The new Dietary Guidelines: know your serve sizes
The new Australian Dietary Guidelines were launched this week by the National Health and Medical Research Council. It is good to see that the Guidelines continue to encourage Australians to eat a variety of grain foods and legumes as part of a healthy diet. But serve sizes and the number of serves recommended per day have changed which may create confusion. With people already choosing core grain foods less often, it’s vital health care professionals and others understand the changes.
- Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from these five groups every day
- Plenty of vegetables, including different types and colours, and legumes/bean
- Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties, such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and barley
- Lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/bean
- Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives, mostly reduced fat (reduced fat milks are not suitable for children under the age of 2 years).
One significant change from the previous Guidelines is the change in recommendation for grain foods from ‘preferably wholegrain’ to ‘mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties’. This is based on the evidence that eating both whole grain and grain foods high in cereal fibre is linked to reduced risk of chronic disease and weight gain (2). Surveys conducted for GLNC indicate that Australians are not eating ‘mostly’ whole grain and high fibre grain foods but only choosing these foods a third of the time. To help get the message across, public health campaigns are needed to encourage these foods as well as work by the food industry to provide tasty options.
Whole grain foods vary in the amount of whole grain they contain. To choose foods higher in whole grain check the ingredient list and choose foods with the higher whole grain percentage. GLNC is working towards a whole grain claim on pack that will make it easier to choose foods with more whole grain. We hope to launch this by mid 2013 so look out for it on food labels early in 2014.
Australian Guide to Healthy Eating
The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating is what most people would think of as ‘the plate’ (or in some countries, the pyramid). It translates the Dietary Guidelines into a simple how-to guide with recommendations for the number of serves of each food group the ‘average’ person should eat depending on their age and gender.
Recommended serve sizes for grains and legumes
- 1 slice of bread, ½ medium roll or flatbread
- ½ cup cooked rice, pasta or noodles
- ½ cup cooked porridge, polenta, 2/3 cup wheat flake cereal, ¼ cup muesli
- 3 crispbreads
- 1 crumpet, English muffin or scone
- ½ cup cooked barley, buckwheat, semolina or quinoa
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ cup cooked or canned legumes, when eating as a side dish with other vegetables
- 1 cup (150g) cooked or canned legumes, when eating as an alternative to meat
- 170g of tofu
1. Australian Dietary Guidelines and Australian Guide to Healthy Eating 2012.
2. National Health and Medical Research Council. A review of the evidence to address targeted questions to inform the revision of the Australian Dietary Guidelines. 2011, Commonwealth of Australia: Canberra
3. Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council. Lifting the Lid on Legumes: a guide to the benefits of legumes
4. Project Go Grain, Colmar Brunton 2011 (Unpublished, data available on request)