NHMRC Public Consultations

Skip Navigation and go to Content
Visit NHMRC website

Australian Dietary Guidelines submission

ID: 
79
Personal Details
First Name: 
Leonie
Last Name: 
Agius
Online comments
Specific comments: 
Chapter 1- Introduction

After following the recommended dietary guidelines for 20 years I found myself just getting fatter and sicker. Three years ago, in desperation, I stopped following the guidelines and lost 30kgs. I went off all medication and have not had a cold/flu for over 2 years now. I will never eat the recommended diet again and do everything I can to convince others not to. I wish I had known about this early so I could have prepared a better submission. I am only skim reading it now due to lack of time, but if authorities are really concerned about the weight of Australians, the Australian Dietary Guidelines need to be changed. I'm am just an average Australian without any medical background but firmly believe that the recommended diet kept me and continues to keep thousands of others obese.

One of my greatest concerns with these dietary guides is that most of the recommendations are based on evidence that is rated B (probable association) or C (suggestive association) If dietary recommendations are being made, shouldn't they all be under the category A (convincing association) at the very least?

 

Chapter 2- Eat a wide variety of nutritious foods

Section 2.2 - Plenty of vegetables

I don't have a problem with "Plenty of vegetables" but this should not include starchy vegetables. Starchy vegetables such as corn & potatoes should not be eaten in large quantities and can cause weight gain. Starchy vegetables should really be moved from the vegetable section and put in with the grains. This is sort of mentioned in section 2.2.6, but the "food pyramid" picture lumps them all in together. Confusing much?

Fruit should be in a seperate section and eaten in moderation, preferably in season. It should be consumed as a whole fruit. Fruit juice should be limited.

Legumes and beans are currently in two sections, they should only be in one. Maybe just in the meat section. There are many studies showing that soy is perhaps not the perfect food it is made out to be. Its consumption should be limited. I note that in section 2.2.3.1 there are no recent studies on the relationship between legumes/beans and weight loss. Perhaps because legumes/beans cause weight gain? Just a thought.

Section 2.3 - Grain (cereal)foods (mostly wholegrain)

This is the major problem with the dietary guidelines. I have horses. To fatten them up, I feed them grains, mostly wholegrain.  It doesn't take rocket science to realise that the same thing happens to humans. Grains will make you fat, even more so when processed. Corn and potato should also be included in this section. Processed grains in particular should be limited. This includes bread and breakfast cereals which are mostly full of sugar. Bread, even wholegrain, has a high GI rating. It will spike blood sugar levels and therefore is unsuitable for diabetics. 

Section 2.4 Lean Meat etc 

I do not agree with the lean part. There are many studies showing that saturated fat is NOT the problem it is made out to be. Unprocessed red meat is not a villian. As with all our food, the less processed it is the better and healthier it is. Consumption of processed meat (salami, luncheon meats, frankfurts etc) should be limited.

Section 2.5 Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alteratives (mostly reduced fat)

Please take off the reduced fat bit. Reduced fat products are not suitable for anyone (not just children under 2)! I also do not believe soy milk products or margarine are a suitable alternative as too much processing is required in their production.

Section 2.6 Water

It looks like it has been added as a afterthought. Water is important to life. Drink lots. But perhaps note that water without the addition of cordials, flavours etc is what is meant here.

 

 

Chapter 3- Limit intake of foods and drinks containing saturated and trans fats, added salt, added sugars and alcohol

While I agree that intake of food and drinks containing trans fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol should be limited, saturated fat should not be included in this list. Reading through Section 3.1.2, it appears that all the evidence against consuming saturated fat is inconclusive. I also note that one evidence statement reads "consumption of higher LCPUFA fat (intakes amount not specified) is associated with a reduced risk of dementia - Grade C) A Grade C grading in others sections (such as 2.3) has resulted in the guidelines recommending that we eat that food. 

Hypertension, excess weight, cancer - The results of eating fat is inconclusive or not associatiated.

Fat is an essential nutrient. Recommending that people stop eating it is one of the major problems with these guidelines. There is no conclusive evidence that natural fat (as found on meat, chicken, butter etc) is a problem. It only becomes a problem when fat is added to processed foods such as biscuits and chips. 

Fat is good for neurological development in infants. Fat is associated with a reduced risk of dementia. Low fat diets are not suitable for convalescent older people and frail aged people. Fat is not the bad guy and should not be limited. 

Section 3.3 - Limit intake of foods and drinks containing added sugars

This should read restrict intake of ALL foods containing added. These foods have no part in our diet apart from the very occasional treat - and I use that word lightly. They really have no part in our diet at all.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 4- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight

Achieving a healthy weight is good. If the Australian Dietary Guidelines were changed to reflect the points I have made and people actually gave up eating refined carbohydates and sugars, ate fresh, unprocessed foods and drank water, obesity and health problems would be greatly reduced.

While physical activity is good, exercise alone will not help people lose weight. I has to be in combination with a good diet.

Page reviewed: 3 January, 2013