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Australia issues new draft of dietary guidelines for “healthy eating”

By By Ankush Chibber , 20-Dec-2011
Last updated on 02-Jan-2012 at 15:59 GMT

Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council announced last week new draft guidelines that it hopes will encourage better nutrition for Australians.

The council said that the new ‘Australian Dietary Guidelines’ are aimed at promoting the benefits of healthy eating to reduce the risk of diet-related disease amongst Australians.

The guidelines emphasise: vegetables; fruit; wholegrain (cereal) foods; lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs; and milk, yoghurt, cheese or their alternatives, but mostly reduced fat.

The council also recommended that Australians limit intake of foods and drinks containing saturated and trans fats, and instead introduce in their diets small amounts of foods that contain unsaturated fats.

Foods and drinks containing added salt should be limited and labels read to choose lower sodium options among similar foods.

Sugar intake too should be reduced, in particular sugar-sweetened drinks.

Alcohol should be limited too.

All ages

The guidance was applicable to all demographic segments, including people with common diet-related risk factors such as being overweight. Only those with frail bones, the most elderly people or those with medical conditions were excepted.

In a statement to FoodNavigator-Asia, Australia’s peak nutrition body, the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) welcomed the draft guidelines.

DAA CEO Claire Hewat said: “Not a lot has changed in the new draft Guidelines, which shows we’ve generally been on the right track with the food and nutrition advice we’ve been giving Australians.”

“But more work needs to be done on getting these messages across to people, as rates of overweight and obesity and diet-related chronic diseases remain a problem in Australia, as does malnutrition,” she said.

Public consultation on the draft Australian Dietary Guidelines is open until February 29, 2012.

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