written by home doctor townsville team

Can we really have it all?

Modern day diets can be hard to keep track of but they all seem to have one thing in common, cutting out processed food. These days they’re also a way of life rather than just a way of losing weight. Think the Paleo and I Quit Sugar movements.

Despite our good intentions, not all of us can commit to a full diet upheaval, especially those of us who love dining out. Don’t be the person heard asking: “Can you make this gluten free with cheese from a cow who was only fed grain in a paddock no further than 10 kilometres away?”

You get the picture.

And let’s face it, there’s some food that’s just non-negotiable; often it’s the homemade variety – the stuff childhoods are made of. So in a world full of mixed messages about cutting back carbs, counting our calories and cancer-causing bacon, can we find a happy medium?

From a dietitian’s perspective, yes it’s definitely possible “Everything in moderation.” It’s an age-old saying that’s often the mantra of the dietitian and one they believe can be lived by. It starts with having a healthy relationship with food.

The Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) believes “healthy eating is about balance, moderation and variety”.

All or nothing. Is it OK to cut out entire food groups?

Balanced Diet

For many of us, a health kick or a detox can mean cutting out all treats altogether. Maybe it’s to avoid temptation or to help stop the cravings for good.

Not surprisingly, the DAA recommends steering “away from diets that recommend eliminating whole food groups as they leave your body starved of nutrients essential for good health”.

New York nutritionist Keri Gans agrees. She told Women’s Health Mag: “I would never tell anyone to eliminate an entire food group, especially carbohydrates. These are our body’s fuel. Our brain only functions on glucose, and carbohydrates break down into glucose.”
Where there’s a will there’s a way. Food tips and tricks

You can re-train your tastebuds. Of course, it takes time but it’s worth it if you can switch to healthier food and enjoy it.

Here’s some easy food tips to try out:

  • Chocolate: Swap out sugar-filled milk chocolate for dark chocolate. Something with dried fruit will still taste pretty sweet at 75 per cent. Gradually up the cocoa content. A typical 90 per cent dark chocolate only contains 6 grams of sugar per 100 grams
  • Wheat: Spelt flour is lower in gluten than wheat and can be substituted into most recipes
  • Sugar: If you’re looking to minimise processed foods, be careful of synthetic sweeteners. According to the I Quit Sugar movement, the type of sugar you’re looking to cut back is fructose, which means baking using glucose-based sweeteners is pretty much healthy better for you

It’s important to note, any significant diet changes shouldn’t be undertaken without supervision. Check with a GP or other health professional for personalised advice before taking action.