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Friday, November 27, 2009

Giving them the attention they do not deserve

Over the past week there has been much media interest about a new mega burger released by one of the major fast food chains; a burger which contains over 5000mg of sodium (2 1/2 x the recommended daily amount) as well as 26g of saturated fat. The very fact that the major fast food chains are still developing these mega fat and calorie options is evidence enough to show that despite much talk of producing "healthier" options, at the end of the day, their interest is in money making and making high fat products, not improving the health of the country in any way.

The irony is that as the media and health professionals express their fury at such food items, the fast food chains are getting exactly the attention they had hoped for - free advertising. Enough said.......

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The big food masquerade

For me, honesty is one of the most important character traits one can have and hence when food companies market certain varieties of food as healthy options, when there is much evidence to suggest otherwise, it frustrates me immensely. Here are the top food masqueraders, quite a few of which are regularly marketed as “healthy options”.
1)Arnott’s Shapes – no biscuit made using palm oil is ever going to be healthy
2)Kellogg Nutra Grain – breakfast cereal should contain fibre, not iron or protein; we get those nutrients from meat
3)Dried fruit – doubles the sugar of regular fruit
4)Cordial – still just sugar and water
5)Fruche – not a true yoghurt
6)Frozen yoghurt - more sugar and less protein than regular yoghurt
7)Rice crackers – at least choose wholegrain if you must have them
8)All Natural Confectionery – lollies are lollies
9)Chicken nuggets – anything crumbed and fried is never going to be good for you or your kids
10)Cadbury Brunch Bars – just another muesli bar even thought they look healthy

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The bread uproar - is white really that bad?

For such a simple story, even I was surprised how much interest the recent bread story generated. I guess I just assumed that most people knew that Turkish bread really isn't that good for you! In case you missed it, here is the Updates information that generated the media frenzy last week:

I know that the labels on the packet say that it is low GI and high in fibre but processing a food and then putting all the good stuff back in is never going to make it as good nutritionally as the unprocessed variety. Grains consumed whole, in their natural state contain a wide range of nutrients including Vitamin E, zinc and long chain fats which will always make them nutritionally superior than processed grains. In fact, as a dietitian I look at white bread and think that you may as well choose confectionery for the metabolic impact the food has on our body long term. Here are the commonly eaten white bread varieties and their relative carbohydrate and fibre contents for you to consider;
Bread Type Cal Carbs Fibre
Plain white 146 28.2 1.8
Wonder White 157 26.7 4.2
Helga’s 208 36.6 2.4
Lawson’s 302 53.0 3.4
Turkish 560 110.0 5.5
Sourdough 526 99.6 5.8
Mountain 144 27.5 2.1

Monday, November 2, 2009

Act like a woman, eat like a man

One of the most common food habits that brings a diet undone is the tendency to over do things at social gatherings. Potato chips, pesto dips, cheese and other nibbles contain plenty of calories and are exceptionally easy to overeat. An observation I have made is that men treat these foods very differently than women do. Men rarely plan their social engagements around their food choices, nor do they crowd around the kitchen stuffing their faces with non filling, high fat foods. On the other hand, women can spend hours planning the menu, preparing the food and making a distinct effort to make sure that they get to eat some of the delicious treats they have prepared!

Over the next few weeks as the end of year party season kicks off, practice being exceptionally mindful when it comes to party food behaviours. Try and avoid the same high calorie nibbles that you have eaten a million times before by having a filling snack before you go and if you must indulge, determine how many snacks you will have before you begin eating. Stand away from the food, preferably with skinny people who seem to not eat much and pay particular attention to how much better you feel the next day when you have not subjected yourself to a complete calorie blow out. And if that is not convincing enough, here are your favourite pre-dinner snacks and the calories you will ingest if you eat them.

10 rice crackers + chunky pesto and cashew dip = 2000kJ
5 Jatz and Mersey Valley Cheese = 1100kJ
Large Bag Red Rock Deli Chips = 3500kJ
Large bag of Grain Waves = 3400kJ
½ Brie and 6 water crackers = 1700kJ
30 peanuts = 700kJ