Dr Dingle's Blog / dr dingle

Gut Dysbiosis. A dysfunctional gut microbiome

Gut Dysbiosis. A dysfunctional gut microbiome

While we have an idea on what a healthy gut looks like we are also aware of what constitutes a dysfunctional gut that contributes to adverse health. This condition is called “Dysbiosis” where the microorganisms in the gut including the bacteria do not live in mutual accord, when the “good”, microorganisms are not successfully controlling the “bad” ones or disturbing the balance between “protective” versus “harmful” intestinal microorganisms.[1] It can also mean where an overgrowth of “pathobionts,” i.e., normally good bacteria[2], could negatively affect important functions of the microbiome ecosystem. Even lactobacillus in high concentrations are good for the large intestine and urogenital tracts of females but becomes a pathobiant if there are too many of them in the stomach (SBO) or small intestine where an overgrowth is linked with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). So even the so called “good bacteria” can become problematic and lead to dysbiosis if they are out of balance or in the wrong place.

The most important aspect of dysbiosis is that a loss of total microbial diversity which represents the first link in the chain of events leading to the development of local and body wide inflammation. Multiple human conditions have been associated with dysbiosis, including autoimmune and auto inflammatory disorders, such as allergies, cardio vascular, metabolic disorders (diabetes, obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), various cancers and inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's and ulcerative colitis (UC)[3], celiac disease[4], and neurological disorders including autism[5].

Once inflammation starts it appears that these opportunistic microorganisms are able to exploit the inflamed environment and expand their numbers[6] to become an even bigger problem.

There appear to be three types of dysbiosis that more often than not, occur together to create the problem. These include (i) loss of beneficial microbial organisms perhaps through the use of antibiotics, (ii) expansion of pathobionts or potentially harmful microorganisms as a result of too much processed foods and (iii) loss of overall microbial diversity. It is likely that dysbiosis encompasses all three of these manifestations at the same time to influence disease.[7]

The challenge is that the Dysbiotic microbial ecosystem can become resilient over time and may become hard to alter. In one study while dieting rapidly reversed the metabolic problems associated with a high fat diet, the dysbiosis in mice after a 4-week high fat diet persisted up to 21 weeks after returning to normal chow diet.[8] It did however change after 21 weeks.


[1] Milani et al., 2016.

[2] Chow et al., 2011.

[3] Baumler and Sperandio, 2016.

[4] Del Chierico et al., 2012.

[5] Konig et al., 2016.

[6] Spees et al., 2013.

[7] Petersen and Round, 2014.

[8] Thaiss et al., 2016.

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Dr Peter Dingle’s South West WA Wellness Tour

Dr Peter Dingle’s South West WA Wellness Tour

Hope you can make it to one of our talks

Toxic Overload

October 16, 7.00 pm




Toxic Overload

October 17, 7.00 pm




Your Gut Health, Microbiome and Probiotics

October 18 2017

Bunbury turf club

Blair Street Bunbury 6230 Australia

7.00-9.00 PM each night



7 Steps To Permanent Weight Loss 

October 19 2017

Bunbury turf club

Blair Street Bunbury 6230 Australia

7.00-9.00 PM each night



Toxic Overload

October 20, 9.30 am




Toxic Overload

October 20, 7.00 pm





Toxic Overload

October 23, 7.00-9.00 pm





Toxic Overload

October 24, 9.30 -11.30 am





Your Gut Health, Microbiome and Probiotics

October 24, 2017


St George Community Care 48 Gibney Street




Dog Rock Motel seminar room

303 Middleton Road Mount Clarence 6330

7.00-9.00 PM each night


October 26, 2017

Your Gut Health, Microbiome and Probiotics



October 27 2017

Dangerous Beauty. The toxic truth about cosmetics and personal care products



October 28 2017

The 7 steps to permanent weight loss



Toxic Overload

We are now surrounded by long list of modern day toxic chemicals in our homes and the personal care products that are impacting on our health.  These poisons and potions are playing their role in making us sick and are linked with the increase in disease like breast cancer, hormone imbalances, thyroid problems and even infertility. Even at “so called” normal levels these chemicals contribute to diseases such as fatigue, depression, stress and anxiety and are linked with diabetes, cardio vascular disease, cancer, estrogen and hormone havoc and weight gain.

