Feedback with Melissa and Christie – Week 3 – Oct 2018 – Food as Medicine

everyone, and welcome to our feedback video for week
three of Food as Medicine. With me I have Christie,
our other course mentor. CHRISTIE BENNETT: Hi,
it’s lovely to be here. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Yeah, and we’ve
had a really good time reading through your comments
for this week, and we’re here to answer
a couple of questions that we’ve got from learners. CHRISTIE BENNETT:
We certainly are. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Yeah, but
first of all, Christie, before we jump into those
questions from learners, let’s have a bit of a talk
about a popular topic this week around why nutrition
science keeps changing. We’ve added that into the
course because it is a question that a lot of people always
ask or a lot of people feel sometimes that
they don’t necessarily trust what nutritionists
or dietitians or scientists say because the
advice keeps changing. So what are your comments–
or why do you think it is important that we
keep on top of the evidence and why nutrition
science does change? CHRISTIE BENNETT: Look, I think
it’s a really important point to discuss because
nutrition science is one of the most quickly
evolving sciences out there, and I think it’s one of
the most exciting parts of our profession. I think it keeps changing really
because we are learning more, so therefore that
raises more questions, and we have more capacity
to do your research as well as technology evolves and
as our knowledge evolves. MELISSA ADAMSKI: That’s right. And I think that
sometimes people forget that nutrition is a science. It’s not just about
the foods that we eat. It is a very complex science
around not just the nutrients and what’s in food but about the
complexity of dietary patterns and how we actually
eat those foods and how we combine all
those foods together. CHRISTIE BENNETT:
And I think it often can be viewed as
a negative, but I think it’s also a positive
because the more we learn, the more we understand. We would want our medicine
to change over that time. We wouldn’t necessarily be doing
things that we do in 1800s. MELISSA ADAMSKI: No,
that’s right, exactly, and there are many
examples of things we don’t do with medicine that
we did back 500 years ago. So please keep that
in mind if you do see a change in a recommendation. Be open minded and
try to understand where that change has come from
and what new information we might know now to have made
that new recommendation. And another topic
this week, Christie, that we asked learners
to have a look at were the differences in food
guides from around the world because there certainly are lots
of different ones out there, and yet one of the
key things with them is they all seem to have a
very similar theme running through them, don’t they? CHRISTIE BENNETT: Certainly do. So I think in most of
the food guides that were represented,
vegetables feature heavily, which is great to see. MELISSA ADAMSKI: And speaking
of our previous topic there about evidence, the reason
why a lot of the food guides are very similar is because
every government does look at the entire body
of research that’s out there around the
world, and they all draw the same conclusions. So that’s why
they’re very similar. It’s not that some governments
have used this body of evidence and some governments have used
this one so there’s conflict. It is nice to see that
the same conclusions have been drawn from that evidence. CHRISTIE BENNETT:
Yeah, and I guess one of the key differences
between the food guides is the inclusion of
physical activity, which I like to see in places like
Japan with the spinning top. So that’s a really nice
addition to the food guides. MELISSA ADAMSKI:
And another addition there as well is
some food guides will touch on sustainability
and also the social aspects of eating as well– so
really not just focusing on nutrients but more around
food holistically as well. So it is good to see those come
through with some countries, and it will be great to see
them coming through over time as updates happen
with each country. CHRISTIE BENNETT:
I think it’s also important to note that the
food guides that we included in the course are
also often accompanied by a large body of
literature that is often a couple of hundred page report. So if you would like
more information, they are publicly available. MELISSA ADAMSKI: For example,
for the Australian one we do have that
available at the very end of the course in
our acknowledgments and our further-reading section. So you can read the
evidence-based document that does underpin our wheel there. So a lot of the time
those, as Christie said, those pictures that
you might see– could be a pyramid or a
wheel or a spinning top– they haven’t just been
drawn out of nothing. There is usually
a lot of research that goes in behind those. CHRISTIE BENNETT: And years
and years of evidence as well. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Exactly,
yes, huge amounts of research. Great. So now let’s get on,
Christie, to our learner comments and questions. So we’ve had a question from
one learner which probably came about because
of my new food that I tried last week
around Pulse Pasta, so the new Pulse Pasta. Have you tried that? CHRISTIE BENNETT: I have. MELISSA ADAMSKI:
What did you think? CHRISTIE BENNETT:
It’s interesting, yes. MELISSA ADAMSKI:
It certainly has a little bit of a different
texture, but quite tasty still. But the question was around are
gluten-free versions of bread and pasta as healthy in respect
to the fibre and probiotic content as their normal
