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Food As Medicine: Feedback with Melissa – Week 1 – July 2019

January 6, 2020


MELISSA ADAMSKI: Hi
everyone, and welcome to our feedback video for
week 1 of Food as Medicine. I’m Melissa, your
course mentor, and it’s great to see everyone
jumping in and starting to discuss the exciting
information that we have around Food as
Medicine in week 1. So we’ve got a lot of
engagement going on, with thousands of learners
from across the globe, so keep those
discussions coming. And what I really like
to see is the discussions across culture as well,
with people using examples from their own selves
and their own cultures. And it’s really
good to see everyone learning what other people
are doing around the world. So keep that discussion coming. So let’s start off by talking
a little bit about food as medicine, and why
evidence is important. So that’s one of the
sections in the course. And there’s certainly been
a lot of great discussion, and sometimes a little bit of
debate going on between you learners around whether
this is important or not. And I guess one point that I’d
like to make about this topic is that, while it is important
to know what works for you– and a lot of us know, from
an individual perspective, when we eat certain foods,
what feels more right for us and what doesn’t– when we’re actually
talking to other people or we’re giving recommendations
out as healthcare professionals to other people, we need
to take that individuality into account. And so we can’t necessarily
say, just because something works for one
person, that it then is going to work
for everyone else, because in fact it might not. So that’s why it is
really important for us to have evidence, to do
research, and collate the results so we can give out
good recommendations to a wider population group or
the wider community, and most likely have
those recommendations have a good effect for
health, I guess. So when you’re having
those discussions, have a think about that
personalised or internal what works for you, versus,
I guess, the wider community. Because that might help just
in your language a little bit. Because a lot of the
time we see people say, oh, this works for
me, therefore, I think you should do this, when
in fact it might not quite be right. So that’s why, as
healthcare professionals, we do need to follow
evidence, because we need to try and make
sure that what we say is going to work
for everyone else. And one discussion
that’s been going on within this
space a little bit, is the one verse about
fat versus sugar, and the evidence for that. And it’s certainly a very
topical area at the moment, around should —
be eating more fat, after we’ve had 20 years
or so of low-fat messaging. And should we be
eating less sugar when we’ve had 20
years of messaging that sugar may not be that bad. Now, without getting
into that discussion too deeply, the point
that I do want to make is that we actually eat foods,
we don’t just eat nutrients. And so we do have to take
the whole food into account, and we can’t just distill a
food down to whether it’s just a fat or just sugar. And when we think about the
food industry responding to, I guess, the messages that are
out there regarding health, when we had the science messages
that say eating less fat was beneficial for our health,
the food industry responded, and we got a lot
of low-fat products that had a lot of
added sugar to it. Now we’re seeing the
message, eat less sugar, so we’re seeing a lot of
food products come out that have a lot less sugar
in them, but they have other macronutrients
added, such as high protein. So now we’re getting a
lot of high-protein foods and we’re eating
a lot of protein. And so the question
I’d like to leave you with to think about
is, what is that going to do for our health over the
next, say, 10, 20, or 30 years, when we’re having a lot of
process and refined protein added? We’re seeing the same patterns
happen across, say, the 30 or 40-year period as
certain macronutrients come into, I guess, popularity,
or become popular to eat. So that’s why getting
back to whole foods is such an important message
to be given out there, and to eat a big
variety of foods, and to not become too focused on
certain macronutrients as such. Because nutrition
science is very complex, food is very complex. Now, another section
of week 1 that people were very interested in is the
Voyage to Australia activity. So that is the document that
my grandfather provided me in regards to the medical list– sorry, the list of medical
comforts on one of the sailing ships that left the UK
bound for Hobart Town, which is now Hobart,
in Australia, back in the mid 1850s. And one of my ancestors
was actually on that ship. And it’s great to see
a lot of you discussing around what you think some
of those medical comforts were used for. And one of the big questions,
I guess, with these foods, were they there to actually
help treat or cure an illness, or were they there
to help somebody, I guess, feel better
while they’re ill? And that’s a very important
question or distinction that we need to think about when
we’re using food as medicine. Is it there more as a comfort
while the body is healing, or is it actually being
used for a purpose, to actually assist
with that healing or assist with that
treatment or cure? So for some of those
foods on there, they could be used for,
I guess, treatments. So the lime juice is
definitely a good one. It would have been used
to help prevent scurvy or help to treat scurvy if
anyone had developed it. But there are others
on there, such as– alcohol was one
that a lot of you were discussing, which
may have been there to help I guess somebody feel
better if they weren’t feeling so great, or perhaps
numb some pain if they’d had a bit of a wound
or an accident, or perhaps it was used
for some disinfectant or to help stop an
infection from happening. So something to think
about when you’re talking about food as medicine. And that’s why we’ve got
the activity in the course as well, about what foods do
you go for when you’re not feeling well. And a lot of the time
people are mentioning things like chicken soup or broths,
but then also some people are mentioning more
comfort-based foods, something like mac and cheese
or mashed potatoes, something a bit more comforty
and warming there. And the question
is, is that just because you’re not
feeling well and it helps you feel a little bit better? Now, a couple of
