Quality, not food type, say nutrition experts

Tired of the old argument pitting carbohydrates against fats? Seems you’re not alone.

Don’t knock all carbs and fats – that’s the message from a new report from The Lancet.

Nutrition experts are saying that debate is not what’s important – rather we should focus on the quality of the food in our diets.

A report just released by the prestigious medical UK journal The Lancet, which includes information from leading nutrition and public health researchers in New Zealand, says there’s a clear recommendation that we should be cutting our intakes of poor-quality foods containing lots of free sugars and saturated fats.

Instead of focusing on low fat versus low carb we should be eating a wider range of healthy fats and carbohydrates, says Professor Mann from the University of Otago’s Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Centre (EDOR).

“There are good fats, just as there are good carbohydrates that are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer,” he says.

“Pitting one nutrient against another – such as fat versus carbs – risks confusing the public, health professionals and policy makers, and undermines confidence in evidence-based nutrition advice.”

The commentary, which also includes research from the University of Auckland and the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge, is based on the “totality of international evidence from objective, systematic and thorough expert reviews” of a range of different types of studies that evaluate the effects of foods and nutrients on health outcomes.

Prof Mann says the recommendations can be met easily by culturally diverse dietary patterns – from the traditional high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet of Japan, which is associated with longevity, to relatively high-fat, high-carbohydrate Mediterranean diets, which are associated with low risk of non-communicable diseases.

“What dietary patterns associated with the lowest risk of non-communicable diseases all have in common is that they tend to include lots of fibre-rich fruit and vegetables, legumes, pulses, nuts, wholegrains, and plant oils.”

Why you crave sugar after a workout

You’ve just finished an intense workout but instead of reaching for that protein rich chicken salad you prepared earlier, you find yourself staring longingly at the tub of ice-cream in the freezer.

Or maybe you did eat that salad but as soon as you put that knife and fork down, the first thing you think about are some choc chip biscuits stashed away in the cupboard.

It’s okay, you’re not a bad person. And there’s science to back it up.

A new study published in the Journal of Health Psychology found that exercising actually makes us more susceptible to craving sugary treats.

Led by Christine N. May from the University of Massachusetts, researchers recruited 88 university students to take part in what’s called an “approach avoidance task” where they tested each volunteer’s automatic response to different forms of stimuli.

The students were asked to hold on to a joystick and look at images of desserts mixed in with pictures of random objects. When each image appeared, researchers noted the participant’s hand movements, checking to see if they would pull it closer to their body in a motion that would suggest positive responses.

After this first round was complete, the group was then split into two with one half doing memory games and the other half jumping on bikes and doing moderate aerobic workout.

Then they did the test again. Sure enough, the group that did the workout were more inclined to respond positively to the sight of desserts while the group that played memory games showed no measurable differences in their responses.

So what is it about doing exercise that makes us want to make such bad choices?


According to Ashleigh Brunner, a Sports Dietitian and owner of Body Fusion in Sydney, these sugar cravings are basically your body simply trying to replace fuel and repair itself in the quickest way possible.

“Our preferential energy for fuelling muscle during exercise is carbohydrates… and during exercise we create many micro-tears in our muscles which require protein for repair,” Brunner said.

“These sugar cravings are more likely to be driven by our muscles’ need to replenish our carbohydrate stores and repair our muscles after exercise. So this is the thing, many desserts are high in fast releasing carbohydrates or sugar which usually isn’t the best quality nutrition but will help replenish quickly, hence cravings! We just need to take a minute to prepare a healthier post workout snack/meal or have one organised and ready to go.”

Which may sound easier said than done, and as a self-confessed cookie addict I have taken the easy way out more than I care to admit.

As a way of appeasing both the nutritional requirements of your body along with the demands of your taste buds, Brunner does offer a few handy tips.

“There are many better quality alternatives post exercise which can still hit your sweet tooth,” says Brunner.

