This out dated, out of context image from the OLD dietary guidelines was recently posted on facebook with a nice little rant about the "disgust and appal" in the Dietary Guidelines as based on this single image. This image was then shared over 300 times!!
Here is my rebuttal (ok, my rant) ...
*Sigh* This is only 1 image from the OLD Dietary Guideline…
Yes, I agree that this image isn’t the most user-friendly, especially when it is taken out of context. The remainder of this (out dated) document describes in further detail examples of serves and is further supported by The Australian
Guide to Healthy Eating which uses a pie chart with images of a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, dairy and alternatives, in the portions they should be consumed across the entire day. If you look at this image you will
also be able to see that ‘discretional’ foods are situated away from the rest of the food groups, which represents that they are not necessary within the daily diet, but of course there is an allowance for them.
Furthermore, the actual NEW Dietary Guidelines have specifically focused on increasing the usability of the guide as well as the diversity of foods represented as relevant to a wide variety of cultures, budgets and population groups. The preference for whole grains is detailed in the new dietary guidelines but as pointed out in the post, recommendations for organic, grass fed options, etc are not specifically recommended and for a very simple reason – this recommendation is for the entire Australian population, of which the vast majority cannot afford or by other means equitable access these food options. The equity of the Dietary Guidelines is actually a significant consideration in
there development along with a wealth of nutritional science.
By the way this nutritional science included 55,000 scientific journals with a review of this evidence available for anyone to view. It consists of 1105 pages which systematically reviews and grades the available evidence – I have read this document (yes I am a nerd) and argue that you cannot disagree with these finding unless you have firstly read this document, further reviewed the evidence yourself, and can produce counter evidence of the same strength, validity and quality.
Issues surrounding GM products, sustainable and cruelty free farming practices, as correctly mentioned in
this original post, at this stage have not been considered within the development of the Dietary Guidelines, however I have no doubt that the next revision (in about 5 years) will take greater consideration of these elements, in context of equitable access across the population – issues surrounding this were deliberated in the development of this version.
In the meantime, the National Food Plan is in development which is a government document which encompasses more of these issues and will functionally act to change the food supply so as to increase/decrease the equitable access, sustainability and safety of the food supply. I haveblogged on this before in direct response to the petition against the heart foundations tick on margarine, which you can view here – who cares if it has a tick! If you are really concerned that margarine is unsafe, work to change the food supply!!
Now I am not saying the National Food Plan is a well formulated plan to improve our food supply, in fact I think it has some huge faults and as such have strong support for The People’s Food Plan, which is an alternatively produced document – by the way the window for public consultation is now closed - if you are passionate about changing our food supply, this was the avenue to do it.
I think it is clear that the disgust in “new” dietary guidelines is underpinned by a huge amount of misunderstanding – I have serious concerns about any “nutrition expert” that fails to recognize they are viewing out dated documents, is blatantly unfamiliar with the Dietary Guidelines and is addressing public health issues without any understanding of the drivers and determinants of food choice – It seems a bit ignorant to disagree with something you don’t understand…
Limits in nutritional knowledge were further evident in this ‘post’ with reference to “no recommendation for fat,” this is simply because fat is a nutrient not a food group, as this image is presenting.
Essential fats in our diet are derived from our food – meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, milk, cheese, yoghurt, as well as of course many 'discretional' foods which are all included on the image presented. (By the way, in contrast to the original post, Diary is not mucus forming from a population perspective which is the intention of these guidelines.)
It does my head in that this poorly formulated argument, based on an out dated figure, was shared over 300 times!!! And was supported by other “nutrition experts” who similarly failed to recognize it was out dated and out of context .
If you feel strongly about ensuring you are given the right nutrition information, like and share this blog and remember to think critically about ‘information’ sprouted on facebook!