A Review of Research on Food and Beverage Groups

A recent study has pooled the results of major systematic reviews, exploring the relationship between food and beverage groups and major diet related chronic diseases. The article combines the data of more than 300 studies, to create strong statistical conclusions. The results from this study support major recommendations promoted by the Australian Government. These include the 5:2 (vegetable:fruit ratio) message, as well as the whole grain message.

The study found that plant foods are more protective than animal based foods, but in particular that whole grains are more protective than fruits and vegetables. Even though fruits and vegetables are definitely positive components of a healthy diet.

Among the animal sources of foods, milk was noted to have a neutral effect. While red meat, at the highest levels of intake, poses a negative effect on the development of diet related chronic disease.

This doesn’t mean that we should all stop eating meat and only eat whole grains. It does suggest that those eating high amounts of red meat should reduce their total intake, and those eating the lowest percentile of whole grains should increase their intake. Overall, the study concludes that refined cereal products, red / processed meats, sweetened beverages, pickled vegetables and fermented soy foods should be limited in one’s diet.

An important message to take from this study is how these results often conflict with most messages received from the media. Also that big business plays a role in what we perceive to be healthy food choices.

The gluten free industry is a big one. An article in the Australian Business Review from 2014 shows that the gluten free industry has almost doubled since 2007. It is a multi-billion dollar industry. A multi-billion dollar industry that wants you to buy its products.

Be careful where you find you nutritional information, since businesses wanting you to buy their products don’t always have your best interests at heart. Despite what big businesses want you to believe, there is no quick fix for health, and there is no single diet for everybody. However, the results you can achieve by improving your holistic relationship with diet and exercise can be life changing. Clients are often blown away by the changes they can make to their lives with simple changes to their relationship with food. Building structure and self-awareness are important tools in positive nutritional change.

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