The Obesity Crisis: A Blame Game

The Obesity Crisis: A Blame Game

Health
Obesity and overweight prevalence is higher than ever. With this, an alarming increase in chronic diseases has been observed. While the obesity crisis is common knowledge, what is less obvious are the underlying factors. A popular belief about obesity is that the individual is solely responsible for their disease. It’s their own fault they’re fat. This belief stems from what public health professionals are calling weight stigma/bias; the social phenomenon where overweight and obese individuals are perceived as disgusting, gluttonous and with a dire lack of self control. No one forced them to eat that McValue meal, or to choose white bread over wholemeal at the supermarket. They’ve got no one to blame but themselves, right? Well, no. Not exactly. The obesogenic environment is emerging as a new model that…
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Iron Deficiency – are you at risk?

Iron Deficiency – are you at risk?

Health
Nutrient deficiencies are not often thought to be big issues in developed countries such as Australia, with access to fresh food and water it can be easy for us to get adequate nutrients from a balanced diet. However Iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in the world, affecting more than 25% people worldwide (1). Young women are at particular risk, with higher requirements for iron during child bearing age. Iron is a mineral required for a number of functions within the body including making red blood cells and transporting oxygen around the body. It is also important for producing energy, optimal immune function and storing oxygen in our muscles. Iron is an essential mineral meaning you must get it from food. The symptoms of iron deficiency include…
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DASH-ing Towards Better Health

DASH-ing Towards Better Health

Health
It’s not uncommon to arrive at your late forties and have the doc tell you you’re hypertensive. For many, the pressure of kids and a mortgage, accompanied by a lack of time for exercise, and the convenience of maccas drive through, is enough to make blood pressure soar. When this lifestyle eventually culminates in hypertension, it’s time to have a long hard think about how to improve your health and bring that blood pressure back down. This is where the DASH diet comes in. It’s not easy and it’s not as fast as the name suggests, but hypertension is a huge risk factor for heart attack and stroke. So, if you want to live a long and happy life, read on! DASH stands for Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension. The…
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The Holy Grail of Grains

The Holy Grail of Grains

Health
Pulses are a diverse, colourful and lesser known grain. They offer a variety of health benefits, so many, that The World Health Organization has included them in the population nutrient intake goals for preventing diet-related chronic diseases. The current popularity of pulses in Australia is rather dismal. So, let’s try and improve the profile of pulses by incorporating them to our diets. This is likely to improve our health too! Pulses include lentils, chickpeas, navy beans, field peas, azuki beans and so much more. Some traditional uses include lentil dhal, baked beans and the increasingly popular, hummus. Compared to conventional grains such as wheat and rice, pulses are superior on many measures of health. To start, protein content. Not only do pulses contain more protein than other grains, they also…
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Carbohydrates Uncovered

Carbohydrates Uncovered

Health
Carbohydrates are a large group in the food pyramid. For this reason, it is important we understand them. Amongst body conscious populations, carbohydrates are seen as a guilty indulgence. I believe carbohydrates are largely misunderstood and we need to educate ourselves on enjoying pasta, rice and bread in the healthiest ways possible. Carbohydrates have a pretty bad reputation. They are too often blamed for the current obesity crisis, as well as the increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes. This is only a half truth. Highly processed carbohydrate products such as white bread and cakes, confer high blood glucose (sugar) spikes that contribute to obesity and diabetes. These products are responsible for the negative connotation surrounding carbohydrates, and should be limited. On the other hand, whole grain products such as brown…
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The Debate on Dairy – is it essential?

The Debate on Dairy – is it essential?

Health
Dairy for many was once a staple in our diet – with milk poured over cereal, added to tea or coffee, blended into milkshakes or served straight from the carton as a refreshing drink. Today however, dairy often takes a back seat with more people opting for dairy free alternatives whether it be due to ethical reasons, intolerances or the increase of popular “wellness trends”. Statistics confirm that dairy consumption is on the decline. According to the most recent 2011-2012 Australian Health Survey, more than half the Australian population (aged 2 years and over) have inadequate intakes of calcium. This means a lot of people are not consuming the recommended three serves of dairy per day. Milk consumption in Australia is higher than most western nations, with figures from Dairy…
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Why are we so afraid to eat fats?

Why are we so afraid to eat fats?

Health
Has the nutrition world gone mad? Time and time again, I hear the words; “Cass, why are you eating that!? It’s full of fat! or “Cass, why are you putting olive oil on your food? It’s full of fat!” For years we have been told that eating dietary fats, essentially makes us fat. This message has been drilled into us so much so, that “low-fat” products are taking over our lives and are often considered to be the healthier choice. The link between saturated fats and coronary heart disease (CHD) was made many years ago1,2, since then, manufacturing has gone crazy over the “low-fat product” scenario that we associate the word fat with “bad” or “weight gain”. It is important to take each fat at face value because not all…
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Eat A Rainbow

Eat A Rainbow

Health
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you will know all about the ‘Go for 2 & 5’ campaign. The Australian Government created a funny, friendly looking fruit and veg man who informed Australian kids (and adults) about the importance of consuming 2 fruits and 5 vegetables each day. The government pushed this campaign hard, with flyers, television advertisements and even educational programs in school. The campaign was an effort to promote healthful behaviours in our increasingly unhealthy population. However, is ‘2 & 5’ enough? While it’s a good place to start, good health isn’t so simple. Nutrition Australia, has pushed for a movement away from ‘2 & 5’ and toward ‘Eat the Rainbow’. Sounds like a Skittle advertisement, doesn’t it? Nutrition Australia’s…
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Prebiotics and Probiotics: what’s the difference?

Prebiotics and Probiotics: what’s the difference?

Health
You have probably heard the terms ‘prebiotics’ and ‘probiotics’ thrown around but what actually are they and what is the difference between the two? What is the difference between the two? Probiotics are live microorganisms found in bacteria, yeast or fungi, and when taken in large doses they can help improve and maintain the health of your gastrointestinal tract, as well as helping to aid digestion1,2. In order for the good bacteria to survive in our bowels, we need to feed them with prebiotics. Prebiotics are non-digestible fibres that allow for good bacteria to stick to the bowel wall, whilst helping to stimulate their growth2. Probiotic = live microorganisms Prebiotic = non-digestible fibres How do they affect our health? Gut health is becoming more and more pivotal in the world…
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Why you should include Omega 3s in your diet

Why you should include Omega 3s in your diet

Health
  You have probably heard the term good fats and bad fats being thrown around and it can be confusing differentiating between the two, however omega-3s are definitely a type of good fat that you should be including more in your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids refer to a family of essential fatty acids that play numerous important roles within the body. Our bodies do not produce these types of fats on their own and therefore we must get them from food. There are a number of different types of Omega-3 fatty acids but the three most important types are ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Not only does your body require Omega-3 fatty acids to function, but they also deliver a number of proven health benefits,…
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