New Dietary guidelines simplified
by Dinethri Ramasundara
Did you know if current obesity rates continued, it’s estimated 83% of men and 75% of women over 20 years will be overweight by 2025 in Australia. As a solution to this growing problem the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) released new dietary guidelines based on the latest scientific research.
These guidelines apply to all healthy Australians of all backgrounds to help decide what foods and amounts we should be eating to improve our general health and wellbeing.
So what does these new guidelines say?
1. To achieve and maintain healthy weight we should be physically active. Make sure you choose enough nutritious foods and drinks to meet your energy needs.
- Children and adolescents should eat enough nutritious food and keep active to grow and develop normally.
- Older persons should eat nutritious foods and keep physically active to help maintain muscle strength and healthy weight
2. Eat a variety of nutritious foods from 5 food groups daily.
Serve sizes vary with age and gender. In general include
3. Limit foods containing
- Saturated fats like cakes, pastries, potato chips and fast food. High levels cause problems to heart health. Replace these bad fats with good fats (mono and polyunsaturated fats) usually found in nut and seed butters/pastes and oils
- Added salt: make sure you read food labels and choose foods with low sodium (salt) content, avoid adding salts while cooking or at the table flavour food using herbs and spices. Having too much salt, increases the amount of fluid that you hold in making your blood pressure high
- Added sugar: usually found in all confectionery, sports drinks, vitamin waters, fruit drinks and energy drinks. They provide way too much energy which can lead to tooth problems and weight gain so be mindful
- Alcohol: converts to a lot of energy in the body, which can again contribute to weight gain. If pregnant, breast feeding or planning for a pregnancy best avoid use
4. Encourage, promote and support breastfeeding
Breast milk has all the nutrients that your bub needs to grow up perfectly healthy. It is recommended that you breastfeed your baby for at least first 6 months. Studies have shown that breastfed babies are protected against obesity, infection and chronic diseases like diabetes in later life.
5. Food safety is important; care, prepare and store food safely
Handling food safely prevents spreading of germs and diseases. Here are some basic pointers to keep you safe from the nasties
- Wash your hands before and after you prepare foods at all times
- Clean your cooking area and utensils after preparing raw food and make sure you do it regularly
- Use separate utensils when handling cooked and raw foods
- Keep hot foods hot (over 60°C) and cold foods cold (under 5°C)
- Defrost food in fridge or microwave
- Once thawed never refreeze
Take home messages
¨ Plan your meals
¨ Prepare and store your food safely
¨ Include a variety of foods and drinks from all food groups
¨ Use fruits as snacks and desserts
¨ Choose low fat varieties for all dairy products
¨ Choose vegetables and fruits that are in season
¨ Be creative, try new ways of cooking such as steaming, grilling, baking, stir-frying
Make your plate colourful, drink plenty of water and keep active