Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Australian Dietary Guidelines - what's new?

The new & revised Australian Dietary Guidelines were released on the 18th February. The guidelines are for all healthy Australians. They are intended as a tool to help us make healthy food choices. 

What's changed since 2003?

The last time the Dietary Guidelines were revised was in 2003. The latest evidence shows that we need to eat more:
  • Vegetables and legumes/beans 
  • Fruits 
  • Wholegrain foods such as wholegrain bread, oats, quinoa and barley
  • Milk, yoghurt and cheese, preferably reduced fat 
  • Fish, seafood, poultry, eggs, nuts and seeds, legumes and beans 
  • Red meat (young women only)
We need to eat less:
  • Refined grains such as white bread, low fibre cereals
  • Milk, yoghurt and cheese, full fat varieties 
  • Red meat (adult males only)
  • Energy dense, nutrient poor foods and drinks such as sugar sweetened drinks, fried foods, cakes, biscuits and confectionary 

The Australian Dietary Guidelines

1. To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, be physically active and choose amounts of nutritious food and drinks to meet your energy needs
  • Healthy weight range is a BMI = 18.5-25kg/m2
  • Women aim for waist circumference <80cm, Men <94cm
2. Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups every day:
  • Fruit
  • Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties, such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and barley
  • Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seedsand legumes/ beans
  • Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives, mostly reduced fat
  • Plenty of vegetables, including different types and colours, and legumes/ beans
3. Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol
  • Limit intake of foods high in saturated fat such as biscuits, cakes, pastries, pies, processed meats, pizza, fried foods, chips and other savoury snacks
  • Replace saturated fats such as butter, cream, coconut and palm oil with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as oils, spreads, nut butters/ pastes and avocado
  • Limit foods and drinks containing added salt 
    • Read labels to choose lower salt options
    • Do not add salt to foods in cooking or at the table
  • Limit foods and drinks containing added sugars such as soft drinks, cordials, fruit drinks, vitamin waters, energy and sports drinks
  • If you choose to drink alcohol, limit intake
4. Encourage, support and promote breastfeeding

5. Care for your food; prepare and store it safely

Sample meal plans available at:

How does your diet compare?....

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Why do you need protein post work-out?

Are you a frequent gym-goer... body attack, body pump, cross training or weights?

To optimise results and recovery after your work-out, you need to make sure you have your nutrition right.

The key nutrient for recovery is protein. Aim for 10-20g protein within 30 minutes of finishing your workout. The benefits of protein work best when coupled with carbohydrate, as carbohydrate stimulates the body to release insulin which improves the uptake of protein into the muscle. The best ratio of carbohydrates:protein is 3:1, therefore ~30-60g carbohydrate.

Good post workout snacks include:
  • Fruit smoothie with berries, 200g low fat yoghurt and 150ml low fat milk and ice (20g protein, 40g carbohydrate)
  • Fruit smoothie with banana, 200g low fat yoghurt, tbsp skim milk powder, low fat milk and ice
  • Glass of milk, apple and 15 almonds (15g protein, 30g carbohydrate)
  • 170g chobani yoghurt and banana (13g protein, 33g carbohydrate)
  • Peanut butter on 4 Vita Weats  

Is there a need for protein supplements?

The use of a liquid protein shake after a work-out is a great, convenient option to ensure adequate protein intake post work-out. But remember, you can get your recommended protein intake using real foods. It is really up to you. Some people who find it difficult to consume a meal or snack post work-out may benefit from drinking a liquid protein shake.

What protein shake is best?

The best protein shake is a whey protein hydrolysate (WPH) shake. This type of protein is the most readily digested and absorbed, but can also be the most pricey.
  • Whey protein - is a 'total' protein, meaning it contains all necessary amino acids. It is particularly high in the branch chain amino acid (BCAA) leucine, an amino acid that stimulates muscle gain.
    • WPC (whey protein concentrate) is derived from the first filtering step in the production of WPI. 70-80% protein by weight.
    • WPI (whey protein isolate) is further filtered, 90% protein by weight.
    • WPH (whey protein hydrolysate) is even more rapidly digested and absorbed.
  • Casein protein - casein is slower to digest as it clots in the acidic environment of the stomach.
  • Soy protein - is also a complete protein and is rapidly digested. Available as both soy concentrate and isolate, soy isolate being a higher % protein by weight. Soy protein is a useful alternative for vegetarians or those allergic to milk protein.
Some protein shakes are chock full of sugar, artificial flavours, sweeteners, carbohydrates and fat. Make sure you look at the ingredients and remember the 'rule of 3'. Choose a protein supplement which doesn't have 'sugar' as one of the first 3 ingredients.

Remember, protein works best when taken with carbohydrate. If your protein shake is low carbohydrate, be sure to eat something containing carbohydrate, such as fruit with it.. or make it on low fat milk!