Once more the National Health and Research Council of Australia has issued (so called) up to date guidelines to help all Australians achieve and maintain a healthy weight, be physically active and choose amounts of nutritious food and drink to meet energy needs. (Guideline 1)
I am writing this page without any interference from the food industry lobbyists – one cannot say this government paper was crafted the same way! When researching for this blog I came across a page with dietary experts opinions on the new guidelines. Even Dr Gary Sacks, Research Fellow, Deakin Population Health at Deakin University recognized the profit seeking interests of the food industry in this document:
It is clear that, in putting together the new version of the guidelines, major public health and environmental compromises were made to take into account the profit-seeking interests of the food industry. This is a similar situation to another key government strategic policy document, the National Food Plan (released in 2012), that also does not adequately address nutrition, health and environmental considerations.
It is a travesty that the private sector has such strong influence over government policy decisions, and they should have a much more limited role in the policy development process.
So is there anything new and of momentous importance in the newly released guidelines? Yes and No.
Salt is the new evil boogey man along with sugar.
Butter and coconut oil is still vilified – stay away from it is the catch cry.
Low fat everything is their mantra.
Eat copious amounts of grains every day – yes they do say whole grains.
Vegetables and fruit in decent amounts is still suggested along with legumes/beans.
Drink plenty of water and get more active.
Dare I attempt to pull this apart? Why not indeed!
Professor Clare Collins, NHMRC CDF Research Fellow; Co-Director, Priority Research Centre in Physical Activity and Nutrition tells us that:
….. the revised Dietary Guidelines for Australians are evidence based. They have been informed by a series of systematic literature reviews of the best available research evidence from studies investigating food, diet and health relationships from 2002 (for the 2003 guidelines) until 2009.
Errrr… has anyone noticed that this is 2013 so these dietary guidelines which have been formed from ‘systematic literature reviews of the best available research etc… until 2009’ are already out of date… expired! There have been many new and exciting papers / research documents presented since 2009, particularly in the area of healthy fats.
As you work your way through the attached file from the BMJ you learn that they have discovered there is no proof lowering your SFA (saturated fatty acid) intake – think butter and lard, and increasing your PUFA intake – think liquid oils and margarine, actually does anything to save lives – quite the opposite in fact! (link)
The Latest Australian Dietary Guidelines are still flogging the same old dead fat horse…. (Guideline 3)
Replace high fat foods which contain predominantly saturated fats such as butter, cream, cooking margarine, coconut and palm oil with foods which contain predominantly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as oils, spreads, nut butters/pastes and avocado.
No they are not current and certainly not up to date. I sense industry entanglements – do you?
Now about that drink plenty of water advice ~ Apart from preventing dehydration ( a serious thing) scientist told us back in 2008 that there was No Evidence on the health benefits of drinking lots of water. This is not something new, so one wonders if they did all their research on papers up to and including 2009 – how they could have missed this one!
Dietary Guideline 2 promotes the consumption of Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties, such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and barley.
I have a great deal of respect for The Weston A Price Foundation, and in particular the work of Sally Fallon and Dr. Mary Enig. In an article from the year 2000 entitled Be kind to your Grains… and your Grains will be kind to you, it is explained in simple terms why this push for consuming more whole grain products is not necessarily that good for you. I highly recommend reading the entire article.
Problems occur when we are cruel to our grains—when we fractionate them into bran, germ and naked starch; when we mill them at high temperatures; when we extrude them to make crunchy breakfast cereals; and when we consume them without careful preparation.
Grains require careful preparation because they contain a number of ant nutrients that can cause serious health problems. Phytic acid, for example, is an organic acid in which phosphorus is bound. It is mostly found in the bran or outer hull of seeds. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. This is why a diet high in improperly prepared whole grains may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss. The modern misguided practice of consuming large amounts of unprocessed bran often improves colon transit time at first but may lead to irritable bowel syndrome and, in the long term, many other adverse effects.
Animals that nourish themselves on primarily on grain and other plant matter have as many as four stomachs. Their intestines are longer, as is the entire digestion transit time. Man, on the other hand, has but one stomach and a much shorter intestine compared to herbivorous animals. These features of his anatomy allow him to pass animal products before they putrefy in the gut but make him less well adapted to a diet high in grains—unless, of course, he prepares them properly.
You know there is not a single word about the necessity of preparing grains properly in this new report!
Sadly I and many other health seekers could go on and on about the deficiencies in the new set of guidelines. Sadly in a very short time, hospitals, doctors surgeries, diabetes clinics, schools and dieticians will be promoting this stuff as it is the official word from heaven! Moses forgot to write this into the Ten Commandments.
Do yourself a favour and read and research for yourself. The eat low fat mantra has been with us for over thirty years now- yet obesity is climbing, and heart attack rates have not fallen. Think back if you can remember – or do some researching if you are too young to remember. What did the population eat before all this new fangled highly processed food stuff became the ‘norm’? What were they eating in 1930?
Research on line if you want to – the food pyramid reversed – upside-down….. are grains really essential for the human body? I don’t believe they are. Please don’t allow yourself to become entrapped in this so called healthy life style plan just released. Yes you need food, and vegetables and fruits and meat from pasture raise animals is healthy. All natural fats from these animals are good for you. Low fat foods have been chemically altered and usually have a sweetener added to make them palatable.
Coconut oil and Palm oils are not the evil baddies the industry (food industry) would have you believe. This is an interesting article you may enjoy reading.
In all things do your own reading and research and question government edicts!