“Foods that are naturally sweet but are also bundled in with an adequate amount of protein would be your best bet such as a smoothie with milk, fruit and honey. If you are on the run or in-between meals, a date based bliss ball or healthy muffin with a latte would also be a great choice. My favourite breakfast after exercise in the morning is two pieces of grainy toast with natural peanut butter and honey and a homemade milky chai.”

Another way of overcoming the cravings is to eat something before you start your workout.

“Most of the time, having a small snack that digests well and is primarily carbohydrate based before a workout is a great idea ie. a banana or a cereal (not nut!) based bar. It also means you are more likely to have sustained energy for your workout.”


Seed oils – The danger

Before you tuck into that plate of deep friend deliciousness David Gillespie wants you to think about what seed oils are doing to your body.

David Gillespienews.com.au

VEGETABLE oils are highly unstable.

When they interact with oxygen, they release neurotoxic, DNA mutating chemicals which are known to cause cancer (at least).

Recent improvements in measurement technology have now thrown a spotlight onthe quantity of these chemicals released by normal use. And the results are truly terrifying.

Cheap vegetable oil made from seeds (canola, sunflower, corn, safflower, grapeseed, rice bran and soybean oils) is a new addition to the human diet. Unlike animal fats and oils made from fruit (olive, avocado and coconut oils), they’re very high in polyunsaturated fats and in particular something called an omega-6 fat.

A recent study found that when seed oils containing these fats are heated at a normal cooking temperature (of 180 degrees celsius), they create highly toxic chemicals known to be involved in cancer causation.

And each time the oil was re-used the concentration increased massively. The study showed that by the fifth day of oil re-use, it had five times the concentration of these chemicals that it had on the first (which was already alarmingly high).

So you should probably think twice before ordering those hot chips cooked in re-used oil.

So you should probably think twice before ordering those hot chips cooked in re-used oil.Source:Supplied

But worse than that, the researchers also made the point that all they could measure was the amount of these chemicals left in the oil. Since they are highly volatile, they are constantly escaping into the air around us when the food is being cooked.

According to another recent study, it is likely that this volatility explains the stubbornly high rates of lung cancer among women in Asian countries (where smoking is rare among women, but wok frying with Canola oil is a daily task).

Those toxic molecules are dangerous because they are interact destructively with our DNA. This significantly increases the chances that cancer will develop.

These seed oils are now a core component of our food supply and Australians are sicker now than at any time in our history.

We are almost four times as likely to have thyroid cancer than just three short decades ago. We are more than three times as likely to have liver cancer. We are twice as likely to have melanoma, Motor Neuron Disease, kidney or anal cancer.

Men are more than twice as likely to have prostate cancer and 60 per cent more likely to have testicular cancer. Women are 43 per cent more likely to have breast cancer. And children are paying even more dearly.

A child is 6 times as likely to suffer from leukaemia than at the start of the 20th century. And they are more than four times as likely to suffer from a life threatening allergic reaction than they were just 20 years ago.

The chronic disease tsunami is upon us.

Every day there are thousands of teenagers standing over vats of frying canola oil for eight hour shifts at every fast food restaurant in this country. Every day, there are people cooking with high temperature seed oils in woks and frying pans. And every day there are industrial quantities of heated seed oil being poured into commercial baked and frozen foods.

A century ago, exactly none of these fats were added to our food supply.

David Gillespie’s new book is about cheap, back to basics cooking without sugar or seed oils.

David Gillespie’s new book is about cheap, back to basics cooking without sugar or seed oils.Source:Supplied

Every day 312 new cancer sufferers are diagnosed in Australia. That this is allowed to continue when the science is so clear on the likely cause, is not merely a shame or an embarrassment. It is an outrage and a tragedy.

It is reasonably safe to assume all the fat in processed food comes from seed oils. The good news is that this only applies to food made by others (and usually shoved into a packet with a picture of real food on the front).

Nobody can stop you making and eating real food. All you need is a little know-how.

David Gillespie is probably best known as the author of Sweet Poison. His new bookThe Eat Real Food Cookbook is available now.