As many of you may be aware, the new Australia Dietary Guidelines were released in mid-February 2013. In all Australians, nutrition contributes significantly to healthy weight, quality of life and wellbeing, resistance to infection, and protection against chronic disease and premature death. As the quality and quantity of foods and drinks consumed has a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of individuals, society and the environment, better nutrition has huge potential to improve individual and public health and decrease healthcare costs.
Optimum nutrition is essential for the normal growth and physical and cognitive development of infants and children. Suboptimal nutrition is associated with ill health. Many diet-related chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer are major causes of death and disability among Australians.
Below is the summarised version of the guidelines:
Australian Dietary Guidelines
|Guideline 1||To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, be physically active and choose amounts of
nutritious food and drinks to meet your energy needs.
|Guideline 2||Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from these five groups every day:
|Guideline 3||Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol.
a) Limit intake of foods high in saturated fat such as many biscuits, cakes, pastries, pies, processed meats, commercial burgers, pizza, fried foods, potato chips, crisps and other savoury snacks.
b) Limit intake of foods and drinks containing added salt.
c) Limit intake of foods and drinks containing added sugars such as confectionary,
sugar-sweetened soft drinks and cordials, fruit drinks, vitamin waters, energy and
d) If you choose to drink alcohol, limit intake. For women who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is the safest option.
|Guideline 4||Encourage, support and promote breastfeeding|
|Guideline 5||Care for your food; prepare and store it safely.|
To read the full version, with the evidence listed you can access it from – http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines/publications/n55
So what do the new guidelines mean for you and your family?
The new guidelines are encouraging people to think in terms of energy balance, rather than from food and drink. The NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) encourages people to monitor the food they east, as well as paying attention to their exercise.
Since the release of the guidelines the main source of controversy has been in regards to the addition of the advice to ‘limit added sugar.’ The Australian Food and Grocery Council have fiercely opposed the inclusion of this statement. The evidence over the past decade has support this inclusion of the statement, particularly in concerns to drinks. It is well recognised that drinks containing added sugar can contribute large amounts of energy to an individual’s daily intake. We often refer to this type of drink/food as ‘empty calories’ as there is no/little nutritional benefit from consuming the food only the calories.
Sally Muir – Dietitian