In The News This Week …




Scientists from Sweden believe they have found the gene responsible for the ‘unhealthy’ fat in the body. It may be a risk factor for type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. If verified this will be “the first time someone has identified a gene that may cause malfunctioning adipose tissue in man.” It is hoped that the finding will lead to new drug treatments for diabetes.




The ACCC is taking the Australian Egg Corp. Twelve Oaks Poultry, and Farm Pride to court over suspected egg-price cartel. The Australian Egg Corp. allegedly held an emergency meeting to address over-supply. The ACCC alleges that there was no ‘over-supply’ and that actions following the meeting could have increased egg prices.


A farmer using GM (genetically modified) crops won a landmark WA Supreme Court case. The man had been sued by his neighbour, a certified organic farmer, for damages resulting from the spread of GM canola crops. Important factors in the case included that: GM crops cannot contaminate other crops easily, even when blown into adjacent fields by the wind, and that the GM farmer had not intentionally harmed his neighbours crops, property, or business.




A new global survey has found that 1 in 3 Australians is now obese and that rates have soared up 80% over the last three decades.

‘ “Waiting for a cure is not possible,” says Rob Moodie, the professor of public health at the University of Melbourne. ”The public health system will be crushed by the obesity crisis and the rise in cancer, heart disease and diabetes.” ‘

The increases are likely due to great resistance from food manufacturers and inaction from Government on front of packaging label and its halted star rating system.




ANGRY Muslims in Malaysia demand a Jihad, or holy war, be declared on confectionary company Cadbury and their parent company after traces of pig DNA were found.


Mindless Eating


Brian Wansink’s ‘Mindless Eating’


Okay I’m cutting straight to the point, if your interested in food and how it controls us then read this book! 

Suggestions for avoiding mindless eating:

  • Find something else to occupy yourself. Ask yourself “what are my interests?”
  • Plating up 20% less will not leave you hungry, it may not even be missed. Of course this is a bit harder if you’re serving yourself.
  • Speaking of servings, the book suggests taking only preserved plates to the table rather than serving bowls. This way you have to go back for seconds in needed.
  • Keep empty packaging on the table until you’re done eating, this will act as a visual cue to your brain that you have in fact been eating and that you’ll start feeling full soon.
  • drink from tall skinny glasses rather than short fat ones. We perceive vertical objects to hold more volume than horizontal ones. Try drawing two equal lines, one horizontal and anothervertical starting in the middle of the horizontal one. It appears that the vertical is longer, even though it is not.  
  • Try to not use the four unhelpful and unhealthy food tool extremes. Do not use food or eating as a reward or punishment, or as a form of guilt or comfort. Easier said than done I’m afraid!

Wansink doesn’t assume you’re looking for a diet and that you need strict rules to control your eating, he is merely a scientist doing his job; presenting the facts. It’s a great read which takes us behind the scenes of the food industry and the way in which food is marketed. It offers a unique perspective to food and what your eating without using your own intake as a case study, you don’t feel targeted or guilty for eating. 

While the author cannot disclose specific information about his various industry consults, he takes us into his world. Its the world of human eating behaviours, I was captivated and taken off-guard. I had thought I knew lots about the relationship humans have with food, but this book challenged my perceptions and I’m all the better for it. 

For instance imagine an elaborately planned dining room where soup bowls magically refill and eaters just keep on eating without knowing that they have consumed more! I thought for sure most people would notice that one but apparently we have more in common with the white lab rat than we’d like to think!

Anyway onto the crux of this book, there’s lots of value here, the hardest part is actually making steps to apply the ideas to your life. I think once you take the plunge it’ll get easier to take care of yourself and follow the basic principles the book outlines; I could say that about most diet books, only I wouldn’t call this a diet book per se. 

