‘What Should I eat?’

‘What Should I eat?’

Earlier this week I travelled down to Brisbane to go the ‘What Should I Eat’ forum. It was a fantastic evening where I got to listen to a combination of authors with published books on nutrition. Some of them had a keen interest in nutrition, while others were health professionals with extensive training and qualifications in this area.

On the panel there was Dr Sue Shepard, Sarah Wilson, Professor Kerryn Phelps, Lola Berry, Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos and David Gillespie. Read about there background here http://www.whatshouldieat.com.au/authors/.

I’ll start off with some of the key positive messages I took away from the night (because I like to spread the good stuff). Then I’ll share some of the misinformation and getting to meet one of my idols!  

The key messages: 


  1. Eat the rainbow – eat a variety of different coloured vegetables and fruits to get a range of different phytochemicals (these are biologically active substances that may protect against some diseases).

  2. There is no one ‘hero’ food – there is no single food that you can eat which will correct a poor diet. Eat a variety of nutritious foods.

  3. Respect your body – respect your food choices. Learn what is in your food and take pride in looking after yourself.

  4. Learn about mindful eating – listen to your body and discover your hunger and fullness signals.

  5. Dietary changes should be individualised –some nutrition messages are suitable at a population level. But often food changes should be tailored to suit you personally. What is your medical history? What medications do you take? What foods do you have access to? A dietitian is qualified to provide you with this personalised advice.

  6. Children need to learn how to cook – it is the responsibility of both schools and parents/carers. This is a topic that was raised by a member of the audience and one that many on the panel were passionate about! Jamie Oliver and Stephanie Alexander are doing great things in the space.

  7. Eating poorly can lead to craving foods like sugar. Taking a vitamin or mineral supplement is only a band aide. From a supplement, you don’t get all of the phytonutrients and antioxidants that are in the food. The colours of food are so important.

  8. Some people need vitamin or mineral supplements – but don’t self prescribe. See a qualified health professional. The type and timing is important. Would you go the pharmacy and self prescribe your own blood pressure medications?

There was also some misinformation spoken. One author stated that without seed oils there are no trans fat. So what are the facts here? Trans fats are formed through the hydrogenation of liquid vegetable oils. These are of great concern and increase your risk of heart disease.

Fortunately there was a suitably qualified health professional to fill in the gaps and make sure the information was correct. Getting rid of seed oils does not mean there are no trans fats. Trans fats are also naturally occurring in foods like meat and butter (this is a small amount of the fat we eat).

And this happens all of the time on social media, where a blogger or an author posts information that is slightly incorrect or blatantly wrong. There isn’t always someone there to correct this information. I think it is a timely reminder to be cautious of where you get your nutrition information. Don’t believe everything you read.

Finally, a highlight of my night was briefly meeting Dr Sue Shepherd. She is a very influential dietitian and someone I idolise.  Not only is Sue an exceptional speaker, but she is also lovely in person.

What are you going to eat this week?

Leave a Reply