Draft guidelines have been released which suggest that Australians are in danger of developing a number of potentially life-threatening diseases if they don’t change their eating habits.
With Christmas just around the corner mums all over the country are starting to dust off old recipe books and come up with a menu for this year's family meal.
But before you start baking cookies and reaching for that extra knob of butter to glaze the roasting ham, it might be a good idea to think about the nutritional content of the food that you intend on serving.
According to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) a number of Australians are putting on weight at an unprecedented rate.
The report, which was released earlier this week (December 13), has listed a raft of changes we need to make to the way we eat in order to maintain a healthy weight.
Researchers from the NHMRC have found that as many as 62 per cent of Australian adults and 25 per cent of adolescents are obese.
And while family history and other medical conditions may make it difficult for some people to manage their weight, it seems that fast food makes up one third of the average person's daily food intake.
Energy rich foods such as white bread, confectionery, cakes, hamburgers, soft drinks and chips are causing mid-sections to spread.
Store-bought items are not the only health concerns with dietitians also saying that we should cut back on starchy vegetables – the number one culprit being the potato.
The NHMRC has found that adult men and women are enjoying too much of a good thing when it comes to the humble spud and has suggested a 40 per cent reduction in its intake.
It was also recommended that people avoid high-fat dairy by 54 per cent if they want to prevent the development of obesity, cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes.
Amanda Lee, chair of the dietary guidelines working committee, was firm in her criticism of Australian eating habits.
Ms Lee said that people who did little or no exercise should not eat any junk food if they wanted to meet the NHMRC outcomes – the council had previously told people that it was okay to eat items from this food group in small amounts.
She said: "If we want to provide practical and realistic advice, we have to think about the foods and dietary patterns, not nutrients."
"We are getting fatter every day … if we don't radically improve our diet we're going to see a tsunami of poor health consequences associated with poor diet."
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