This presentation will change your attitudes to many things around you and your home, how you clean and what you put on your skin and empower you to make some simple changes to improve your health. We’ll show you that with a few simple modifications you can easily improve the health status of your home, your wellbeing and that of your family.


Gut Health, Microbiome and Probiotics.

Probiotics and a healthy microbiome in our digestive tract is now recognised as one of the most critical conditions for our health and wellbeing. While it is obvious when it comes to many digestive disorders recent research has shown it can be involved in virtually every form of chronic illness. A study in 2016 for example confirmed that up to 50% of Parkinson’s disease can be related to an unhealthy gut microbiome. While many skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and even acne as well as Alzheimer’s, MS, allergies, diabetes type 1 and 2 and high blood pressure are all related to a healthy gut. Even weight gain and weight loss is influenced by your gut microbiome. Both directly and indirectly a healthy gut can determine how healthy you are and even how much weight you put on. However, a healthy gut is determined by many more factors than just supplementing with probiotics or eating yoghurt.

In this one night presentation you will learn about the importance of gut health as well as what steps you can take to improve. This night is a must to see.


7 Steps To Permanent Weight Loss 

Diets, counting calories and low fat foods don’t work because they are working against your genes. These diets are going against millions of years of evolution. Studies on these types of diets show impaired mental performance, poor immediate memory and slower reaction times, they lose more muscle and develop metabolic and immune system disorders. Even more disturbing people on these diets lose muscle, end up putting on more weight and die younger.

The reason is that these Diets focus on the wrong thing. They ignore the genetic, biochemical and nutritional needs of your body so they can never succeed.

Learn the secrets of weight loss and the language of talking to your genes. Learn to retune your genes to lose extra kilos of weight without dieting.

Dr Dingle will show you by focusing on nutrient dense foods, supplementation, the right protein foods, probiotics and eliminating toxins you can unlock your genes for weight loss and wellbeing without dieting and exercise.


Dangerous Beauty. The toxic truth about cosmetics and personal care products

(Albany Only)

The personal care and cosmetic products you use directly influence the health of your family. These products impact their hormone levels and thyroid function and are linked with weight gain. These chemicals are linked with Estrogen overload and hormone imbalances, Breast and prostate cancer, Thyroid dysfunction and hypothyroidism, Impaired immune system, Skin ageing, infertility and testosterone in males and so much more.

Most Personal care products contain parabens, phthalates, solvents, mineral oils and other hormone disrupting chemicals and you won’t even know it because they may be a “secret ingredient” or even formaldehyde hidden under another name.

We now know that many of these toxic chemicals pass through the skin and into the blood where they can accumulate and cause damage and can pass into the placenta and accumulate in breast tissue.

Every application increases the risk and exposure and of greatest concern is that it is young women and girls who are most exposed to these toxins. But no one is exempt. Even girls of 5 and 6 are showing up with high concentrations of these toxins.

The good news is that by learning a little bit and avoiding these chemicals and making a few simple changes to your lives you can make a big difference to the health of your family. Your choices today have the power to affect fertility, breast cancer and weight gain even for the next few generations.

At this presentation you will find out what you can do to protect your family health, what to avoid and what is ok.

Dr Peter Dingle PhD

Exploding old belief systems, Dr Dingle dispels myths and confusion around health and how to create long lasting wellbeing. He puts the real facts at your fingertips, then provides you with personalised options to ensure your choices get you the best out of your future.

Nobody knows wellness like Dr Peter Dingle, Australia’s most engaging and innovative thought leader on the topics of health, wellness and weight loss who presents cutting-edge science in a bold, courageous, humourous and straight-shooting manner.

