May 20, 2015

An interesting development happened this week in Australian nutrition: Nutrition Australia released their new Healthy Eating Pyramid and it looks like they’ve (almost) copied Healthy Inspirations’ guidelines. Wow! It’s about time they caught up.

From Nutrition Australia’s website: “The 2015 Healthy Eating Pyramid depicts the types and proportions of foods the average Australian should consume in one day for good health. It depicts whole foods and minimally-processed foods in the five core food groups, plus healthy fats, as the foundation of a balanced diet that’s based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines (2013).”

We note that the guidelines are for the “average Australian”. There is not a single diet that fits everyone – all diets and eating patterns need to be adjustable to suit the individual and all need tweaking for anyone with a specific goal in mind. As far as general population-wide advice goes, though, the new Healthy Eating Pyramid looks very good.

RecommendationWhat we love
Enjoy herbs and spicesWhat a great way to flavour foods without adding anything nasty or processed. Herbs are very easy to grow at home, too.
Choose waterWater is essential not only for life but also for good health, and the options for cold drinks mostly have a lot of added sugar or sweeteners.
Vegetables and legumesVegetables have been moved to the bottom of the pyramid, meaning that the recommendation is that these are the foods we eat should eat the most.
FruitFruit is also on the bottom of the pyramid, but in a small section to indicate that you don’t need to eat much.
GrainsThe daily intake recommendation for grains has been reduced, and the focus changed to be more about nutrient-dense, minimally processed grains.
Milk, yoghurt, cheese & alternativesThe advice towards low-fat dairy has been removed.
Lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumesThe recommendation of a variety of meat and non-meat options.
Healthy fatsHealthy fats are at the top of the pyramid, which recognises their important addition to our everyday eating patterns.
Limit saltIf limiting salt means limiting processed foods, we’re all for it.
Limit added sugarLimiting sugar is emerging as one of the primary changes to make to improve health and weight.
Enjoy a variety of food and be active every day!Great recommendation.

What to change for weight loss

  1. There is no recommendation for the amount of water to drink, so a good starting point is 8 250ml glasses per day.
  2. Choose vegetables with very low carbohydrate content. Avoid starchy vegies and legumes as you work out how tolerant your body is to carbohydrates.
  3. Limit fruit to varieties with very low sugar content.
  4. As carbohydrate tolerance is determined, grains can be eliminated or severely reduced. While losing weight, think of grains as being at the very top of the pyramid.
  5. Full-fat versions of dairy provide greater satiety than low-fat versions.
  6. Protein foods (dairy, meat etc) are excellent for most people when losing weight as they provide a sense of fullness and the protein helps prevent the loss of metabolically-active muscle while losing body fat.
  7. Fats are essential for cell structure and brain function, and they carry essential vitamins. For some people, increasing the amount of fat they eat, while reducing carbohydrates, is the key to losing weight.
  8. Limiting salt may not be relevant if a low-carb eating pattern is being followed to lose weight. Eliminating processed foods means eliminating most salt from the diet, so it may be necessary to add some back in. This can help with muscle contractions, electrolyte balance, and general feelings of wellness.
  9. Limiting added sugar is a great start, but if you’re trying to lose weight it’s not just the added sugars that need to be limited. Sugar and carbohydrates from all sources should be limited for effective weight loss.
  10. Too much food variety has been shown to make people eat more. Add variety by preparing different meals each day rather than having too many choices at any one meal, like at a buffet or smorgasbord.

If you feel that you need help in adapting the guidelines to suit your weight loss goals, contact your local Healthy Inspirations centre.