Monday, January 14, 2013

Dieticians Launch 'Fad-Free' Diet To Halt Weight Creep In Younger Woman

The majority of young Australian women have tried to lose weight in the past year, and one in four has attempted a fad diet to shift unwanted kilos, according to a new survey.

The Newspoll study of 200 women aged 18 to 24, commissioned by Australia’s peak nutrition body, the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA), has prompted dietitians to develop the ‘Fad-free Diet’, specially tailored to arm young women with the right advice to improve their daily eating habits.

DAA has released the diet this week to coincide with Australia’s Healthy Weight Week, which runs from 20 to 27 January, and encourages young women to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Accredited Practising Dietitian Celeste Hankins, 25 from Sydney, has thrown her support behind the back-to-basics ‘Fad-free Diet’ approach, which she says will appeal to young women like her.

‘Young women need a diet that is both sustainable and achievable. The Fad-free Diet includes low glycaemic index carbs, protein-rich foods, and nutrients to boost energy levels and fuel the body and mind.

‘It’s a fresh, tasty approach to eating and a much better option than the quick-fix celebrity diets often targeted at young women at this time of year,’ said Ms Hankins.

Clare Collins outlines the principles of the ‘Fad-free Diet’:
  • Start the day with breakfast. Breakfast eaters are more likely to be a healthy weight and less likely to re-gain lost weight. Include a source of protein (such as an egg or baked beans) and a low glycaemic index (GI) choice (like wholegrain toast or low‐fat yoghurt). Protein-rich foods and lower GI carbohydrates provide important nutrients and also help keep you fuller for longer. 
  • Choose low kilojoule, high nutrient foods. Wholegrain breads and cereals, fruit and vegetables, lean meat, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, and lower fat dairy foods fit the bill. 
  • Rediscover home cooking. By learning to cook at home using healthy ingredients you’ll boost your nutrient intake. And studies have shown that cooking stir-fries, roasts and casseroles including protein foods like beef and lamb means you’ll put more vegetables onto the plate as well. You only need 15 minutes to make a tasty, healthy meal. 
  • Eat fruit and vegetables. Build up to the recommended five serves of vegetables (around three cups) and two serves of fruit every day. Fill half your dinner plate with vegetables (which is easy when you cook at home) and eat fruit as a snack. 
  • Be portion aware. Over the past 30 years, the amount of food on our plates has increased – as have our waistlines. Shrinking portion sizes at every meal is a sure-fire way to lower energy (kilojoule) intake. 
  • Enjoy treats – in moderation. Many young women report sugary treats and take-aways as a weakness, making it more difficult to eat well. You don’t have to cut out any food, as long as you moderate your intake. Everyone’s different – so cutting back to a square or two of chocolate a day or a take-away once a week may be a step in the right direction for you. 
  • Choose healthier drinks. Water is the best choice – so have a glass, bottle or jug of water close by at all times. Too much alcohol can lead to excess kilojoules and poorer food choices, both of which contribute to weight gain. If drinking, try a wine spritzer (wine diluted with plain mineral water) or a light beer, or ask for a smaller glass when drinking. 
  • Write down everything you eat and drink. This will help you become more aware of what you're eating and drinking, and where any problem areas are. Research suggests this is one of the best ways to change your eating habits and lose weight. 
  • Be a mindful eater. Pay attention to hunger levels and how much you’re eating. Turn the television off and instead concentrate on the taste of food, as well as how full you feel. This is an easy way to trim kilojoules from your day. 
  • Recruit a support team. Everyone needs support to maintain healthy habits. Find at least one person (friend, family member, work colleague, or health professional – such as an Accredited Practising Dietitian) who will support and cheer you on. 
Professor Collins encourages women to be realistic about weight loss, aiming for a drop of around half to one kilogram a week, to be active every day, and to take on eating habits they can live with over time.

For information on Australia’s Healthy Weight Week, an initiative of the Dietitians Association of Australia, visit 


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