Article by Maree Ferguson in Good Practice Jan/Feb 2013
Many Australians recently made New Year’s resolutions. A significant number of these resolutions would have been diet-related because 62% of Australian adults are overweight or obese, and this number is rising rapidly every year.
The current dietary guidelines encourage Australians to enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods. They recommend eating plenty of vegetables, legumes and fruits, and at least two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables daily. Currently, only about half of all Australians meet the recommended daily fruit serves and fewer than one in 10 meets the vegetable daily serve recommendations. It is imperative to encourage Australians to eat even one extra fruit and vegetable serve daily as there is evidence to suggest that consumption of each additional serve of fruit and vegetables per day is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease.
The guidelines also recommend eating plenty of cereal-based foods (including breads, breakfast cereals, rice, pasta and noodles), preferably wholegrain, as they are a great source of fibre. Cereal consumption (especially at least three serves a day of wholegrains and those with fibre from oats or barley) has been associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and excessive weight gain.