Until next time 


Please remember that I’m a dietetics STUDENT, so none of my opinions should be trusted! PLEASE consult an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) or your GP before applying anything discussed in this blog to your diet or exercise regime

This Week’s Food News



(28 April) Monday: ABC –Toxic Mushrooms

Woolworths is defending itself after 3 people claim eating poisonous mushrooms allegedly purchased from the Dickson ACT store. ACT Health has not found any evidence of the mushrooms and Woolworths has reminded the public that its produce ‘is subject to strict government controls and is regularly monitored’.



Tuesday: ABC- Gluten

Researchers from the US, the  Netherlands, and Melbourne have found the “snapshot of the exact moment a body’s immune system recognises gluten as a foreign substance and triggers a response”. It is hoped that this will lead to effective drugs which will block the interaction between gluten and the body’s immune system, such a breakthrough may even see people with coeliac disease eating gluten foods again.


Thursday: ABC- Wine App

To renew Chinese confidence in the Australian wine industry, “former Boomers basketball player Andrew Vlahov and his business partner Grant Shaw have teamed up with Chinese IT company Invengo and consultants Deloittes to develop an app that detects” wine label authenticity. The tech would cost less than $1 / L and is necessary in the growing export market as China’s CTV reports 50% of labels as being counterfeit.


Friday: Smart Brief- Diabetes

Researchers have found links from lifetime maximum Body Mass Index to diabetes. Diabetes is traditionally thought to arise due to weight, blood pressure, age, family history, and lipid profile. The link has been proposed, independent of these traditional factors.




Two quick foods


Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 7.37.18 pm

Tired? Stressed? Have a good old sammich (as my great grand-mother used to call sandwiches). Why? because as boring and un-cool as they are- (lacking the sexy-ness of a teriyaki-marinated chicken sourdough), sandwiches are a great go to food. You can put nearly anything on them and if you don’t pile them with meat and cheese they can be well as filling. I like alfalfa sprouts but you have to be careful because they spoil easily. Also on this sammich is carrot, cheese, toms, and yummy meat-free veggie sausages packed with protein. I find they’re a filling afternoon snack; cut into quarters and share- afternoon tea style. 

Need an afternoon pick-me-up? Instead of reaching for a cuppa-soup*. Try something blended but still easy to prepare. If you like fruits with your milk for a twist try frozen bananas and mango with 10 mint leaves and a fibre mix (such as chia seeds, psyllium husk, and/or LSA).

I usually use only 1/2 a Cup of skim milk. You need to add just enough so that the blender doesn’t get stuck, it’s a fine balance! There is so little milk because it will achieve the best consistency, not because I dislike dairy (because dairy is great). After blending the mix is like icy soft serve, it reminds be of a luscious ice cream full of sugar, but this probably has less than half the calories and won’t leave your throat sticky and burning. 

You’ll be surprised that no honey is needed. You can get away with less sugar in cold things, especially with fruits which have natural sugars. Just remember that this type of smoothie contains foods rather than liquids so it can be quite dense. A serve would be a standard glass of 250ml.

* (I’ll admit they have their place and can be handy especially for dieters)

Until next time 


Please remember that I’m a dietetics STUDENT, so none of my opinions should be trusted! PLEASE consult an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) or your GP before applying anything discussed in this blog to your diet or exercise regime

Product Review: Mexican Tortilla Soup


soupPrice: $3.50 / 400g ($ 0.88 / 100g)


Brand: Hansells All Natural

The New Zealand parent company of Alfa One, Aunt Betty’s, Hansells, Real Yoghurt, Vitafresh, Vitasport, Pane Toscano, Sucaryl and others. They’re best and originally known for their traditional steamed puddings, sold under the Aunt Betty’s brand in New Zealand and Australia.



Per serve: 697Kj Energy, 6.5g Protein, 3.9g fat, 26.3g Carbs, 5.2g Sugar, 6.8g Fibre, 820mg Sodium


Verdict: Firstly let me say how frustrating it is to see a product containing two serves which must be used immediately. What if I’m eating alone? Or what if my eating buddy doesn’t like Mexican Tortilla Soup in a pouch? The pouch really should be re-sealable. Of course I could decant half the packet into a container for refrigeration, but if I were able to put in that much effort I wouldn’t be eating pre-prepared soup now would I!

