I could link contradictory articles here all day…but I won’t!
I’ve just given you a taste of the bewildering array of dietary advice that we are bombarded with.
It’s confusing, contradictory and shockingly unreliable.
It feels as though each week some “scientist” or “wellness guru” has found the key to a longer life and a slimmer waist, and it has nothing to do with a balance diet. They’ll present us with scary pseudo-science and it can be incredibly convincing!
HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHO TO LISTEN TOO?
This is what we will help you figure out.
However, in order to successfully sift through tonne of
crap misguided nutritional advice, it is important that we all understand the basics of what we’re dealing with.
So here you go – A NUTRITION CHEAT SHEET for anyone out there needing a bit of a refresher:
NUTRIENTS are tiny substances found in food that our bodies process so it functions properly.
They can be broken down into two categories:
MACRONUTRIENTS – carbohydrates, proteins, fats
MICRONUTRIENTS – vitamins and minerals
A CARBOHYDRATE is a type of sugar which is broken down by the body into simple sugars. These sugars circulate the blood stream and are used for energy. Carbohydrates are found in most of the food we eat (not just pasta!). Fruit contains the carbohydrate fructose and glucose, dairy products have lactose, potatoes have starch etc.
Carbohydrate-containing foods that are digested slowly and provide a slower release of energy are said to have a LOW GLYCAEMIC INDEX (GI)
PROTEIN is an important nutrient needed for building, maintaining and repairing tissues in our body. It can also assist in energy metabolism if you don’t eat enough carbohydrates. Foods such as lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts, seeds and beans are all rich in protein and other important nutrients.
Although FATS tend to have a bad reputation, they are an essential source of kilojoules (energy) and essential fatty acids. This is used as insulation to keep us warm, protection for our vital organs and to carry fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K and Carotenoids). There are two main types of fats;
UNSATURATED FAT – often referred to as healthy fats as they help reduce heart disease and lower cholesterol. This type of fat can be found in olive oil, nuts, avocados, oily fish, eggs and soy beans.
SATURATED FAT – is often considered to be the unhealthy fat as eating too much can contribute to higher cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease. Saturated fat can be found in dairy products, meat and palm/coconut oils and manufactured/processed foods.
Dietary FIBRE helps keep your digestive system healthy and can reduce the risk of constipation, hemorrhoids and bowel cancer. On top of this, fibre helps maintain normal cholesterol and blood sugar levels. By eating more high fibre breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables, beans and lentils we can reach our daily recommended intake.
VITAMINS & MINERALS are compounds necessary for healthy functioning of our bodies. Deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals can lead to serious health problems. The best way to ensure you’re getting enough vital nutrients in your diet is to make sure you have a balanced diet which includes a range of food from the five food groups; Whole grains breads, vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts and dairy products. For a full list of Vitamins and Minerals and their individual benefits, you can visit the Nutrient Glossary page.
*All dietary information and guidelines have been sourced from the official Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) webpage.