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Eating for good health

Enjoying a healthy diet can boost energy and improve your mood. It can also help to combat disease, control your weight, and improve your chances of living a long and fulfilling life.

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Eating for good health

There’s a lot of information available about nutrition. You might feel as if the guidelines are always changing. It can be hard to know which foods are considered healthy and which are not.

The good news is, you’ll be happier and healthier if you allow yourself to eat a range of foods.

Michael Pollan is a Harvard Professor who became famous for his practical books about food and nutrition. He found that eating for health can be guided by seven words:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

There’s a lot of information available about nutrition. You might feel as if the guidelines are always changing. It can be hard to know which foods are considered healthy and which are not.

The good news is, you’ll be happier and healthier if you allow yourself to eat a range of foods.

Michael Pollan is a Harvard Professor who became famous for his practical books about food and nutrition. He found that eating for health can be guided by seven words:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Read less...

There are no rules

Focusing too much on food rules can negatively impact your happiness and health (Appetite 2016). The optimal diet is one personalised for you and your body. What is best for you may not be good for someone else. However, there are two facts which are not up for debate:

1. People tend to have higher rates of obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer when they eat a diet which is high in:

  • Processed foods
  • Meat
  • Refined grains
  • Added fat and sugar

Focusing too much on food rules can negatively impact your happiness and health (Appetite 2016). The optimal diet is one personalised for you and your body. What is best for you may not be good for someone else. However, there are two facts which are not up for debate:

1. People tend to have higher rates of obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer when they eat a diet which is high in:

  • Processed foods
  • Meat
  • Refined grains
  • Added fat and sugar
Read less...

2. Populations eating traditional diets are healthier.

Researchers have found that there is no one ideal human diet. Humans are adapted to eat a wide range of foods. However, we are not well adapted for the Western diet of processed food (bmcpublichealth 2019).

The Western diet is linked to many chronic diseases, but research has shown the negative effects of this diet can quickly be turned around (BMC 2023). This means it’s never too late to make positive changes.

Open Food Facts is a database of food products from around the world. It shows that most products have long lists of unhealthy ingredients and artificial additives. It can help you make healthy choices between processed and unprocessed food.

2. Populations eating traditional diets are healthier.

Researchers have found that there is no one ideal human diet. Humans are adapted to eat a wide range of foods. However, we are not well adapted for the Western diet of processed food (bmcpublichealth 2019).

The Western diet is linked to many chronic diseases, but research has shown the negative effects of this diet can quickly be turned around (BMC 2023). This means it’s never too late to make positive changes.

Open Food Facts is a database of food products from around the world. It shows that most products have long lists of unhealthy ingredients and artificial additives. It can help you make healthy choices between processed and unprocessed food.

Read less...

The effects of processed foods

Unprocessed, whole foods affect your hormones in a good way. This is what helps you register your body’s natural cues and lets you know when you’re full (Cell Metabolism 2019).

Processed foods tend to be eaten faster. This might be why your body doesn’t register when you’re full until you’ve eaten too much. Processed foods are also engineered to be addictive (PLOS 2018).

If you don’t get the nutrients you need, you may begin to feel unwell or end up malnourished. If you already have poor health or a chronic condition, this could get worse. A diet that supports healthy bones is particularly important as you get older.

Unprocessed, whole foods affect your hormones in a good way. This is what helps you register your body’s natural cues and lets you know when you’re full (Cell Metabolism 2019).

Processed foods tend to be eaten faster. This might be why your body doesn’t register when you’re full until you’ve eaten too much. Processed foods are also engineered to be addictive (PLOS 2018).

If you don’t get the nutrients you need, you may begin to feel unwell or end up malnourished. If you already have poor health or a chronic condition, this could get worse. A diet that supports healthy bones is particularly important as you get older.

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Changing nutritional needs

As you age, your lifestyle and appetite can change. This may affect the type and amount of food you eat. A smaller appetite, or reduced ability to buy and prepare healthy foods, can also affect the vitamins, minerals, and fibre intake you need.

