Sorting the diet facts from fads

It seems like every week there’s a new fad diet that we’re told we should follow or some fresh research that indicates something that was once bad for you is now in fact good for you. It’s almost impossible to keep up with what we should and shouldn’t be ingesting. However, Deakin University Associate Professor Sarah McNaughton, an advanced accredited practising dietitian, is well equipped to dispel the myths. Previously, she has shared some truths about vitamins, fruit, gluten and dairy. Now she delivers the facts about nuts, frozen vegetables and processed meat.

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Is it okay to skip breakfast?

Many of us make no secret of the fact we skip breakfast.

During the week, do you rush out the door and into your first meeting or class before loud belly rumbles give away your empty stomach? Maybe you end up with poor concentration, eating bags of lollies to try to boost your low blood glucose, and an unproductive start to the day.

Is this anecdotal or is it really a problem when we skip breakfast? Deakin’s Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) PhD research candidate Rebecca Leech has analysed a large number of diet research papers looking at adults’ meal consumption and found an association between skipping breakfast and having a poor diet. Rebecca’s research is supervised by Associate Professor Sarah McNaughton.

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Five ‘healthy eating’ myths dispelled

There is so much health and wellbeing information published online, it’s hard to distinguish between accurate nutritional guidance and what wellness warriors with no formal education declare to be true. Deakin University Associate Professor Sarah McNaughton is an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian and nutritional epidemiologist. She looked at five trending pieces of nutritional advice for us, and separated fact from fiction.

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Health Check: should I replace sugar with artificial sweeteners?

We know Australians are consuming too much sugar. The latest results from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show 52% of the population are consuming more than is recommended, and this is affecting weight and dental health.

But criticism of sugar is so widespread that sugar in foods such as milk and fruit have also come under fire. We should be mindful it’s really added sugar we need to focus on. Whole foods such as fruit and milk come with many other beneficial components. Fruit also contains vitamins, fibre and various phytochemicals compared to other sources of sugar, such as soft drinks. And the amount of sugar we consume from whole foods is generally lower, since the amount of sugar per serve is lower. In the case of fruit, we are unlikely to eat multiple pieces of fruit in one go when consumed as whole fruit compared to when consumed as fruit juice.

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I was awake for three days

What happens when biohacking, the trend for getting the most out of your body through tinkering with your biology, goes bad?

Biohacking has well and truly made its mark on the wellness beat. Despite the term conjuring up images of Total Recall, this little experiment isn’t going to turn you into a cyborg. Rather, it’s a form of DIY biology and refers to a range of actions taken to improve health and boost the performance of your body and brain. This could include dietary changes, exercise, optimising sleep and taking an assortment of supplements.

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