wheat-based counterparts. So do you have any
comments on that? CHRISTIE BENNETT: Yeah, it’s
quite an insightful comment I must say. A lot of gluten-free
alternatives are lower in fibre, and that’s because
they don’t include the whole grain. So often when you see food
products that say gluten free, a lot of them are cakes and
biscuits and things like that. So just because
they’re gluten free doesn’t make them
any healthier– MELISSA ADAMSKI:
No, that’s right because they could be made from
a potato flour or a rice flour. When you think
about those foods, they’re very low in
fibre originally. So then by the time
they’re milled down and some components
might have been removed, they are a lower-fibre
alternative. CHRISTIE BENNETT: And also
noting that gluten free is not necessarily
healthier for everyone. Only if you have a gluten
intolerance or something like celiac disease
should you be looking at gluten-free alternatives. MELISSA ADAMSKI:
That’s exactly right. And then another question
here is, well, we’ve had a comment from
a learner who would like to know more about
food and menopause and then also food
and kidney stones. So if we start off with
food and menopause– and that ties into another
comment from a learner about why during
menopause do women tend to put on more
weight around their middle than they may have
when they were younger. So their body shape changes. So food and menopause, Christie? CHRISTIE BENNETT: OK, so to
start with food and menopause, I guess a good place
to start is body weight and trying to be as
active as possible and maintain the right energy
intake for your activity level. That will help with
symptom management. MELISSA ADAMSKI:
Because it can be a bit of a metabolic change– CHRISTIE BENNETT: It can be. MELISSA ADAMSKI:
–when we hit menopause where their metabolism does
lower slightly in women. CHRISTIE BENNETT:
And I’ll talk a bit about that when we talk about
the fat around the tummy. But in terms of foods, calcium
is really important during this time because oestrogen
can be a bone protector. So it’s really important to
maintain your calcium intake. Often when you talk
about food and menopause, phytoestrogens come up. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Certainly do. CHRISTIE BENNETT:
Yeah, and this is an area in the literature
that’s quite hotly debated, and the reason why
that is, is there is a lot of differing evidence
suggesting whether they do or don’t help people. The reason they think
that is is because the way that phytoestrogens
are metabolised is through the gut
microbiota, and we know that there’s a lot
of differences in the gut microbiota between people. So Mel and I will have very
different gut microbiota, and therefore our metabolism
and phytoestrogens will be really different. So they think that that
may be a reason why there’s such differing
evidence around phytoestrogens. And phytoestrogens are in
foods like tofu, soy products, and flaxseeds. MELISSA ADAMSKI:
Yeah, absolutely. And also when we
think about some of that weight around
the middle as well, it can be quite stubborn
weight, can’t it? And so thinking about your
intake of refined carbohydrates of foods that might raise your
fasting blood-sugar levels consistently, we want
to try and make sure that they’re not
constantly high so we can help stimulate or
prevent any weight gain. CHRISTIE BENNETT: So they think
that the reason why women often turn from what we say a
pear shape, so like this, to more of an apple shape
during menopause is threefold. Firstly, it’s because
of age, and we know as we age we are more
likely to put on weight. The second reason is that a
decrease in oestrogen may be responsible for the different
parts of our body where we store fat. So that difference in
the endocrine system may be responsible for
some of that fat deposition around the tummy. But we also, as you said,
Mel, have a decrease in our metabolic rate, which
is the amount of energy that kind of keeps us alive. So we have a decrease in
that during menopause. So that can contribute
to some weight gain, obviously, because that body
is not burning as much energy to start with. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Absolutely. And if you do find that
your body shape is changing a little bit, it is
a good idea sometimes to seek some
professional assistance because you do need to
go through some changes to some long-term habits, that
you might have been eating a certain way for a long time. So sometimes just a bit of a
touch base with a professional can just help you
keep on track there. And now to food
and kidney stones, which is an interesting one. So we do know that there are
a number of different types of kidney stones, so the first
thing that you need to do is to understand from your
GP what type of kidney stone because some of them
can be calcium based. Some can be based on uric
acid and things like that. So understanding
which ones you have is definitely a
good place to start. But basically, some overall
good dietary principles around the prevention
of kidney stones is, one, to stay
well hydrated, so making sure that you are
drinking sufficient fluids, especially from water, to make
sure that you’re helping keep that system hydrated there. Also avoiding too much salt,
that’s another good one there because we do know that
increased salt can encourage more calcium out
through the urine– so making sure that your salt
content of the diet is in check there. And a lot of people ask about
some calcium don’t they, Christie– CHRISTIE BENNETT: They Do. MELISSA ADAMSKI: –about
whether they should decrease their calcium or
