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Australian nutrition news


Nutritionists put focus on Indigenous health

A nutritionist specialising in Aboriginal health is warning of the need for urgent practical measures to reduce the life expectancy gap between Aboriginal Australians and the rest of the population.

The National Heart Foundation's Sharon Laurence says about a third of homes in Aboriginal communities do not have a working refrigerator.

She says a national conference of about 200 nutritionists in Alice Springs today will highlight how poor food storage is to blame for chronic health issues.

"There are statistics that show that 80 per cent of housing in remote areas lacks the sufficient infrastructure to prepare and store food," she said.

"It's fairly fundamental to be able to sustain and to prepare your own healthy foods and avoid some of the higher fat, less nutritious takeaway options."
Posted Wed Mar 12, 2008 from ABC News

Flour drums star in unique cooking competition

Flour drums will be the centrepiece of an unusual competitive cooking event in Central Australia today.

The inaugural Iron Chef in the Desert competition will pit 50 nutritionists against each other to craft a healthy meal.

But rather than using traditional barbeques, the cooks will have to come to grips with wood fired flour drum stoves.

Organiser Roy Price designed the competition to draw attention to the issue of nutrition in Central Australia.

"If you put a wok on a flour drum stove you can cook anything that you can cook in a wok virtually. You can stir fry, you can braise, you can stew, you can boil, you can deep fry if you want to but we nutritionists don't recommend that.

"You can make steamed pudding. I made a steam pudding in a wok the other day on a flour drum stove and it was delicious.

"The flour drum is common place around Aboriginal communities ... What I have done is simply cut a few slits underneath the lip of the drum, a few slits around the bottom and cut a rectangular fuel door in the side, so all you need to do is throw in a few leaves a few sticks, set fire to it."?Posted Wed Mar 12, 2008 from ABC News

Vegies push for outback Qld

A project is underway in outback Queensland to encourage people to eat more fruit and vegetables.

Queensland Health says the cost of fresh produce in some remote locations is up to 20 per cent higher than in urban areas.

The organisation also says people living in south-west Queensland consume less than half the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables each day.

Spokeswoman Simone Johnston says the idea is to make produce more affordable and accessible in south-west towns through initiatives like community gardens and improved transport.

"There's a community garden established in Roma, a great school garden out at Charleville at St Mary's Catholic Primary School, and I believe there is a community garden in Cunnamulla," she said.

"For our project, we're in the early stages and what we're really trying to do is stimulate some good discussion between local industry and local people, and get together to try and sort out some solutions."?Posted Wed Mar 06, 2008 from ABC News

Diet Soda May Sabotage Weight Loss Efforts

By MedHeadlines • Feb 12th, 2008 • Category: Diet, Headlines, Obesity, Prevention

People who drink diet soda in an effort to lose weight may be doing more harm than good according to a recent study conducted by the Ingestive Behavior Research Center at Purdue University. artificial sweeteners lead to weight gainIn the study, rats given yogurt sweetened with zero calorie saccharin later gained more weight and put on more body fat than rats who ate yogurt sweetened with glucose (a simple sugar comparable to table sugar).

The study surmised that by breaking the connection between a sweet sensation and high-calorie food, the use of saccharin changes the body’s ability to regulate intake. Problems with self-regulation might explain in part why obesity has risen in parallel with the use of artificial sweeteners. Because people have different experiences with artificial and natural sweeteners, human studies that don’t take into account prior consumption may produce a variety of outcomes. Three different experiments were conducted to explore whether saccharin changed lab animals’ ability to regulate their intake using various assessments, the most obvious being caloric intake, weight gain and compensation by cutting back.

Carrots Have Been ‘Kicked Up A Notch’

By MedHeadlines • Jan 19th, 2008 • Category: Diet
One of nature’s most nutritious foods has just been “kicked up a notch” according to researchers at the University of Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. The study, which was reported in the recent issue of the National Academy of Sciences, resulted in a genetically engineered carrot that provides extra calcium. Researchers hope that adding this “super carrot” to a normal diet could help ward off conditions such as brittle bone disease and osteoporosis.

According to the study, someone who eats the new carrot will absorb 41 percent more calcium that if they ate a “traditional” carrot. The calcium charged vegetable still needs to go through many safety trials. “These carrots were grown in carefully monitored and controlled environments,” said Dr. Kendal Hirschi, a member of the research team at Baylor. “Much more research needs to be conducted before this would be available to consumers.”

The scientists hope the new carrot could ultimately offer a healthier way of consuming sufficient quantities of calcium. Dairy foods are the primary dietary source of calcium but many people are lactose intolerant or simply need to avoid consuming too much fat. The beta-carotene in carrots has long been heralded as an important antioxidant that can combat free radicals that contribute to conditions such as cancer, heart disease and macular degeneration.

Baylor’s research team is also working on a reengineered version of broccoli that will contain more sulforaphane, a chemical which may help ward of cancer. One researcher noted that consumers are moving away from their fears of “Frankenstein food” and are starting to appreciate the health benefits that can come from genetically engineered foods.


Cooked Vegetables More Nutritious

By MedHeadlines • Jan 1st, 2008 • Category: Diet, Prevention

cooked vegetables nutritiousMedHeadlines - A new study done by Italian researchers has challenged an age-old notion by revealing that the nutrient content present in vegetables goes up if they are either boiled or cooked. Study results contradict traditional belief that eating raw veget

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