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Australian Dietary Guidelines submission

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The 'obesity epidemic' gets talked about a lot and the conventional wisdom and public opinion is that the problem is caused by gluttony and sloth (either deliberate or accidental) and the solution is to simply 'eat less' and 'do more exercise'.   

My query is for you guys to really explore this avenue of what really constitutes a healthy diet. From my anecdotal experiences I strongly believe that the American food pyramid and the Dietary Guidelines For Australian Adults, particularly the "eat plenty of cereals" and the promotion of bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, lentils, pulses, maize etc as the healthy core of a good diet is what has really caused the obesity epidemic that we have with us now.  

My personal experiences with diet and exercise is that while I could exercise 5-6 per week at very high levels of intensity, my appetite increased voraciously (I only consumed healthy foods consistent with the dietary guidelines of Australia, minimising sugar and fat and taking in large quantities of cereals) .  Whilst I was fit and strong I seemed to hit on a weight level (176cm 93kg) and be stuck there.  Any attempt to restrict food intake would have my body protesting and craving which was not sustainable for extended periods and would adversely effect my athletic performance (tired, weak and irritable).   

After some 9 months of frustration, I explained my paradox to a friend of mine. He suggested I should cut back on the carbs.  He suggested reading The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf.  I took this on board, bought the book and followed the advise in the book for 30 days.  Whilst the language in the book is very American the results were extremely effective.   

By eating unlimited quantities of lean meat, fish, fresh vegetables (excluding potatoes), fresh fruit, and few nuts and seeds I was dropping weight very effectively with no hunger and dramatically improved athletic performance (partially due to dropping to 86kg).   

Having started this 'diet' September 2010, I no longer consider it as a diet, but a vital part of my lifestyle. I have remained healthy strong and lean with good blood work for 1 year and 3 months.  All this without 'healthy whole grains' - no cereal, no bread, no rice, no lentils etc.

Since seeing such success I have become interested in the subject of diet and have read pretty widely and found a wealth of information on the internet including Robb Wolf, Dr Lorain Cordain, Mark Sisson, Whole30 etc. 

Not about the paleo diet at all, but more a study on the "science of public health" are the 2 books by Gary Taubes - 'Good Calories Bad Calories' and 'Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It' (a simplified version of the GCBC). 

Imagine two diners - Diner 1) having a piece of salmon, grated carrot, wilted spinach and a some slivers of almond, Diner 2) with a bowl of homemade pasta with a freshly made tomato and ground beef sauce.  

They both sound tasty, however which one of these is going to make you fat?  Which one of these makes you sleepy afterwards as your body tries to absorb all the starch aka glucose?  - of course intuitively you know it is the pasta dish, however that would be the dish to chose based on a "balanced" diet approach.    

For people to lose weight effectively and for the long term the only effective way is cutting back significantly on the carbs - you dont need them, truly.    

I believe your Dietary Guidelines For Australian Adults recommending carbs as the primary component of a healthy diet is significantly flawed.  The author(s) touch on anthropogenic evidence that carbs are a very recent food group and then discount it.  You wonder why the health of our indigenous population is even more poor than the rest of us.  Studies have shown (O’Dea K (1984): Marked improvement in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in diabetic Australian Aborigines after temporary reversion to traditional lifestyle. Diabetes 33, 596 – 603.) that when thy revert to their native diet (aka low carb) the 'diseases of civilisation' that are widespread in these communities can be reduced.  The aborigines thrived before they were introduced to sugar, flour, and other refined forms of carbohydrate. Before the indigenous population were exposed to the western foods I cant imagine that they suffered from obesity, tooth decay, type II diabetes, heart disease, and the other diseases of civilisation that are so chronic now. 

If you want to solve the obesity epidemic of the Australian population and also improve indigenous health, I implore you, if nothing else, please critically review Gary Taubes' books and other similar literature.  The internet abounds with websites Marks Daily Apple, Lauren Cordain, primalmeded, 4 hour body, Rob Wolf, Whole 30, Zone, Crossfit.

Please look at the alternatives, rather then regurgitating the conventional which clearly is not working.

A thought to remember when you are looking at the evidence is that big agriculture, food manufacturers, and supermarkets respectively want something that can be easily and cheaply grown, is cheap to make and has a long shelf life - this is your "healthy" whole grains, cereals and breads (plus all the other sugary stuff they try and flog). These industries are all very powerful lobbyists in the USA, which is where most of the research is done.  

The Crossfit website sums up an effective diet philosophy succinctly as follows:

"In plain language, base your diet on garden vegetables, especially greens, lean meats, nuts and seeds, little starch, and no sugar. That's about as simple as it can get. Many have observed that keeping your grocery cart to the perimeter of the grocery store while avoiding the aisles is a great way to protect your health. Food is perishable. The stuff with long shelf life is all suspect. If you follow these simple guidelines you will benefit from nearly all that can be achieved through nutrition."



Page reviewed: 3 January, 2013