Dr Dingle is Australia's most popular and qualified professional speaker. He holds 2 Degrees in Science and a PhD, 21 years as an academic at Murdoch University and written 15 books on health and wellness.

Dr Dingle has a unique ability to entertain, educate and involve simultaneously. A natural entertainer, Dr D transports delighted audiences on a journey of truth and laughter that will empower them to optimize energy and health, find better life balance and their health

Dr Peter Dingle is known both in Australia and around the world as one of the most impactful and engaging thought leaders in the Health and Wellness Movement.  Over the last 30 Years he has helped hundreds of thousands of people better their lives by cutting through medical and health myths to give the real facts on evidence-based wellness.


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Essential Sleep (Part 3)

Essential Sleep (Part 3)

Sleep problems

Many sleep problems but by far the biggest is sleep deprivation and poor sleep. However too much sleep can also be a problem. Over sleeping may also be a problem. In one study sleeping 10 hours or more also increased the mortality rates by one and a half times.

 Sleep Deprivation

Sleep is as important to the human body as food and water, but most of us don't get enough sleep. Dysoninia (poor sleep) related sleep disorders alone are broken into Intrinsic, Extrinsic and Circadian‑Rhythm sleep disorders including disorders such as but not limited to: "Psychophysiologic Insomnia, Sleep State Misperception Idiopathic Insomnia, Narcolepsy, Recurrent Hypersomnia, Idiopathic Hypersomnia...Restless Legs Syndrome & Intrinsic Sleep Disorder NOS" (MSM, 2001, pp. 27).

Risk factors for sleep related illness are diet, lifestyle, occupation, stress and grief, amongst many others (Helmanis, 2006 pp. 24‑25).

Almost 90 per cent of Australians suffer from some type sleep disorder at some stage of their lives. Of these, 30 per cent suffer from severe sleep disorders. Very few people regularly enjoy the amount, or quality of sleep that they need. The estimated economic costs to the country from this are between 3 and 7 billion dollars annually. There are also huge, unmeasured physical, psychological, emotional and social costs.


Causative factors for insomnia may be multifaceted but generally include some psycho physiologic hyperarousal or emotional distress. Other precursors may be pain, movement disorders, psychiatric disorders, circadium rhythm dysfunction, medication and substance abuse (Billiard and Bentley, 2004). In some cases, the risk of insomnia is subject to a genetic bias. However, specific physiologic indicators for the familial influence have not been fully identified (Parkes and Lock, 2009).

 Insomnia is the difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep or both resulting in inadequate quality or quantity of sleep (Tomoda et al, 2009). Insomnia can manifest itself by many symptoms from not being able to sleep at normal hours and low quality and quantity of sleep to sleeping but not finding it refreshing. Other symptoms may include daytime sleepiness, frequent waking, early morning waking and difficulty retuning to sleep (Cureresearch.com, 2005).

Most adults have experienced insomnia or sleeplessness at one time or another in their lives (Straker, 2008). It is estimated that insomnia effects around 30-50% of the general population with 10% experiencing chronic insomnia (Straker, 2008). It has been estimated that in the US that 70 million people suffer sleep problems, and of these, 30 million suffer chronic insomnia (Stahura and Martin, 2006). Recently a survey showed that 1046 of the 2000 adults surveyed experience at least one night of lost sleep due to insomnia symptoms; the survey also concluded that insomnia is a growing issue of concern (Goolsby, 2006).

Insomnia generally affects women more than men and the incidence rate tends to increase with age (Straker, 2008).

There is a clear correlation of age to insomnia (Curless et a!. 1993). A number of surveys have reported between 28% and 64% of post menopausal women suffer from insomnia (Hachul de Campos et al. 2006).

Insomnia can be classified into three categories transient, short-term and chronic insomnia (Tomoda et al, 2009). Transient insomnia are symptoms lasting less than one week, short term insomnia are symptoms lasting between one-three weeks and chronic insomnia are those symptoms lasting longer than three weeks (Tomoda, 2009).


Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that causes overwhelming and severe day time sleepiness (Retsas et al, 2000). Pathologic sleepiness is characterised by the fact that it occurs at inappropriate times and places (Retsas et al, 2000). These daytime sleep attacks may occur with or without warning and can occur repeatedly in a single day (Edgar et al, 2006). People who suffer from Narcolepsy often have fragmented night time sleep with frequent brief awakenings (Edgar et al, 2006).

Narcolepsy is typically characterised by the following four symptoms:

Excessive daytime sleepiness (90%)

Cataplexy: A sudden and temporary loss of muscle tone often triggered by emotions such as laughter. (75%)

Hallucinations: Vivid dreamlike experiences that occur while falling asleep or upon wakening. (30%)

Sleep paralysis: Paralysis that occurs most often upon falling asleep or waking up. The person is unable to move for a few minutes. (25%) (Retsas et al, 2000)

Interestingly, regular night time sleep schedule and scheduled naps during the day is required for favourable outcomes (Edgar et al, 2006).

Sleep Apnoea

Sleep apnoea affects over 12 million Americans with it being more prevalent in men than women (Sjosten et al, 2009).  Sleep apnoea not only deprives sleep from the individual but their partners too (Yip, 2001). Sleep apnoea is defined as frequent and loud snoring and breathing cessation for at least 10 second for five or more episodes per hour followed by awakening abruptly with a loud snort as the blood oxygen level drops (Sjorsten et al, 2009).   People with sleep apnoea can experience anywhere between 5 apnoeic episodes per hour to several hundred per night (Sjorsten et al, 2009).

Symptoms of sleep apnoea are:

Excessive daytime sleepiness

Morning headaches

Sore throat

Intellectual deterioration

Personality changes

Behavioural disorders


(Yip, 2001)

Obesity is the major cause of sleep apnoea often losing weight is all that is need to treat this disorder (Yip, 2001).


Part 3 and more coming

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Soft drinks hard facts. A slow death from sugar sweetened drinks

Soft drinks hard facts. A slow death from sugar sweetened drinks

Chronic overconsumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) is amongst the dietary factors most consistently found to be associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes (T2D) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in large epidemiological studies. Studies have shown that SSB overconsumption increases intra-abdominal obesity and ectopic lipid deposition in the liver, and also exacerbates cardiometabolic risk. Similar to the prevalence of obesity and T2D, national surveys of food consumption have shown that chronic overconsumption of SSBs is skyrocketing in many parts of the world,

SSB overconsumption is also particularly worrisome among children and adolescents. SSBs typically include carbonated soft drinks, juice drinks (with added sugars), sports drinks, energy drinks, milkshakes, and iced tea or coffee. 

The epidemics of obesity, type 2 diabetes (T2D), and cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are affecting most if not all developed countries around the world. While the prevalence of overweight, obesity, and T2D remain high in North America and Western Europe, obesity rates and T2D rates are increasing at a stunning pace in developing countries. In Mexico City inhabitants aged between 35 and 74 years, the excess mortality associated with previously diagnosed T2D accounted for one third of all deaths between 1998 to 2004.

In some countries such as the Unites States, sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) account for almost half of the added sugar consumed nationally and consumption around the world has reached unprecedented proportions, and the rise in the prevalence of cardiometabolic risk factors in children such as abdominal obesity and insulin resistance has increased in parallel.

A recent modelling study performed by the Global Burden of Diseases Nutrition and Chronic Diseases Expert Group (NutriCoDE) estimated that up to 184,000 deaths per year could be attributed to the chronic overconsumption of SSBs [9]. Similar to the prevalence of obesity and T2D, studies analysing national surveys of food consumption have shown that the chronic overconsumption of SSBs is also skyrocketing in many parts of the world.

SSBs are the single greatest source of added sugars in most Western countries. SSBs are typically sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in the US or sucrose. Sucrose, also often referred to as table sugar, is a disaccharide composed of glucose and fructose linked via a glycoside bond.