questions from learners. So starting off with one
around the food matrix– it’s a very interesting
concept, one that many learners haven’t necessarily heard
of or thought of before. And one of them
was about oats, so whether rolled oats were
better, or I guess healthier, than, say, quick oats. So we’ve seen, I
guess especially here in Australia, an explosion
on the market of quick oats, so sachets of oats
that do cook, I guess, a lot more quickly than
the typical rolled oats do. So you can just
pop them in, say, the microwave for a
few minutes, and you’ve got a nice, warm breakfast,
very, very quickly. Now when you think about
it, yes, that food matrix has been changed. Because that’s what makes
that cook a lot more quickly. And so we do need
to think about, do those oats have
the same health benefits as, say, rolled oats? And having a look at the
nutrition components of, say, the quick oats versus
the rolled outs, there’s a big variety
out there on the market. And while a lot of
quick oats, I guess, do have similar amounts of fibre
in them to, say, rolled oats, some of the sachets may have
actually added fibre to them. So I’ve seen ones out
there that have added, say, linseed or added oat fibre on
top of the actual oat itself. And then some of them also
have added sugar, added salt, and things like that as well. So they’re not necessarily
going to act exactly the same in the body as the
typical rolled oats that might be eaten plain,
without any additives, and that the body has to
work at harder to break down. But it really depends on I guess
how often you’re eating them and what you are
replacing them with. So if oats is something
that is replacing, say, a more unhealthy
breakfast, then they may be a better option. But obviously trying
to get the ones without any added
sugar, et cetera, would be important there, too. So when we think about, say,
carbohydrates and fibre, if a food has been sort of
milled down to be a lot less, I guess, fibrous– so you think about
a whole grain, and the body having to
work to break that down, versus, say, a milled grain
like a wholemeal flour, well, a lot of
the same nutrients might be in that flour. The body will process
that very differently, because it’s a lot
easier to digest. And so a lot of
the energy may be released into the
bloodstream a lot more quickly, which will
have a different effect to our health than, say,
a fibrous grain, which takes the body a long time
to break down because it’s in its whole form there. So it is a very interesting
concept, the food matrix, and a very complex one. Because I guess you
can say two foods may have the exact
same nutrients in them, but do they have the
same effect on the body, just because they are
in a different form? That’s a really
important question. So always something
to think about there, and why we always try
and go to whole foods rather than processed foods. Now, the last thing I
wanted to talk about was the superfoods activity. Because it’s great
to see, once again, a lot of discussion happening
around what superfoods are, which foods are
super, which ones are not, and what the term
actually means. It’s great to see
some people having identified the fact
that superfoods is more of a marketing term. And the activity
that we got to do was to list some foods that
you thought were superfoods out of a list that we’d given you. And we had actually been
a little bit sneaky, because the list
of foods there was a list of foods that have
all, in some way or another, been called superfoods at
some time, in, say, the media, or on packaging, or
something like that. So they are all super, in terms
of they’re all very nutritious, they’ve all got great
nutrient properties to them, and are all very healthy. But it is very interesting to
see that there are some foods that many people think are
more super than others. So we’ve run this
activity, now, every time that we’ve run this course. And this is round 10, so we’ve
run this course 10 times. And do you know that
blueberries have come out as the number one
superfood every time we’ve run the course. They’ve been voted number one. And we’ve got to think why
that is, because yoghurt, on the other hand,
has always come last, and has always been
listed as the least food to be thought of as a superfood. When actually, both foods,
while very different, with very different
nutrient properties, are very nutritious
in their own right. Now I know you’re
all sort of thinking. Before we get into the
yoghurt debate around whether we should be eating
dairy foods or not, let’s park that aside for one second,
because, yes, some people can’t tolerate lactose, or
choose not to eat dairy foods, and that’s absolutely fine. But if we look at yoghurt
as an actual food in itself, it has a lot of vitamins
and minerals in it, it’s got a good
amount of protein and it’s a very low-GI
carbohydrate as well, and it doesn’t have
added sugar in it. It’s got small amounts of
fats, which researchers suggested that
doesn’t, contribute to weight gain, et cetera. And it’s also a
fermented food as well. And so we’re learning more about
the benefits of fermented foods for the body, too. So it, in itself,
could potentially be classified as a superfood. But it’s all in our, I
guess, the influences of what we see on packaging
and see through the media as to what prompts us to think
whether a food is super or not. It’s more of a marketing term. There’s no defined term in
the scientific literature about what a superfood is. So just next time
you’re at the shops and you’re wondering which
foods to buy, which ones to try, if you’re picking up
a food because it’s got the word, superfood,
on it, you might just want to stop and think
about that, and think, do I actually like the food? Why is it being
considered super? And is there an alternative
that might be just as healthy that perhaps might be
a little bit cheaper or that your family
might enjoy more? So we’re not necessarily
saying, don’t eat foods that are termed
super, but they’re not just the only healthy
foods that are out there. Right, well, that’s
it for me today. This is the end of
the week 1 video. And it’s been great to
read all your comments, and I look forward to
continue reading them. And if you do have any questions
you’d like me to talk about in week 2, then
just pop them down and I will try and get to them. Great, thanks, everyone.

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