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It’s a food fight. The time has finally come where a deep and important line needs to be drawn in the sand.  No more throwing bad science and bad advice around. Stop!

The “food pyramid” guidelines are still alive (and well?) in New Zealand (see here). They are outdated, old school and quite simply wrong. Recently they were up for review…

Unfortunately, they came back more or less the same – saturated fat and fats in general are bad for us ….blah blah blah.

So our team felt we had to put all the science out there publicly for everyone to have a look at. So here it is for your scrutiny.

MOH dietary guidelines feedback REVISED Appendix 9.5.14

This is our response to the draft nutrition guidelines.

The timing could not be better actually as tonight I go head to head with the very people who advised on these guidelines.  The 3rd Degree piece will be available here (its rightly called “Food fight” after 8.30 tonight NZ time.

Please take the time to read at least the lay summary, and even the full scientific document. I think you will be shocked just how little there is to back up the current and future nutrition guidelines.

It’s time for a full and robust scientific analysis of what we are told to eat to be presented to government health officials (who have it now), and the lay, scientific, and health communities.

We have also proposed a new set of guidelines called the Real food guidelines – real food, for real people, based on real evidence.  It’s time to get real people!  Here they are for the first time :

The real food guidelines
Real food for real people, based on real evidence

  1. Enjoy nutritious foods everyday including plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit.
  2. Buy and prepare food from whole unprocessed sources of dairy, nuts, seeds, eggs, meat, fish and poultry.
  3. Keep sugar, added sugars, and processed foods to a minimum in all foods and drinks.
  4. If you drink alcohol, keep your intake low. Don’t drink if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
  5. Prepare, cook, and eat minimally processed traditional foods with family, friends, and your community.
  6. Discretionary calories (energy foods) should:
    a) Favour minimally refined grains and legumes, properly prepared, over refined or processed versions, and boiled or baked potatoes, kumara or taro over deep fried or processed potato fries and chips.
    b) Favour traditional oils, fats and spreads over refined and processed versions.

We welcome feedback and scrutiny of our scientific analysis. This is open source and for the people. We are constantly trying to improve our understanding of  the science of human nutrition. The evidence changes all the time. Our scientific statement is another iteration in the right direction but should by no means be where we stop.  It’s a start..

Thanks to everyone in our team who contributed (see below).  Also Dee Holdsworth-Parks for tirelessly keeping my life organised and our team working smoothly.

  • Dr Caryn Zinn PhD
    NZ Registered Dietitian. Senior lecturer Human Potential Centre, AUT University
  • Dr Nigel Harris PhD, BRmgmt
    Senior lecturer, Human Potential Centre, AUT University
  • Dr Mikki Williden PhD
    Registered Nutritionist, Senior lecturer Human Potential Centre, AUT University
  • Catherine Crofts MPS M.Phil
    Research Assistant, Human Potential Centre, AUT University
  • Dr Simon Thornley BHB, MBChB, MPH (Hons), FAFPHM.
    Professional Teaching Fellow & Research Fellow, Section of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, University of Auckland
  • Cliff Harvey ND
    Holistic Performance Nutrition
  • George D. Henderson
    Research Assistant, Human Potential Centre, AUT University

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