not, and it’s not something that is recommended. A lower calcium intake
doesn’t necessarily show to prevent the
spread of kidney stones. However, once again
speaking with your doctor to understand the
type of kidney stone first is important
because to some people lowering your calcium intake,
if your calcium absorption is too high, might be
a strategy there. There’s also we should make
sure that we don’t have too much vitamin C in the diet too. So be careful of
any supplementation. It’s not saying to cut out any
veggies or fruits or anything like that, but just
watching out if you’re on vitamin-C supplements
to reduce those if you do have troubles
with kidney stones. So they’re just a
few tips there– oh, and also reducing any
high-oxalate foods as well. So a few tips there. But once again,
it’s a good example of where it’s complex stuff. Your recommendations
are complex. It’s not just a black and
white do this or do that. It always seems to
depend on something. CHRISTIE BENNETT: Yeah, it
depends on the individual. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Exactly. Exactly. And then finally a
question, Christie, we had about the MIND diet
just coming out of research from Chicago and Rush
University in Chicago. And that diet is being studied
to understand its effects on dementia and whether
it can potentially help prevent dementia
or reduce cognitive loss or function there. And it’s an
interesting question. So for any of you out
there who might not have heard of the
MIND diet, it is a cross between the
Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, which
was a diet developed to help reduce hypertension in America. And they both seem to have
relatively good amounts of research behind them,
but this research trial is specifically looking at
cognitive function and decline. So basically the
principles of it are quite healthy principles,
aren’t they, Christie? CHRISTIE BENNETT: So
higher vegetable intake. MELISSA ADAMSKI: So specifically
green, leafy vegetables there. CHRISTIE BENNETT: Lots of– [LAUGHTER] MELISSA ADAMSKI: Whole grains. Whole grains are
definitely a feature. And then berries– they’re
not just saying increase fruit but specifically berries. So there’s really high
antioxidants and really rich, colourful berries there. Nuts definitely feature, some
fish and some poultry as well. And also the fat to be
included is olive oil. CHRISTIE BENNETT: And reducing
the amount of red meat– MELISSA ADAMSKI: –cheese,
and processed foods and fried foods, which are
pretty standard in some of these recommendations. But just tweaking,
as you can see, the Mediterranean
and the DASH diet there to focus more on nutrients
that are involved in brain health and in mental health. So it will be interesting. I haven’t personally seen the
research that is coming out of that to see where it’s up
to, but the overall principles of it are still very healthy. CHRISTIE BENNETT: And the trial
is still running at the moment as far as I’m
aware, so we’ll have to keep an ear out
for any research that surfaces from that. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Absolutely. So that’s it from us for
week three for our video, so we hope that we’ve answered
a few of your questions and you found it interesting. Now it’s also coming
up to Halloween. In Australia we don’t celebrate
it as much as overseas, but we still get a little
bit excited about it. We just wanted to make
a comment about it to help encourage your kids
to get into the kitchen, and if you are preparing treats
or party foods and things for Halloween to think outside
the square a little bit and how you could
perhaps develop things with fruits and
vegetables or other foods rather than just going to
stock-standard chocolates and lollies and candy. So do you have any
ideas, Christie? CHRISTIE BENNETT: Yeah. I think we’re going to put
a link to the Pinterest page which you can see all the
visual representations of it. But some of them that
really looked great were using things like
strawberries as tongues– MELISSA ADAMSKI:
Yeah, that’s right. CHRISTIE BENNETT: –and having
a vegetable-man skeleton which was great. MELISSA ADAMSKI: And
one that I did last year was I did stuffed capsicums
for one of my friends and carved little scary
faces in the front of them, so just like a jack-o-lantern
but with capsicums– lots of ideas. So really think
outside the box, and it can be a good way to get kids
excited about different kinds of foods as well. All right, so as I
said, that’s it from us. Now we love to
hear your feedback, and so if you have
liked the course, it’s really great if you
want to leave a review or rate us on some of
the MOOC-rating sites because we always love to
hear from you what you liked about the course
because we always try and make sure that we’re
providing info that everyone likes to learn about. So please do recommend us
to your friends and family if they are interested
in food and nutrition. And the comments
will still be open. We’ll still be reading
your comments this week, so keep them coming
and keep chatting with your fellow learners. And if you have
purchased an upgrade or would like to
purchase an upgrade, that does give you
unlimited access to the course content
there, so you don’t have to a rush to finish the course. You will be able to access the
content for an unlimited time. So yeah, that’s it from us here. We’ve really enjoyed having
you along with us, and keep the comments and
discussion coming. CHRISTIE BENNETT:
Thanks so much. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Bye.

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