Old nutrition, new nutrition

It’s always difficult to capture in a few words the changing state of modern nutrition, the implications of new scientific findings, the wisdom of calls for change to dietary advice and the conservative response. Yet Professor Jennie Brand-Miller from the University of Sydney managed to do it at a recent food labelling conference in a presentation titled ‘Old nutrition, new nutrition’.

Old nutrition

Brand-Miller began by stating: The old nutrition goes like this ….

  • Foods can be dissected into macronutrients
  • Saturated fat is the main dietary risk factor for cardiovascular disease
  • A low fat diet is best for prevention of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease
  • “Eat a diet that is low in fat and high in complex carbohydrate”
  • “Eat plenty of cereals, breads, rice, pasta and noodles, preferably wholegrain”

And then she took old nutrition apart, highlighting how the nutrition landscape had changed over the past decade or so:

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Why traffic light labelling of foods won’t work

The policy makers are desperate to do something about obesity but traffic light labelling would achieve nothing. The nutrition criteria at the heart of the concept are wrong.

Health authorities around the world have struggled to find effective ways of addressing the obesity epidemic. One recommended strategy is the introduction of traffic light labelling of food products to make it easier for the general public to choose healthier foods in the supermarket. It is argued that healthier food choices would not only tackle the obesity issue but could also address many other diet-related chronic diseases. Sounds good in theory but it simply won’t work. Continue reading