Introduction to Nutrition 1

Hey guys, I start back at University in a few days .. well technically tomorrow… and since I haven’t put up any pictures of any details from my trip I thought I would shake up the guilt until I have enough time to sit down and do it all in one go. So for the moment here is a little information about  Nutrition in the most basic sense.

Australia, like many countries have a government supported guidelines for health, NHMRC being the Australian one related to nutrition. And yet how many people have heard of it? I for one didn’t know about it until I started studying Nutrition. It is amazing how we have all heard of fads or special diets, the “lemon detox” or “gluten free”, and yet so little people have heard of NHMRC or the equivalent. These “specialty” diets get on average maybe 4 hours of news time during the crazy or the release date. And I am pretty sure there was only a mention NHMRC had announced the estimated dietary requirements. Real health needs a better PR.

Basic natural medicine principles

We need to return the body to focus/balance, the state of homeostasis. Holistically approaching nutrition, there is more of a look at dealing with the cause than just the symptoms.

1.            Natural Cure – if we provide the body with the right envroment and the right foods that it needs to get better/healthier, the idea is that the body should be able to cure it’self naturally, there are in some cases, chronic conditions, where this is very unlikely as it has already gone too far to completely fix the cause.

2.         The presence of disease is the absence of health – each person is a individual, that means different methods will work on different people, while we class symptoms in order to find treatment, it is abundantly clear that one cure is not going to work the same on people with the same disease. Each person is vulnerable to different things and may have different tolerance levels.

3.            Treat the cause where you can, not just cover up the problem with a bandaid.

4.            DO NO HARM- don’t over compensate, trying different diets (can lead to food anxiety or taking a unreliable test to find out you are allergic to anything or reading everything you eat essentially will make you sick) or taking a cocktail of supplements, can leave the body full of toxicity which would cause harm

5.            Treat the body as a whole (Holistically). A person has thoughts, feelings and emotions, all which have to be taken into consideration. Give the patient empowerment, they have probably gone from place to place constantly being given things to take, when all they need is the chance to feel like they can make the change.

6.            Prevention through Education is the best approach

7.            Prevention is much better than just curing – but a lot harder since people don’t seem to want to change until something is wrong.

8.            Exact Intervention.

Digestion, Absorption and Utilization

Digestion: it starts with mastication – breaking down the food and the saliva starts the digestion of carbs making it easier for us to swallow. The chewing helps our body also know what is coming, is it savoury, sweet, salty or spicy? This tells the body so it knows what to secrete. (This is why liquid breakfasts kind of suck. – you cants sense how much you are actually eating – the feeling of full is delayed and the whole “condensed calories ” make it easier to eat more, while when chewing the judgment of how much we are eating is there. Life is now all about being on the go, but what most people don’t realise that without taking the time out to sit down and actually enjoy the food you are eating so the body can utilise the food you consumed, they body will go into sympathetic response, flight or fight leaving foods nutrients unused to their full potential.)

Macro and Micronutrient

•Macro = required in large amounts

•Micro = required in minute amounts

A macronutrient can be:

•Carbs

•Fats

•Protein

•Water

And a micronutrient are:

• Vitamins, trace elements and minerals

Definitions:

Nutrition: Nutritional needs will change through a life time as the body changes. Balancing the amount of food we eat and the nutritional value of it with an active lifestyle is key. To me nutrition means consciously meeting the bodies needs, taking in food – digesting it – and then utilising it’s nutrients.

Diet: The range of foods a person regularly eats. Diet is from the Greek word Diaita – which is seen more as a way of life, the word Diet has dropped down to mean only a narrow range.

Nutritionists and Dieticians:

To me a dietician is someone who looks at dietary requirements and the macro nutrients, focuses on evidence based work ( so unless there is a lot of examples of something working they wont try it) they work alongside doctors as allied healthcare professionals. All dieticians are nutritionists but have a more science based approach, for example, to me when I see a dietician, I see them handing out basically a set diet for a specific illness.
A Nutritionist on the other hand, well that is a bit more murky, there is no protection around the name. I feel as if they focus more so on the micro nutrients and it is a completely different style of practice.

