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Analysis and Comment (53)

Re-fuelling after exercise is important for maintaining adequate energy stores for beneficial changes in your muscles (training adaption). Re-fuelling after exercise is important for maintaining adequate energy stores for beneficial changes in your muscles (training adaption). Szabó Varga Katalin/Flickr

Health Check: tips on eating to recover after exercise

Sports performance was once thought to be enhanced by practices such as drinking cognac before an Olympic marathon run. Thankfully, today’s nutrition strategies are more scientific and properly researched…
Yoghurt is one of the products containing probiotics that do confer a health benefit. Yoghurt is one of the products containing probiotics that do confer a health benefit. Flickr: Mark Kenny

Health Check: what’s your gut feeling about probiotics?

You don’t usually have to look far to find news about the virtues of probiotics, but should you go out and seek probiotic-laden products to cultivate a healthier gut? Probiotics are micro-organisms that…
Undue emphasis on individual nutrients rather than on the diet as a whole leads to an unhealthy reductionism that has no scientific basis. Undue emphasis on individual nutrients rather than on the diet as a whole leads to an unhealthy reductionism that has no scientific basis. U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr

Health Check: eat food, not (blockbuster) nutrients

Turmeric is said to be the latest “blockbuster nutrient”, helpful for “everything from heart disease to Alzheimers, asthma to arthritis.” But is there any scientific evidence behind this claim, or is it…
Running on their diets. Running on their diets. Mike Egerton/PA

Chocolate milk, porridge and other World Cup diet secrets

You are what you eat. And in sports like football this is particularly true. Consuming the right or wrong foods and drinks can be the difference between winning and losing a match. It’s easy to think that…

VIDEO: Are raw foods good for you?

There are claims that cooking destroys nutrients and enzymes found in food, and that eating raw, uncooked foods must be better for you. But it’s not that simple and, as Tim Crowe explains, a pure raw-food…
Eating is clearly more than just about getting the right nutrition. Eating is clearly more than just about getting the right nutrition. Brianna Lehman/Flickr

Health Check: how food affects mood and mood affects food

Eating good food promotes overall health and well-being, but what you eat may also impact how you feel. Research suggests that not only can the food you eat affect your mood, but that your mood may influence…
Even in an affluent country such as Australia, many people struggle to eat well. Even in an affluent country such as Australia, many people struggle to eat well. Alex Proimos/Flickr

Life below the poverty line: lessons from eating on $2 a day

Global poverty statistics are staggering – 1.2 billion people live in extreme poverty and about 870 million are undernourished – but even in an affluent country such as Australia, many people struggle…
Most Australians already fail to meet the recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables. Most Australians already fail to meet the recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables. Strikkelise/Flickr

Adding GST to fresh food is a recipe for poor health

Recent calls by Australian government ministers and senior officials to broaden the goods and services tax (GST) base to include fresh fruit and vegetables would make the population’s diet go from bad…
What parents eat before conceiving a child affects their baby’s DNA expression. What parents eat before conceiving a child affects their baby’s DNA expression. hndrk/Flickr

How your parents' diet before your birth impacts your health

Chromosomes and genes contain the blueprint for your physical characteristics. But your parents' health and diet before you were conceived can also affect how your genes are expressed – and impact your…
Resveratrol, found in cocoa and red wine among other things, is just one of hundreds of potential health-promoting components in food. Resveratrol, found in cocoa and red wine among other things, is just one of hundreds of potential health-promoting components in food. Kate Ware/Flickr

And now the bad news: red wine is not great for health after all

Nutrition research often loses sight of the wood for the trees by focusing on a single component of food. The latest example of this comes from a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine today that shows…
You are what you eat: these five foods are proven to improve your health. You are what you eat: these five foods are proven to improve your health. bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock

Health Check: five must-have foods for your shopping trolley

If you eat to improve your health, here are five foods to put in your supermarket trolley every week. All pack a proven punch in terms of health gains if you have them regularly. 1. Oats Oats are a wholegrain…
Cheaper than the real thing, but less healthy. Cheaper than the real thing, but less healthy. David Wright

Poor diet is the result of poverty not lack of education

Public health professionals are calling on the prime minister to do more to help the many families in the UK who cannot afford a decent diet. Contrary to popular belief, people who are experiencing food…
Vitamin jubes contain quite small doses of vitamins and up to 50% sugar. Vitamin jubes contain quite small doses of vitamins and up to 50% sugar. Ethan Hurd/Flickr

Vitamin supplements for kids: what are we really treating?