Other than the obvious shortcomings of the packaging, this product is delicious! Hansells lose points for excessive salt however. The excessive salt is especially a problem when you decide to eat the whole packet. I fate forced upon me by the people who decided against putting a seal on the pouch for reuse.


Product Review: Sesame Bar


sesame bar

Product: Sesame Bar $0.90 /  45g ($ 2.00/ 100g)

Brand: Edens

A mystery as the company seems to have no online presence. If anyone knows about this company, please comment!



Each bar gives 728kj Energy, 2.5g Protein, 8.3g Fat, 20.8g sugar, 1.5g fibre, and 43mg sodium

Half a bar gives 364kj Energy, 1.25g Protein, 4.15g Fat, 10.4g sugar, 0.75g fibre, and 21mg sodium


Verdict: An old favorite which has been a joy to review. I hadn’t had one in about a year, I forgot how much I love them! While the bar is considered a single serve, it gives quite a lot of energy. I suggest eating it in two halves. Oh and another thing, if you’re unfortunate enough to have braces on your teeth as I do maybe cut it up first! I’m also pretty sure this isn’t a dentist-friendly product either, being quite sticky and sugary.

 The low sodium is a plus but the high sugar is a minus

This Week’s Nutrition News (week starting Monday 14 April)


BluewMonday: Heart Foundation and SMH

3D printer technology may lead to petri dish hearts for patients in the future. Scientists hope that by building a scaffold for cells to grow over, new functional hearts may be grown. If successful technology such as this would circumvent the critical issue of donor rejection as well as low donor rates.


Tuesday: Australia Network News (ABC)

Not only is the world’s fish population being over-fished unsustainably, but the effects of climate change may be adding an extra layer of complexity. The acidification of ocean water has led to changes in the survival instincts for fish. Scientists say that they have even been attracted to their predators. Surely action must be taken soon, and on both these issues. Fish are one of the few sources of long chain omega 3 fatty acids, important in balancing the body’s state of inflammation and a healthy source of energy.


Tuesday: ABC local radio Mystery News!

There was a segment during an radio update about the cancellation of an agreement between the Pathology dept of NSW Health and either the food authority or FSANZ whereby the dept undertook food testing on behalf of the food regulator. It was an interesting headline which, unfortunately I could not find anywhere on the internet.


Wednesday: SMH Vitamin D

Australian’s of all people are not getting enough sun! Well according to one report. I’m sure a completely contradictory report on the controversial topic of vitamin D deficiency can be found. Vitamin D is found in butter, margarine and can be made inside the body using sunlight. It’s primary role is in strengthening bones, but may also protect against various chronic diseases.


Thursday: CSIRO Super Grain

CSIRO has developed and successfully commercialised a natural low GI wholegrain with twice the fibre and four times the resistant starch. A diet high in fibre has been shown to be important for bowel health and in reducing the risk of chronic disease. Starch is thought to act similarly, and may help increase faecal bulk which may be protective against bowel cancer. Barley Max Enterprises, established by CSIRO and Australian Capital Ventures Limited (ACVL) says that “Five Australian companies are now using BARLEYmax grain in their food products, which include breakfast cereals, muesli bars, rice blends and bread”.


Good Friday: Bloomberg

On a bloomberg article detailing China’s covering up of toxic soils, Greens leader Senator Christine Milne (@senatormilne ) tweeted “This is why we need country of origin food labelling for consumers and why cheap imported products need to be tested” and “This is one reason why China is seeking to out source food production by buying land and water in other countries”. The Greens are raising awareness for a new Bill on labels detailing the origin of food products. Australia has a complex and illogical system, a fact highlighted in an episode of ABC’s ‘The Checkout”.