One study showed in a six-month parallel intervention study of 47 overweight individuals that the consumption of 1 L/day of sucrose-sweetened beverages (cola) significantly increased visceral adipose tissue and hepatic fat accumulation compared to the consumption of 1 L/day of semi-skimmed milk or water. Although not associated with increases in body weight or total fat mass, the consumption of cola was linked with increases in plasma triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Interestingly, daily total energy intake did not appear to differ across subgroups, thereby suggesting that energy included in beverages could have been compensated for by reductions in energy from other sources.

HFCS is produced by industrial processing of corn starch. It contains two monosaccharides, free fructose, and glucose in various proportions. Both fructose and glucose have different metabolic fates, an observation that has encouraged many to suggest that fructose may have a unique role in the pathogenesis of cardiometabolic diseases. This hypothesis has been supported by well-designed controlled studies

In a 10-week randomized clinical trial fed an ad libitum diet with 25% of calories originating from glucose- or fructose-sweetened beverages. Although both diets increased body weight, only participants in the HFCS group had increased visceral adipose tissue accumulation at the end of the trial. Insulin levels during a 3-h oral glucose tolerance test increased by 27% in the fructose group (significant) and by approximately 14% in the glucose group (nonsignificant). Similarly, 24-h post-meal triglyceride and fasting apolipoprotein B levels, as well as small, dense low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels and triglyceride levels all increased in the fructose but not in the glucose group following the intervention.

About a dozen large prospective epidemiological studies have documented the association between SSB consumption and the risk of cardiometabolic diseases such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, T2D, and CVD.

A meta-analysis on 2013 that included 25,745 children and adolescents from 15 prospective studies and 174,252 adults from in seven prospective studies suggest that a one serving per day increase in SSB is associated with a 0.06 unit increase in body mass index (BMI) per year in children and adolescent and with a 0.12 to 0.22 kg yearly weight gain in adults. The same group also published evidence that SSBs overconsumption is linked with the onset of the metabolic syndrome (a constellation of CVD and T2D risk factors associated with abdominal obesity and insulin resistance) and T2D.


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Folic acid supplementation in mums linked to reduced leukaemia in kids.

Folic acid supplementation in mums linked to reduced leukaemia in kids.

Childhood leukaemia is a major cause of death and suffering in kids today. While chemical exposure has been linked with increased rates of leukaemia this study also shows a strong link with low folic acid levels in mums and increased rates.
Folic acid and its derivates, known as folates, are chemoprotective micronutrients of great interest because of their essential role in the maintenance of health and genomic integrity. The supplementation of folic acid during pregnancy has long been known to reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) in the foetus. Folate metabolism can be altered by many factors, including adequate intake through diet. Folate deficiency can compromise the synthesis, repair and methylation of DNA, with deleterious consequences on genomic stability and gene expression.
This review focuses on the association between folate intake and the risk of childhood leukaemia. They show the documented effects of folates on the genens and their role in cancer prevention and progression. These changes are of crucial importance during pregnancy, as maternal diet has a profound impact on the metabolic and physiological functions of the foetus and the susceptibility to disease in later life. Folate deficiency is capable of modifying the methylation status of certain genes at birth in both animals and humans, with potential pathogenic and tumorigenic effects on the progeny.
Overall, maternal folic acid supplementation before and during pregnancy seems to confer protection against the risk of childhood leukaemia in the offspring. The optimal folic acid requirements and supplementation doses need to be established, especially in conjunction with other vitamins in order to determine the most successful combinations of nutrients to maintain genomic health and wellbeing. Further research is therefore needed to uncover the role of maternal diet as a whole, as it represents a main factor capable of inducing permanent changes in the foetus.
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Are your medications making you (Pharmaceutical) fat?

Are your medications making you (Pharmaceutical) fat?