Learn more about your changing nutritional needs at:

As you age, your lifestyle and appetite can change. This may affect the type and amount of food you eat. A smaller appetite, or reduced ability to buy and prepare healthy foods, can also affect the vitamins, minerals, and fibre intake you need.

Learn more about your changing nutritional needs at:

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When to get help

Consult a health professional before changing your diet if you have any medical conditions. You may be referred to a dietitian.

A dietitian can help you manage health conditions. They work with your doctor. They can review blood and other test results to make an eating plan for you.

You may also be eligible for a Medicare rebate as part of a disease management plan.

Healthdirect provides detailed information about the dietitian services available in Australia. This includes the costs of seeing a dietitian and options for reducing the cost.

Consult a health professional before changing your diet if you have any medical conditions. You may be referred to a dietitian.

A dietitian can help you manage health conditions. They work with your doctor. They can review blood and other test results to make an eating plan for you.

You may also be eligible for a Medicare rebate as part of a disease management plan.

Healthdirect provides detailed information about the dietitian services available in Australia. This includes the costs of seeing a dietitian and options for reducing the cost.

Read less...

Beware of fad diets and supplements

Avoid fad and restriction diets. Restriction makes you want to eat things you’re telling yourself you shouldn’t eat (ABC 2023).

A balanced diet with lots of variety will give your body all the vitamins and minerals it needs (Conversation 2022).

If you’re at risk of a deficiency, or if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, see a health professional. They can help you with your diet and give you advice about supplements you might need.

Supplements can interact with medications and sometimes do more harm than good. This is why it’s best to get advice from your health professional.

Avoid fad and restriction diets. Restriction makes you want to eat things you’re telling yourself you shouldn’t eat (ABC 2023).

A balanced diet with lots of variety will give your body all the vitamins and minerals it needs (Conversation 2022).

If you’re at risk of a deficiency, or if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, see a health professional. They can help you with your diet and give you advice about supplements you might need.

Supplements can interact with medications and sometimes do more harm than good. This is why it’s best to get advice from your health professional.

Read less...

Healthy eating on a budget

Many vegetables and legumes are good value for money. This is because they have a high nutrient value per calorie. Use the links below for tips to eat well on a budget:

Many vegetables and legumes are good value for money. This is because they have a high nutrient value per calorie. Use the links below for tips to eat well on a budget:

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Eating for good health

Reference

  1. Lauren J. Bruce, Lina A. Ricciardelli (January 2016), A systematic review of the psychosocial correlates of intuitive eating among adult women,, Appetite, Volume 96 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2015.10.012
  2. Sproesser, G., Ruby, M.B., Arbit, N. et al. Understanding traditional and modern eating: the TEP10 framework, BMC Public Health 19, 1606 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-7844-4
  3. Bourdeau-Julien, I., Castonguay-Paradis, S., Rochefort, G. et al. The diet rapidly and differentially affects the gut microbiota and host lipid mediators in a healthy population, Microbiome 11, 26 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40168-023-01469-2
  4. Hall, Kevin D., Ayuketah, Alexis, Brychta, Robert, et al. Ultra-Processed Diets Cause Excess Calorie Intake and Weight Gain: An Inpatient Randomized Controlled Trial of Ad Libitum Food Intake, Cell Metabolism, Volume 30 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2019.05.008
  5. Deschasaux, M., Huybrechts, I., Murphy, N., et al. Nutritional quality of food as represented by the FSAm-NPS nutrient profiling system underlying the Nutri-Score label and cancer risk in Europe: Results from the EPIC prospective cohort study, PLOS Medicine 15(9): e1002651 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002651
  6. Watkins, Lillian, Restriction diets 'always backfire'. Nutritional specialist suggests finding nutritious foods you enjoy, ABC News (8 January 2023). https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-01-08/diets-backfire-expert-suggests-nutritious-food-to-enjoy/101825942
  7. Ridoutt, Brad, How to make your diet more sustainable, healthy or cheap – without giving up nutrients, The Conversation (16 February 2022). https://theconversation.com/how-to-make-your-diet-more-sustainable-healthy-or-cheap-without-giving-up-nutrients-170522

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