My understanding of NRV’s[1]

NRV: This stands for Nutrient Reference Values[2]. NRV gives a guidelines to the amount of an essential nutrient to be consumes in order to keep in the clear of deficiencies.  
RDI : 
Recommended Dietary Intake, This is a sort of guideline to follow to help keep persons healthy, although a recommended dietary intake is different for most people because of factors such as age, pregnancy and physical activity.  When the RDI can’t be determined, AI, Adequate Intake, is used. Meets about 80% of the general publics needs
AMDR: Acceptable macronutrient Distribution Range

Therapeutic Range: This therapeutic range is referring to the dosage expected to achieve the desired effect so basically the “Safe Range”. In relation to nutrition we can prescribe above the recommended dose, and use vitamins and minerals like a drug, for example, someone suffering RA, being told to take 10 Fish oil capsules a day is using it like a medication.

What are the general Australian Dietary Guideline recommendations?

  • A variety of Fruits and Vegetables
  • Grains, legumes, nuts and seeds and high fiber foods
  • With a blend of meat, seafood, poultry and dairy products

So basically :

  • 2 serves of Fruit
  • 5 serves of Veg (6 for men)
  • 2.5 serves of meat, seafood or poultry
  • 7 serves of Carbohydrates (like wholegrain, legumes and beans)
  • 3.5 serves of Dairy

BUT WHAT IS A SERVE? It is seen as 1 cup of raw veggies or ½ cups of cooked. I will make my opinion on getting your veggie serves from juices clear – juices lack fiber, if youa re using an expensive cold press juicer, you are still lacking fiber. And tin fruit! It lacks nutrients, don’t even go there.

The government website: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines has a list of guidelines from infants through teenagers to pregnancy and elderly diet.

Who are the Global and National governing bodies?

The global influence of the World Health Organization and Food Agriculture Organization

While Australia’s national governing bodies for this matter are:

•National Health Medical and Research Council

•Food Standards, Australia and New Zealand

•Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organization.

Why is Western society of middle class and above still have nutrient deficiencies?

In my opinion Westerners in general seem to be lacking some nutrition that is brought on by the mindset of junk food. In some poorer areas it may be easier or cheaper to eat take away or not eat vegetables or fruit while in others there is no luxury of eating out. Regardless, lack of education about a balanced diet is a key factor in my opinion, while people are educated via tv adverts that promote eating “5-a-day” (Veggies and fruit) the lack of education comes from how to include them in diet. Looking back at history in the western cultures, it was usually the poor who had a vegetarian diet because meat was expensive, not to say that they were eating enough fiber as in some circumstances of larger families of those who didn’t grown their own food, a stoggy meal was made of starchy vegetables and milled flour to create a filling and un-nutritious meal. Today this is true in my opinion, it is not every often you see people making a hearty, high in nutrients, stew using a range of vegetables and a salad on the side simply because it is not appealing for those who have not been raised on it. Making a large inaccurate generalisation, If you look at the stereotypical American or Australian or British, our diet consists largely of things fried and full of starch, meat, the main part of the meal accompanied by potato (starch) or vegetables lacking in the appearance of leafy and green.

Who is responsible for making decisions about our health?

To me the answer is simple. The decision is ultimately ours. There is no censorship around the knowledge of what a healthy diet basically consists of.  And it is up to each individual to learn and find out more, the governments and organisations try and show us what a healthy lifestyle is based on: Healthy diet and exercise But it is up to the individual to take responsibility. It is like going to a dentist the first time in 50 years and blaming them that your teeth are all ruined if you have never performed any oral hygiene practices. While in Australia it is common knowledge that a healthy diet is balanced with fresh fruit and vegitabels with appropriate quantities of legumes, grains, seeds, nuts and lean meat.


[1] http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/n35.pdf

[2] http://www.nrv.gov.au/Introduction.htm

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