Most people don't realise that a large number of pharmaceutical agents, including many over-the-counter and prescription drugs, are linked with weight gain and obesity. Drug-induced weight gain is a serious side effect of many commonly used drugs. The weight gain can be extremely high in a relative short time: sometimes more than 10 kg over 12 months. Some medications can increase appetite, cause fluid retention, or slowly lead to weight gain over a period of time due to fatigue and lower activity.
The best know impact, however, is the role of antibiotics in weight gain. The growth (fat) promoting effects of antibiotics were first discovered in the 1940s. Since then, antibiotics administered in low doses have been widely used as growth promoters in the agricultural industry worldwide. As a result, the largest use of antibiotics and related antimicrobial substances is on farms, with low doses fed to large numbers of animals used for food production, to increase weight gain by as much as 15%. If antibiotics are so effective in causing weight gain in farm animals, similar results are likely to occur in human populations. Unfortunately, antibiotic use in humans has increased markedly, often for the wrong reasons, now approximating one antibiotic course per year for the average child and most of them for the wrong reason. Antibiotics can cause many problems and we do overuse them. For a bacterial, not viral, infection always listen to you health professional; the gut microbiome can be rebuilt after the treatment finishes with super probiotics and prebiotics.
Blood pressure lowering medications such as Beta blockers reduce metabolic rate and slow utilization of nutrients, thus resulting in weight gain. Obesity and hypertension contribute to metabolic syndrome, which could further complicate the patient’s situation. Many of the diabetes medications can lead to weight gain. These agents may increase insulin production, which can lower blood sugar levels and result in an elevated appetite. Injectable insulin itself can also lead to weight gain, possibly due to periods of low blood sugar that stimulate appetite. Other drugs used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes can lead to weight gain and fluid retention.
Many psychotropic drugs, including antipsychotics, antidepressants and mood stabilizers, are also linked with significant weight gain. In a study of three antipsychotic drugs over 12 months, at three months haloperidol added 3.8 kg, risperidone 5.9 kg and 8.4 kg for olanzapine. After one year, all participants had gained between 9 and 11 kg. Some antidepressant drugs induce significant body weight gain, which may amount to 20 kg over several months of treatment. The older antidepressants, known as tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are notorious for increasing appetite and causing weight gain.
Commonly prescribed oral glucocorticoids like prednisone can also cause significant weight gain, especially when taken over prolonged durations, by causing fluid retention, stimulating appetite and increasing deposits of fat in the upper part of the body and the abdomen. Antihistamine drugs that are used to treat allergies can result in weight gain through blocking of a chemical called histamine in the brain. Weight gain is a common side effect of drugs used for headache prevention.
Statin drugs used to lower cholesterol have now been shown to be ineffective in prevention of heart disease. However, they are associated with an increase in diabetes and weight gain.
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Conscious Living Nutrition

