New Australian Dietary Guidelines inspire new wave of healthy eating advice

Media release: for immediate release
18 February 2013

The revised Australian Dietary Guidelines (2013) have been warmly welcomed by Nutrition Australia, as a practical and modern framework to inspiring healthy eating for all Australians.

The new guidelines provide clear and specific advice on the core food groups, serving sizes and types of foods that comprise a healthy and balanced diet to support optimal health, and prevent lifestyle-related conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

“Healthy eating is fundamental to healthy living, and the revised Australian Dietary Guidelines provide a consistent framework for health professionals to promote healthy eating for Australians of all ages and stages,” says Nutrition Australia spokesperson, Lucinda Hancock.

“Health professionals and educators like Nutrition Australia draw on the Australian Dietary Guidelines for a consistent approach to teaching healthy eating to children and adults alike.”

“We’re pleased with the return to a focus on foods rather than nutrients, and the more detailed breakdown of nutritional recommendations by age, providing specific advice on the nutritional needs of all Australians by gender, age and life stage.”

“The guidelines are more focussed on wholefoods, and even list examples of type of foods within each food group.

The guidelines appreciate that people want to know how many servings of food to eat, not how much of each vitamin they need,” Mrs Hancock said.

“Thankfully, we now have dietary guidelines for children under four, which makes it much easier for people working in early childhood settings to know what to advise. Prior to that they had to guess.

“Adolescence is also a particular time of growth and development, and the guidelines are now more focussed on specific age brackets within the childhood and teenage years,” she said.

The new guidelines have moved away from recommending a diet low in total fat, to separating healthy fats from total fat, and encouraging small amount of healthy fats.

For adults, the guidelines also show an overall reduction in what is now called the ‘grain’ food group.

Mrs Hancock says “The message now is to have slightly less servings of cereal-based foods, but to choose wholegrain and high fibre versions at all times.”

The recommended dairy intake has increased for all age groups, with a significant increase for women over 50 and men over 70, which Nutrition Australia says sends a message about the need for calcium to preserve bone health in older Australians.

“Realistic strategies are now needed in order to educate and support older Australians to meet that recommendation.”
“Overall the guidelines are more specific, more practical and more food focussed. They encompass foods that are more commonly available now than they were 10 years ago, and reflect our cultural diversity.”

“In years to come, these new guidelines will have an effect on the way Australians perceive food. It will start to click that we should eat a greater variety of wholegrains, which is hard to do if you have been brought up on the standard fare of bread, rice and pasta. And there’ll be a greater appreciation that some fats, in small amounts, have health benefits.”

“At the end of the day, the message is to enjoy a wide variety of whole, unprocessed foods.”

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