Floating around Facebook today is Pete Evans’ poke against dietitians and conventional diet wisdom.
Pete has created a picture of dietitians who are all about calorie balance, and who demonise overweight people as simply not exercising enough, who say ‘a calorie is a calorie’. He mentions low fat diets, implying that those who promote them promote coke, potatoes, and other high GI carbs. The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating is presented as horribly out-of-date, trailing miles behind Sweden who promote a high fat, low carbohydrate diet.
If you look at the recommendations (http://bit.ly/1ygElVr) you’ll find that Sweden’s low carb recommendations are for weight loss, and their guidelines for the healthy population look rather like ours.
The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating definitely does not promote a high carbohydrate diet, and it doesn’t ignore the difference in quality of calories. It promotes lots of fruit and veggies, and a moderate amount of unprocessed grains, lean meat and dairy. It promotes using oils that we know are healthy, with lots of evidence behind it – for example olive oil.
Dietitians are a clever bunch – we read lots of scientific papers, and we really care about our patients, wanting to use all the science we know to help them meet their health goals.
Pete Evans is promoting the paleo diet – which restricts grains and legumes. Cutting edge science is looking into gut health and food, and shows that grains and legumes promote good gut health, and diets high in animal products, such as the paleo diet, can lead to poor gut health. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24495527)
The Dietitians Association of Australia is indeed sponsored by some big food companies, but they’re not bombarding us with fake science and spin. If you’re looking at conflict of interest, you don’t want to ignore that Pete Evans is launching his own coconut oil brand, a key ingredient in the paleo diet.
All up, current science says lots of fruit and veg, moderate amounts of unprocessed grains, lean meat and dairy, to include legumes and nuts, and use a moderate amount of fats from nuts, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, and other unsaturated oils.