Australian parents spend $40 million each year on vitamin supplements for their children. It’s a big number; much smaller is the number of children who actually need them. In 2009, a large American research…
You guessed it: there’s an app for that. You guessed it: there’s an app for that. USDA

FoodSwitch is an addictive app to help find healthier food

Working out what are the healthiest options in the supermarket can be a difficult job, especially when food labels are often designed to trick you into thinking they’re healthier than they are. We asked…
Buying fresh and cooking from scratch is a struggle for some. Buying fresh and cooking from scratch is a struggle for some. Shutterstock/sunlover

Health Check: is fresh food always the best choice?

When it comes to food, we’re told to eat what’s in season, buy locally and avoid “food miles” – for good reason. But not everyone has access to grower’s markets, or the time and resources to source and…
People failing to lose weight frequently blame themselves but their physiology is working against them. People failing to lose weight frequently blame themselves but their physiology is working against them. TipsTimesAdmin/Flickr

Health Check: why diets fail

Almost everyone who has tried to lose weight has tasted the bitter pill of failure. That feeling you get when, despite all your desires to be healthier, to fit into sassier clothes or to shimmy through…
Give me five of these any day. Give me five of these any day. Nancy D. Regan

Explainer: what is nutrigenomics?

“Eat your five-a-day” is a health slogan that has been kicking around since the 1980s. The UK government made it an official campaign in 2003. But understanding the exact benefits (and harms) that our…
Sometimes vegetables end up everywhere except where they’d do most good. Sometimes vegetables end up everywhere except where they’d do most good. Evan Long/Flickr

Health Check: why kids don’t like vegies and how to change it

So little Harry won’t eat his vegetables? Well, he’s not alone. Poor Harry is just protecting himself from the danger of alkaloid toxins – although he doesn’t actually know this. At the tender age of four…
Choosing an exclusively raw-food diet can potentially put a person at a small disadvantage. Choosing an exclusively raw-food diet can potentially put a person at a small disadvantage. jefah/Flickr

Health Check: are raw food claims overcooked?

Eating only raw foods has emerged as a popular dietary trend. Proclaiming an emotive health message, it is enough to make you think twice before next adding heat to your food. But fear not – on the scales…
It can be exhausting to come up with tasty treats every day. It can be exhausting to come up with tasty treats every day. Image from shutterstock.com

Tips for taking the pain out of packing school lunch boxes

School starts across most of Australia this week, so parents and carers are breaking out the lunch boxes once again. For some, preparing food that kids will want to eat can become something of a dreaded…
A diet high in particular saturated fatty acids can increase your body’s cholesterol production. A diet high in particular saturated fatty acids can increase your body’s cholesterol production. Penn State/Flickr

Health Check: are saturated fats good or bad?

Dietary guidelines cite the fact that saturated fats can increase LDL cholesterol, which is also known as bad cholesterol because it’s a major risk factor for heart disease. Others claim saturated fats…
For days when Lucozade and a Mars bar just won’t cut it. For days when Lucozade and a Mars bar just won’t cut it. barclakj

How eat-local palaeolithic diet kept our ancestors healthy

During the warm periods between ice ages stretching from 500,000 to 200,000 years ago, the southern parts of Britain were occupied by a species of ancient human, Homo heidelbergensis. These hunter-gatherers…
The long-term decline in butter sales has reversed in recent years despite the continued promotion of margarine as a healthy spread. The long-term decline in butter sales has reversed in recent years despite the continued promotion of margarine as a healthy spread. penguincakes/Flickr

What the margarine vs butter argument says about nutrition

Margarine has been the chameleon of manufactured food products, able to transform its nutritional appearance, adapt to changing nutritional fads, and charm unwitting nutrition experts and nutrition-conscious…
Legumes are the least well known source of fibre, but they may be the most important for human health. Legumes are the least well known source of fibre, but they may be the most important for human health. Dey/Flickr

Health Check: are you eating the right sorts of fibre?