Conscious Living Nutrition

Despite the overwhelming importance diet and nutrition have in our lives, most people show very little interest in food other than satisfying their hunger or taste buds. Perhaps this is because people are too busy doing other things, perhaps it’s too complicated or maybe it’s because of all the conflicting information ‘out there’. For many people it’s simply too confusing, and this confusion is brought about in part by the vested interests of those companies marketing our food stuffs.
To make their products competitive, the cheapest ingredients available are usually used, whether they are sources locally or internationally. Unfortunately, energy-dense grains, fats and sweets represent the lowest-cost dietary options to the consumer. Good taste, high convenience, and the low cost of energy-dense, in conjunction with larger portion options and low satiating power, are the principal reasons for overeating and weight gain.
The breakfast food people tell us to buy their product so that we’ll be eating a nutritionally balanced breakfast, but most of the nutrition in their products comes from the vitamins and minerals they add. The soya food industry and dairy industry tell us their products are healthy for a whole other set of reasons and the confusion deepens. This is complicated by the fact that we (including many doctors) usually have a poor understanding of even the basics of nutrition. Most people receive their information from the advertisements on television and from the food packets. It’s literally in our faces all the time, from when we first get up and stare at the breakfast food packaging, to the multitude of ads on television.
For the past 50 years we have had misleading information and as a result the public are confused about what they should be eating to stay healthy. Even people who spend their time trying to keep up with the information are confused. If you followed the recommendations on the food pyramid for the past 20 years there is a very good chance that you would have ended up with diabetes, had a heart attack or stroke, gotten cancer or had some other major chronic illness. Hence the high levels of chronic illness now experienced in developed countries. Even the new version, MyPlate, while a little easier to understand, will still increase your risk of chronic illness.
The food pyramid, which was developed in 1992 by advertising and marketing researchers to develop an image the consumer could identify with and easily understand. It was never intended to be a health guideline it was developed to sell agricultural produce. The pyramid was then widely distributed and has been used as an educational tool, basis for dietary assessment, and part of policy documents. To highlight the strong influence of industry on US food guidelines, in 2011 the US Department of Agriculture, the same organisation who created the food pyramid, labelled pizza as a vegetable because it has tomato paste. Any wonder the food pyramid was so wrong.
Most food guidelines are controlled by vested interests seeking only short-term gains through promoting nutritionally undesirable eating habits. For example, Nutrition Australia, the controlling body of the healthy food pyramid, has a number of corporate members, such as Dairy Australia, an industry group, as well as the company Tefal (which sells the number one deep fryer in the world). These corporate members may influence decisions made within Nutrition Australia. There are examples of the sugar and salt industry manipulating food guidelines and even protesting against claims of adverse health effects of their products; the main reason for this is protection of profits. Thus questions must be asked about the effects that these corporate members have on changes to the healthy food pyramid. If changes occurred would they work in favour of the corporate members or would they work in favour of human health?
Industry can manipulate food guidelines by using them as marketing tools. The Heart Foundation Tick (HFT), a common food logo, has guidelines developed by the Australian Heart Foundation. However, the HFT is a voluntary system having a minimum fee of $3,000, meaning food companies purchase the HFT after passing its guidelines, although the HFT can be placed on fruit and vegetables for free. As the HFT is voluntary it may not represent the best choice for the consumer; for instance a competitor’s product may be more nutritious but if the company has not paid for the HFT it is not endorsed by the Heart Foundation. Yet less nutritious products can be endorsed. The American version of the HFT, the HeartGuide Food Endorsement Program, lasted just two months with consumers, nutritionists and even the U.S. government rejecting the system as biased. Similarly, both the Canadian and British heart associations dropped their food endorsement programs to remain independent, leaving Australia one of the only countries maintaining the HFT. Recently the Heart Foundation Tick was given to a number of McDonald’s products as well as 48 sugary breakfast foods. The foundation seems to have not seen the growing body of literature on sugar and chronic illness, including heart attack, or maybe it did and simply ignored it. It should also be noted that the Heart Foundation has received millions of dollars from drug companies who have a vested interest in heart disease. Not so independent. Amongst many donations the drug company Pfizer made to supposedly independent health advocacy groups in Australia were $227,409 in 2008 and $126,000 in 2009 to the Heart Foundation. So much for independent heart health advice.
Perhaps the best example of industry’s vested interests is food claims upon products. Claims such as “low in fat,” “all natural” or “light” can often be misleading and trick consumers into buying something they think is healthy when it may not be. Industry suggests these claims are a source of information for consumers; however, these claims are often only a marketing tool influencing consumers, not a health promotion strategy. If the packaging on a food product makes a nutritional claim, it may be best not to eat that food.
If you search in the scientific literature for foods that improve your health, that is, foods which reduce the risk of diseases and give long term benefits, you’ll discover that fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds (and many vitamin, mineral and other supplements) are the healthiest and most nutritious of all foods. Most of the grains we consume are over processed carbohydrates with so little nutritional value that the food companies are forced to add vitamin and minerals to make them a little healthy. These foods also have a high glycemic index, which means they raise blood sugar levels very quickly, damages the blood cells and is converted to fat.
Everything you eat will either accelerate illness, or will work to health, strength and vitality. An excess of processed, grain-based food is debilitating to your body, as are all the over-processed foods. This and other dietary issues have been clouded by the focus on calories. Despite the obsession with calculating the energy units in food, the general population continues to put on weight and get sick from diet-related diseases. Instead our focus should be on the nutritional content of food, not on calories.


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