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  • How would you feel if I was to tell you

  • that nutrition science has come such a long way

  • that in my hand I have some pretty special pills.

  • Youre never going to have to eat again,

  • You won't be eating any meals,

  • all you need to do is take one of these pills

  • breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the rest of your life

  • and it's going to give you the perfect balance of protein,

  • carbohydrates, and fat.

  • It is going to give you the number of calories or kilojoules

  • that you need to stay at exactly the perfect weight for your body.

  • It's going to give you all of the antioxidants

  • and what we call phytochemicals

  • which just means plants nutrients, plant chemicals

  • that are good for us.

  • All in this amazing little pills.

  • Isn’t science amazing?

  • How would you feel?

  • (Booing)

  • Boo!” Yes. That's what I was hoping for.

  • I hope you are feeling, “God, that would be awful!"

  • "How disappointing!”

  • I hope there are some memories coming into your mind right now.

  • They certainly are in mine.

  • I remember my mom’s awesome lasagna

  • that she always used to make

  • when we’d used to appear as millions of people

  • and she had twenty mouths to feed

  • and she would whip up this lasagna.

  • I remember my grandmother used to make this extraordinary

  • gingerbread cake

  • that my mother could never replicate despite being the better cook.

  • I remember the pancakes that the grandmother of a family friend

  • always made us whenever us kids appeared at their house.

  • I remember being a teenager doing exchanges with a student in France

  • and we had bowls of hot chocolate with white bread

  • yes, white baguette with butter and jam

  • and we dipped it into our hot chocolates.

  • I remember the amazing paellas that we used to have as a family

  • in Spain on our family holidays.

  • The point is food is much much more than a bit of nutrients.

  • You’d be pleased to know that science is not nearly at this point.

  • Thank goodness,

  • because food is more than the nutrients that it contains.

  • Food is part of who we are.

  • Food is part of our culture.

  • It is part of our upbringing.

  • It’s part of how we negotiate and interact with each other.

  • Just think about, those of you in the room with a partner,

  • what did you do on your first dates?

  • I'm willing to bet that you went for dinner at some point.

  • What do we do when we're celebrating?

  • Apart from popping open the champagne, we probably have some celebratory cake

  • or we have some food.

  • What do we do at Christmas and New Year? What do we do at funerals?

  • Food is always involved.

  • I’ve traveled to some pretty remote places in the world

  • and it’s the same everywhere you go,

  • whether you're in the most modern urbanized city

  • or whether you're in some village in the middle of Africa somewhere;

  • people want to share food with you.

  • The sharing of food is the sense of friendship,

  • a sense of who we are as human beings.

  • And here's my concern,

  • is that ...

  • and I'm a Nutrition Scientist, I’ve devoted my career to the space;

  • my concern is that nutrition is destroying some of those things.

  • But here's the problem,

  • because we do have quite literally a big problem.

  • Here in Australia,

  • and unfortunately in most of the rest of the world,

  • certainly all of the developed world,

  • and, fastly catching us up, the developing world,

  • it is now the norm in Australia to be fat.

  • Now that's not an aesthetic problem.

  • I'm not here to talk about body image, that's a whole other talk.

  • But that problem coaches us in a whole number of chronic health diseases.

  • We know that diabetes is on the rise.

  • Type 2 diabetes is now the fastest-growing chronic disease in this country

  • and 280 of us are diagnosed every single day.

  • Every 12 minutes an Australian dies of cardiovascular disease.

  • Ladies, one in three of us will develop cancer

  • and guys, I'm sorry, one in two of you will develop cancer before you're 85.

  • Now, while much of that can't be prevented,

  • we do know that diet, and lifestyle

  • but diet is intricately involved in all of those chronic diseases.

  • If we were to change the way that we eat,

  • we could dramatically reduce those numbers;

  • we could dramatically reduce the early death that is in this country

  • and dramatically improve the quality of life

  • for so many people.

  • So, why is it that it’s so hard to do?

  • If you've ever tried to follow a diet,

  • isn’t that an awful word?

  • I hate calling myself a dietitian because that worddietis in there.

  • But diet really just means the way that we eat

  • and what we are eating.

  • It’s really hard to change the way that we do

  • and part of that is because of how ingrained the way that we eat is

  • in the way that we live today.

  • So, how youve been brought up to eat

  • will always have a dramatic influence on the way that youre eating today

  • and the way that your future children

  • and the next generation comes through.

  • But I also feel that part of the problem is the amount of confusion.

  • I was involved in a recent survey

  • where we asked people about how they felt about healthy eating

  • whether they were confused by it.

  • 87% of people said that they were completely confused

  • by what on earth is healthy eating.

  • That’s coming from some of the media sensationalism

  • that we have around this area.

  • And don’t get me wrong, I’m involved in the media

  • and I love that people are so passionate about this area,

  • but unfortunately, it ends up in some things being slightly skewed and bent

  • and what was the truth kind of gets bent out of all proportion.

  • So, let’s take butter as an example.

  • Did you see the Times magazine not so long ago

  • where it had "butter" in the front cover and said:

  • "There’s hope. The scientists have got it all wrong".

  • And suddenly my Facebook page and other people’s

  • were going crazy saying:

  • Yes! Burgers and bacon and everything are all back on the menu!”.

  • That wasn’t what the research showed at all.

