New dietary guidelines


The Department of Health and National Health & Medical Research Council have published the new Dietary Guidelines for Australians as well as new Infant Feeding Guidelines. This is huge news because these guidelines were last updated in 2003. The guidelines tell us how to eat for health and reduce our risk of diet-related diseases and are based on a comprehensive review of the scientific literature available. These guidelines are an essential part of any dietitians tool kit and are independent and government endorsed. A simple pictorial consumer guide called the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating was created to translate the guidelines into daily food choices. You can find them all here

A couple of gems from the new guidelines and their evidence base include:

  • Australian adults currently obtain 35% of kilojoules from so-called ‘discretionary foods’ (they used to be called ‘extras’) that are often energy-dense and nutrient-poor. I call them ‘sometimes foods’ – you might call them treats or even junk- but apparently we’ve gone way beyond consuming them sometimes and they are compromising our weight and nutritional health
  • Australian children currently consume 38% of their kilojoules from discretionary foods. This is bad news because childhood is a time of higher nutrient needs for growth and development but nutrient rich core foods (from the food groups) are being pushed out by treats. This trend is also partly to blame for the problem of childhood obesity.
  • We need to increase our nut intake by 350% to achieve recommended levels of consumption. Now here’s a target we should be seizing with gusto: no deprivation, no missing out; just eat more delicious nuts (unsalted of course).
  • It’s only men who need to cut back on the amount of red meat they eat; by around 20%. Many women aren’t eating enough. We need to enjoy it lean, and lean red meat doesn’t include sausages and bacon which are high in fat and salt


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