Australian dietary guidelines

November 12, 2012

Australian dietary guidelines

Australian dietary guidelines have recently undergone something of a re-vamp. Poor nutrition appears to be a contributing factor in upwards of 56% of all deaths in Australia – which seems to indicate that guidelines which may appear to be mainly based on common sense are in fact really necessary. Whilst the full guidelines are extremely detailed it is possible to pick out the main points. The guidelines are intended for use by educators, manufacturers, retailers and researchers as well as health professionals in order to help Australians choose a healthy diet. The guidelines are intended to -

  • Promote health and well being.

  • Reduce the risk of diet related conditions including high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity

  • Reduce the risk of chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, some cancers and heart disease.

It is hoped that these guidelines will reflect the latest, up to date nutritional thinking and its’ focus on food choices and a healthy lifestyle rather than the amount of various nutrients required should also make them much clearer to understand. These guidelines are applicable to all Australians including those with common health problems. However, they do not apply to those who have special dietary needs due to a health condition or the frail and elderly. It is hoped that these guidelines will help the average Australian work out the foods they need each day to meet their needs based on age, gender and activity level.

  • Eat a wide variety of foods from the five main groups every day

    • Plenty of fruit and vegetables – include as many different colors and types as possible.

    • Pulses and legumes – these are useful ingredients in soups and stews as well as curries and vegetarian dishes.

    • Grains and cereals – choose wholegrain whenever possible, with so much choice it is easy to enjoy a wide variety of pastas, noodles, quinoa, polenta, couscous etc at every meal.

    • Protein – include lean meat and poultry as well as fish, eggs, nuts and seeds.

    • Dairy – choose reduced fat milk, cheese and yogurt (or their alternatives) where possible but do not give reduced fat milk to under 2s

  • Drink plenty of water.

  • Limit your intake of saturated and Trans fats which are often present in processed foods.

  • Limit sugar and salt intake – check food labels to avoid hidden amounts of these additives. Choose low sodium and low sugar options and do not add salt to food – use herbs and spices for added flavors

  • Limit alcohol intake

  • Remember that low fat diets are not suitable for the very young.

  • Choose small portions of foods which have unsaturated fat content.

  • Undertake regular physical exercise

  • Eat to meet your energy needs – young people and children should have regular growth checks to ensure they are developing normally.

  • Breastfeeding should be the first choice for parents and should be encouraged and supported in the wider community.

  • Be aware of food hygiene good practice – prepare and store food safely

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