  • The research actually showed that, hang on a minute,

  • if we replace saturated fat with a bunch of refined carbohydrates

  • we are in just as bad a state, possibly even worse.

  • That’s actually what the research showed.

  • Did the research say:

  • Hey, saturated fats are actually really good for us”?

  • No, they didn't.

  • It questions, yes, the relationship between

  • saturated fat and cardiovascular disease

  • but that’s one aspect of saturated fats in our body.

  • It certainly didn’t show us that, "Hey, eating saturated fat reduces your risk".

  • No, it didn’t say that, but that’s the media reporting.

  • So that’s just one example out of many that are showing us

  • how were actually causing more confusion.

  • So, let’s take a little trip back through my lifetime,

  • because essentially the thing that I want to remind you about

  • is that we haven’t really got fat until the last 50 or so years.

  • I’m not that old

  • but really is just those last few decades

  • that we are starting to have this really major problem.

  • So, here’s what I’ve seen happen.

  • When I was a teenager, mom and I first got interested in trying to diet,

  • became aware of my body and thinking,

  • “I've got to be skinnier".

  • Skinny equals beauty

  • unfortunately in this country and in the UK where I grew up.

  • And here’s what happened:

  • mom and I embarked on a whole bunch of diets.

  • We did the Cambridge diet,

  • which was all shakes and pills and so on.

  • We were both ill by about day 3 in bed,

  • so we decided: "Ok, maybe that’s not the way to go".

  • Then we tried something else called the Scarsdale diet,

  • that involved eating a dry piece of wholemeal toast

  • in the morning with an orange,

  • I ate that breakfast for I don’t know how many weeks.

  • I couldn’t do it today.

  • Tuna sandwiches I still struggle with

  • cause we had tuna sandwiches every lunchtime,

  • a piece a fruit, a low-fat yogurt, so on.

  • We tried everything

  • and finally we settled on the low-fat diet,

  • and of course that was the era of the low-fat way of eating.

  • I remember eating an entire French baguette

  • because it was fat free, so guess what?

  • In here, license to eat.

  • And that’s exactly what we see.

  • So, the low-fat era took off, and what happened?

  • Food companies responded to our need for low fat

  • by giving us a whole bunch of low-fat food.

  • Unfortunately, it was full of refined starch,

  • lots of added sugars, additives and preservatives,

  • and whatever else, flavors galore

  • to try and make the food taste even remotely good.

  • Psychologically, we all had that license to eat.

  • Oh, it’s fat free, therefore, calorie free,

  • I can eat as much as I like”.

  • That’s the way that we interpreted it

  • and we continued to get fatter.

  • So then, suddenly the finger of blame went:

  • Hang on a minute, weve got it all wrong,

  • it’s not fat, it’s carbs!

  • It’s carbs that are to blame.

  • Go back to eating lots of fat. Let’s focus on the carbs".

  • And that’s kinda where we are at the moment.

  • So, I went shopping, and normally

  • you’d expect a little shopping basket to be full of food.

  • Here there’s not very much food, but this is what people are eating.

  • So, now weve got a whole bunch of products here.

  • This one says "Raw protein".

  • So, we are fixated with the problem is carbs.

  • This is raw protein and in the ingredients

  • says it’s got brown rice syrup and brown rice protein.

  • How do you reckon they got it out of brown rice?

  • Yet this is called the raw bar.

  • Weve got "Think thin". Cookies and cream.

  • Weve got high-protein, low-carb bars in chocolate flavor.

  • You know what we want: our cake and eat it,

  • we really do.

  • And things that make it sound like:

  • Eat this and I’ll get you burning fat”.

  • All of those bars in here have more than a thousand kilojoules

  • but you know what we are scared of?

  • (Laughter)

  • God forbid you eat a banana.

  • It's carbs.

  • It’s going to go straight to the belly.

  • That’s the situation we are in.

  • Weve got cookie.

  • You know, we really wanna have the chocolate, the sugary,

  • the cakes, the biscuits, so weve got this kind of thing

  • "naturally good".

  • It’s free of pretty much everything.

  • But you know what’s in it?

  • Basically rice, butter and sugar.

  • Just happens to be gluten-free flour.

  • This is the situation we are in

  • where people are completely confused,

  • and the food industry keeps responding

  • by giving us more and more of what?

  • That's a basket, apart from my banana,

  • of processed food.

  • I live in Bondi, and I went into one of the local whole foods cafes,

  • it’s honestly called Whole Foods, that’s on its banner.

  • They serve these amazing green smoothies

  • and I asked for the green smoothie without the protein powder.

  • She looked and recognized who I was and said:

  • Why are you not having the protein powder?"

  • "Is this not a good protein powder? Should we have a better protein powder?”

  • And I said, “Because I don’t eat processed food,

  • or try not to eat too much of it".

  • and the dawning on her face was like, "Oh!"

  • I could see she had never considered

  • that this green pea protein powder was actually a processed food.

  • So, why is it that we are kind of recognizing

  • processed carbs are not all that good for us,

  • weve certainly recognized processed fat, trans fat

  • are not good for us,

  • but now were doing it with protein.

  • Were processing the life out of that

  • and thinking that’s going to be all our answers.

  • So when we look worldwide at the moment

  • weve got a number of different nutritional thinkings.

  • Weve got a very low-fat approach, that’s practically vegan,

  • from Doctor Dean Ornish over in the States.

  • He’s got lots of great research,