Nutri­tion in fo­cus

Haven Magazine - - WELLBEING - Words: Dr Tim O’dowd, nu­tri­tion­ist and OBGYN

New plans can be made any­time of the year, but what bet­ter time than now? Spring is a time of re­newal and re­gen­er­a­tion, so why not make a res­o­lu­tion to op­ti­mise your health through life­style and nutri­tion ad­just­ments?

Ev­ery sec­ond adult has a chronic dis­ease like high blood pres­sure or di­a­betes, and one-in-four have at least two. De­vel­op­ing a chronic dis­ease means life­long and per­sist­ing ef­fects, and a need for longterm man­age­ment by your­self, health pro­fes­sion­als and prob­a­bly med­i­ca­tions. But, in most cases, this can be avoided. Good health is de­ter­mined by fac­tors that ei­ther in­flu­ence health, or ac­tions that you take to im­prove your health – you can’t do much about your genes, but you can do a lot with your life­style and nutri­tion. While nutri­tion is nec­es­sary to sus­tain our lives, it’s also un­for­tu­nately the cau­sa­tion of a lot of our ill health. Some 64 per cent of Aus­tralians are over­weight, which im­me­di­ately puts them into a higher risk cat­e­gory for a chronic dis­ease. Most peo­ple will tell you they are con­fused by the var­i­ous and of­ten op­pos­ing ideas about what con­sti­tutes good nutri­tion, but when we eat the wrong car­bo­hy­drates over sev­eral years, grad­ual weight gain, es­pe­cially around our liver and pan­creas, and an in­creas­ing waist­line – and the health con­cerns that come with obe­sity – will typ­i­cally re­sult. A ‘Cor­rec­tive Car­bo­hy­drate Re­stric­tion’ pro­gram is rec­om­mended for peo­ple who are over­weight and wish to shed a few ki­los, as well as for those who are at risk for type 2 di­a­betes or in­deed have the dis­ease al­ready. Es­sen­tially, avoid or se­verely re­strict all sug­ars, soft drinks, juices and sports drinks, re­fined and pro­cessed foods, and im­por­tantly bread, pasta, rice, pota­toes and other starch prod­ucts. Fat re­mains a con­tro­ver­sial topic de­spite loads of good re­search stat­ing oth­er­wise. No­tions that ‘fat makes you fat’ and that fat and choles­terol causes heart dis­ease are un­true! Good fats like av­o­ca­dos, nuts and seeds, olives and olive oils seem to be ac­cepted by most nutri­tion ad­vo­cates. I also ad­vo­cate fish, poultry, pork, lamb and beef. Low-fat prod­ucts, on the other hand, con­tain polyun­sat­u­rated oils that are highly pro­cessed and give us the wrong omega3-omega6 ra­tio, which is un­healthy. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” makes a lot of sense. The med­i­cal world is wak­ing up to the im­por­tance of nutri­tion and it is in­spir­ing and mo­ti­va­tional to see that the UK col­lege of GPS is now ed­u­cat­ing its doc­tors in low-carb nutri­tion.

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