Six out of ten Australians don’t eat enough fibre, and even more don’t get the right combination of fibres. Eating dietary fibre - food components (mostly derived from plants) that resist human digestive…
Many people worry that eating before exercise will cause indigestion. Many people worry that eating before exercise will cause indigestion. Flickr/escaped.monkey

Food for fitness: is it better to eat before or after exercise?

There’s a lot of confusion surrounding food intake and exercise – is it better to eat beforehand or afterwards? And what type of exercise benefits most from eating? Eating before exercising is important…
Recent ABS data showed rates of unhealthy weight ranges in children plateaued between 2007 to 2012. Recent ABS data showed rates of unhealthy weight ranges in children plateaued between 2007 to 2012. mitikusa.net

Too early to proclaim the end of the war on childhood obesity

Parents winning childhood war on obesity, Australian Bureau of Statistics data reveals, screamed the headline. Sounds like a good news story to make every parent breathe a sigh of relief, but is it really…
Eating whole grains is better for health than refined-grain foods. Eating whole grains is better for health than refined-grain foods. Susy Morris

Whole grains are better for you but they’re no panacea

Eating whole grain foods, such as oats and grainy breads, is better for health than refined grain foods such as white bread or pizza. But whole grains are also thought to have a role in inflammation. Whole…
Processed meats and large quantities of cooked red meats (more than 500g a week) increase your risk of bowel cancer. Processed meats and large quantities of cooked red meats (more than 500g a week) increase your risk of bowel cancer. Flickr/Pabo76

Health Check: does processed meat cause bowel cancer?

Each year around 14,400 Australians are diagnosed with bowel (colon and rectal) cancer. It’s the second most common newly diagnosed cancer after lung cancer and claims around 3,980 lives a year. The good…
Women comprise 43% of the agricultural labour force in developing countries. Women comprise 43% of the agricultural labour force in developing countries. CGIAR Climate

Feeding the world: addressing gender divides could help reduce malnutrition

Our modern food system is a double-edged sword: delivering chronic under-nutrition due to shortages of nutritious food, and chronic obesity due to overconsumption. In Australia, we’re living among 60…
Juicing reduces the fibre content of fruit and vegetables but it’s better than not eating them at all. Juicing reduces the fibre content of fruit and vegetables but it’s better than not eating them at all. Adam Franco

Health Check: the low-down on eating vs juicing fruit and veg

Today we launch Health Check, an ongoing series which injects scientific evidence into popular health discussions. Stay tuned for a new Health Check each Monday afternoon. Eating more fruits and vegetables…
Forget feeling guilty and do something: parents can help kids learn healthier habits. Forget feeling guilty and do something: parents can help kids learn healthier habits. www.shutterstock.com/Aleksei Potov

Guilt relief: how families can fight childhood obesity

As a dietitian and nutritionist for more than 15 years, the most common emotion I encounter in parents is guilt. And it’s little wonder - if you’re an Australian parent, you have a one-in-four chance of…
The Mediterranean diet is rich in omega-3 fatty acids from olives and olive oil. The Mediterranean diet is rich in omega-3 fatty acids from olives and olive oil. Garry Knight

What is the Mediterranean diet and why is it good for you?

A recent study published by Italian researchers shows that adhering to a Mediterranean-style diet can offer protection against type 2 diabetes. The paper is just the latest in a long line of research pointing…
The benefits of free school meals far outweigh any harm caused. The benefits of free school meals far outweigh any harm caused. rajkumar1220

It is not fair to say free school meals in India are deadly

In the aftermath of the death of 22 schoolchildren in the state of Bihar in India, the Mid Day Meal (MDM) scheme, which provides free school lunches to more than 120 million children, has attracted widespread…
You may think you’re strong but without food you’re fuelling no-one. You may think you’re strong but without food you’re fuelling no-one. seemakk

Nutrition for the non Tour de France cyclist … et voilà

Modern Tour de France riders compete as part of a professional cycling team, with support staff who work to ensure that each individual’s nutritional needs are met. Under such circumstances – as we wrote…
Many things go into making a Tour de France champion – including nutrition. Many things go into making a Tour de France champion – including nutrition. Sebastien Nogier/EPA

Eat me, drink me – fuelling riders in the Tour de France

We know professional cyclists have strong legs and the desire to win, but what role does food and drink play in their chances of success? The Tour de France is considered one of the world’s most demanding…
Ready, steady, go - but not not everyone likes traffic systems. Ready, steady, go - but not not everyone likes traffic systems.

