extremely challenging group to work with, they can also be an enormously rewarding group to work with. I have now seen two of these girls work through their eating distress and are now well on their way into their final years of school, significantly happier and healthier than when I first saw them.

Unfortunately, the powerful media images of health and beauty are unlikely to disappear entirely and hence the incidence of conditions such as orthorexia is likely to increase. The key for health professionals and families affected is to know how to mange it before it is too late.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Helping Australia get healthy

People tend to have a number of pre-conceived ideas about what dietitians should and should not eat. It is as though once you become a fully qualified “diet Nazi” that you should never be seen consuming anything other than salad and day to day food traditions such as a sausage sandwich enjoyed at rugby training or a slice of cake with a cup of coffee need to be immediately abandoned. Such behaviours are greeted with total shock or disappointment by those who liked to view you as a dietary angel and who have since been bitterly disappointed.

This shock tends to be continued when dietitians are associated with food companies and their products, particularly if the company or the product are not what one may consider representative of a nutritionally ideal food choice.

Personally, while there are some products I would never feel comfortable endorsing, especially as the specialist obesity dietitian at one of Australia’s largest paediatric teaching hospitals, I still think it is important that dietitians play a significant role working with and for food companies to help them develop better food products for the average householder.

It is for this reason that I sit on the Coca Cola Nutrition Advisory Board. I do not do it because Coca Cola pay me huge amounts of money to tell the public that sugar sweetened beverages are good for you, I do it because if a company the size of Coca Cola is helped to improve the nutritional quality of their products, they have the potential to influence the health of a country, and that is pretty powerful stuff. A single dietitian can only educate and counsel so many people, but a large food company can influence the health of millions, directly by making better products or indirectly by improving the bad ones.

So, for this reason I congratulate companies like McDonalds and Coca Cola who are making an effort to improve their products rather than put their head in the sand and pretend that it is not their job to help their consumers in a quest to make healthier choices where possible.

But there is still much work to be done. There are many areas of the Australian packaged food supply that still require significant change. The major manufacturers of snack food, biscuits, cakes and breakfast cereal in Australia all need to look at ways in which they can improve the quality of fat and carbohydrate they are using with some of their products. No one is pointing the finger; there is not one food product that is making Australians’ fat but there is no doubt that there are a number of positive nutrition changes food companies could make to assist their customers with their weight battles.

And so, I challenge these food companies, the ones who have an enormous influence over what Australian children and adults buy and eat to start to think about how they can help Australians’ be healthier rather than bagging out other companies when they try. As is the case in elite sport, champion teams never spend time bagging out the opposition, instead they focus on building a competitive team that others want to be like. Why food companies waste time and money on advertising that bags out other products or legally trying to get new and innovative products off the market is beyond me. Can they instead spend this time and money on improving their own products and giving their consumers more healthy choices? Please tell me that some more of these powerful companies are up for the challenge?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mixing good food with good health

Never has there been such interest in food. The number of food related magazine titles continues to increase and food lovers scour the pages as they sit in gourmet inner city delis, visualizing their next fabulous Sunday lunch. Celebrity chefs are as recognizable as rock stars in both Australia and internationally, with tickets to their special performances sell outs, at thousands of dollars per high profile, “who’s who of food” table.

Food preparation is considered an art; and failing to recognize a Picasso and his work by those who claim any form of food knowledge is the equivalent of food fraud. If you fail the test, you are sure never to be acknowledged in your career again.

And then there are the nutritionists; a tertiary educated bunch who are perceived to tell us all what we should and should not be eating; the food Picasso’s worst nightmare. As food stylists and directors dream of combining double thick cream with pork belly for a taste sensation never before experienced, the nutritionists tell the readers at the back of the publication that at least half of Australian adults are overweight or obese, and the double thick cream is not really such a good idea.

Why has this happened? Why is there such a division of “health” and “good” food? Why do the food magazines sit completely separate to the health magazines? Did Aristotle not say, “Let thy food be thy medicine”, not “let thy healthy food taste terrible”?

This apparent division only serves to fuel the perception for the humble foodies in suburbia that food that is considered nutritious for the body, the mind and ultimately the soul, cannot possibly taste good. You can eat your foie gras; but if you have high cholesterol suffer the consequences.

Health professionals who scream out the words, obesity, cholesterol, blood pressure, angina, insulin resistance and polycystic ovaries at every opportunity do need to take some responsibility for this view. For some time now, size 4, somewhat pasty looking dietitians lectured the more rounded amongst us about the risks of using butter on our thick white bread, almost forgetting that a jumbo sized bowl of pasta was perhaps not such a good idea either. If you do not simply adore food yourself, how could you possibly advise the average person how they can have their full fat cake and eat it too? Did they forget that low fat cheese, is actually not cheese. That once you remove the fat from it, the resultant plastic like mess, will not only refuse to melt hence failing to be useful in cooking at all, it also means that the consumer is not satiated after eating it and then tends to eats double the quantity of the low fat plastic stuff, which somewhat defeats the purpose.

The truth be known, if we all just simply ate a little less, of whatever it is we choose to eat; be it double thick cream, butter, bread; we would all be a lot better off and as a result, the cholesterol, insulin, glucose and blood pressure levels of thousands of people would all be improved.

Of all the scientific studies available that attempt to determine once and for all the optimal way to eat for health and longevity, the most convincing evidence comes from studies that have found we all simply need to eat less to live longer lives. Studies to date with both rats and primates have concluded that significant dietary restriction improves a number of the metabolic processes that are involved in aging including reducing free radical production (the nasty, cell damaging molecules) whilst improving immune function.

So where does this leave us, the consumer and our food loving Picasso’s? Perhaps it is as simple as promoting such a style of eating in the food print media. Focusing on small fillets of the leanest meat, a slice of pork belly, just a dollop of extra thick cream, or a sprinkle of rich Parmesan and opening telling the reader why. If the nutritionists and the food Picasso’s took a little time to talk, they would both realize they are all working toward a common goal and the public may be left a little less confused as to what constitutes healthy eating. The time to come together is now.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The first ever Australian nutrition blog

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first Australian nutrition blog! Having a blog on my site is a great way to continually update the nutrition info featured and to respond media reports straight away. It is my goal to add a little something to the site every day or two so stay tuned. Most importantly, it would also be great to get some of your feedback on topical issues as they arise.

It is now time for a champagne to celebrate the launch of the blog so until tomorrow!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Welcome to the Susie Burrell Blog

This blog has just been created and will commence shortly.

In order for you to make a reply, you will be required to create a free 'gmail' account with Google.