Food traffic lights are green for go but EU holds back more radical measures

Last Wednesday was a good day for those of us who have been campaigning for years for more understandable food labelling. The UK Government announced their final recommendation for front-of-pack nutrition…
The term superfood is often evoked for exotic and ancient fruits, such as these acai berries. The term superfood is often evoked for exotic and ancient fruits, such as these acai berries. Seema Krishnakumar

Superfoods: not so super after all?

Superfoods is a buzzword now part of mainstream food and health language, often touted as miracle foods that cure all ills, stave off ageing and disease, or aid weight loss. In practice, superfoods are…
Insects constitute a source of higher quality protein for humans than we can obtain from plants. Insects constitute a source of higher quality protein for humans than we can obtain from plants. BBC World News

Icky insects are actually tasty treats that are good for you

In the early 1980s, I was a member of a team of nutritionists who analysed bush food samples sent by “The Bush Tucker Man” (Major Les Hiddins) from northern Australia to the Defence Nutrition laboratory…
Your genetic make up interacts with what you eat to either promote or harm good health. Your genetic make up interacts with what you eat to either promote or harm good health. Mark Lucock

Nutrigenomics: how nutrition and genetics impact health

A month ago, I returned to Australia from a trip to Burma. After four weeks in the country, I’d acclimatised to the culture, cuisine and people. My conditioning was so complete that on my return, I was…
Soft, surface-ripened cheeses, such as Brie and Camembert, are most likely to transmit listeriosis. Soft, surface-ripened cheeses, such as Brie and Camembert, are most likely to transmit listeriosis. Shutterstock/Jiri Hera

Understanding the recent listeria-linked cheese recall

Soft cheeses made by Jindi were recently recalled in Victoria, after they were linked to the deaths of three adults, a miscarriage, and a score of other cases of “listeriosis”. The case is a reminder of…
Eggs are an inexpensive source of high quality protein, as well as being rich in minerals and vitamins. Eggs are an inexpensive source of high quality protein, as well as being rich in minerals and vitamins. Christopher/Flickr

Settling the debate about whether eggs are good for you

Eating egg yolks is similar to smoking for the damage it does to your arteries, according to a Canadian study published in the scientific journal Atherosclerosis. But how seriously should you take this…
Researchers can now explain exactly how Popeye got superhuman strength from spinach. Researchers can now explain exactly how Popeye got superhuman strength from spinach. Marius Watz

Popeye vindicated – why spinach is good for you

Researchers have finally caught up with the wisdom of mothers, who, for decades have been coaxing their children to eat spinach. We know this leafy green is a good source of folate, a very important B…
The browning of apples illustrates how natural sugars in foods modify proteins and amino acids. The browning of apples illustrates how natural sugars in foods modify proteins and amino acids. quinn.anya/Flickr

Open wide: are ‘healthy’ food choices making us sick?

Educated, wealthy and living longer than ever before – or are we? Have you noticed that despite people often making healthy food choices, we are developing chronic diseases at much higher rates? A number…
Australia needs a tax on unhealthy foods that covers more than just fat content. Australia needs a tax on unhealthy foods that covers more than just fat content. Flickr/ms Tea

Is a ‘fat tax’ the answer to Australia’s obesity crisis?

Australia should follow the lead of Denmark and consider taxing foods high in saturated fats to curb the nation’s growing obesity problem, Greens leader Bob Brown said at yesterday’s tax forum. This week…

Research and News (6)

Research Briefs (11)

Doing your nut helps diabetes

Eating nuts helps control diabetes and prevents some consequences of the condition, according to University of Toronto researchers…