Feedback with Melissa and Christie – Week 2 – Mar 2019 – Food as Medicine

Hello, everyone. Welcome to Week 2 of
“Food is Medicine.” We’re in our weekly
feedback video today. My name’s Christie, and I’m
one of the course mentors. And I have with me– MELISSA ADAMSKI: Mel,
your other course mentor. You might have seen me pop up
in the discussion forums having a chat with some of you. CHRISTIE BENNETT:
Yeah, so today we’re just going to discuss some of
the major topics of discussion that have come up
in the comments, or questions from our learners. MELISSA ADAMSKI:
Absolutely, because there’s been some great discussion
happening, and a lot of questions going around. CHRISTIE BENNETT: Which is
fantastic, and keep that going. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Definitely. So what’s first up? CHRISTIE BENNETT:
So I think first up, one of the things that
came up in discussions was food addiction. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Yes,
we’ve asked learners to comment on if they think
food addiction, essentially, is a thing. And if you do think it is a
thing, then what do you think contributes to that? CHRISTIE BENNETT: And there was
some really mixed discussions that were going on,
which was great. So we were seeing two
sides of the story. So some people thought
food addiction definitely was a thing. And other people
thought it wasn’t. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Absolutely,
and as the article suggests, there’s also that
school of thought around is it a
behavioural addiction, or is it more of a
substance addiction? And I guess that
comes down to having to think about, potentially,
some of the components of foods that may or may not be
playing a role in this thing that we’re calling
food addiction as such. But one of the things that we
wanted to point out to learners is to be very careful
with the terminology when we’re discussing food
addiction because sometimes we can say things really strong
like, oh, yes, everyone’s addicted. Or I see people that
are addicted, et cetera. But we must be mindful
and considerate about how those people might be feeling
if they do essentially have some disordered eating. Because it’s very
complex, isn’t it? How we eat. CHRISTIE BENNETT: Absolutely. And I think addiction in itself,
the term, is quite loaded. So just being very mindful of
that when we’re discussing it with people who potentially
don’t have the course content that you’ve been provided with. MELISSA ADAMSKI:
Absolutely, and also when we’re thinking about
potential influences around food addiction too,
remembering that it’s not black and white either. So I don’t think we can say
sugar is the cause of all food addiction. Or fat, or salt.
Yes, I think foods that are highly processed, that
may have a significant amount of these nutrients added to
them, they can be quite easy foods to consume. CHRISTIE BENNETT:
Highly palatable. MELISSA ADAMSKI:
Highly palatable. But it is a very
complex relationship between the foods we eat, our
brain, and our gut as well. And so we just mustn’t make
those oversimplified statements because it’s not helpful
for a lot of people. CHRISTIE BENNETT:
No, and I think also considering food in the context
that it’s within a lifestyle and within a broader
context of a society. So if someone does feel that
they’re addicted to food, not putting that
onus on them as well. So within an ecosystem,
of different influences. MELISSA ADAMSKI:
Absolutely, but it’s great to see you
all discussing it because it is
certainly, especially the Western population,
an important topic to consider because
we are seeing a rise in chronic diseases,
and a rise in general weight across the population. And so it is
something to consider. Are we addicted to food? CHRISTIE BENNETT: And this is
why research into this area is so important. So I think we’ll keep
an eye out for that. The second point of discussion
that was in the MOOC this week was food and the gut. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Yes, very
popular topic discussion. And a lot of people
really interested, especially around talking
about carbohydrates. CHRISTIE BENNETT: That’s right. So there was some
learner comments about not knowing that
there are different types of carbohydrates, which
is really interesting. So I think we talk about simple
and complex carbohydrates, and potentially what influence
that has on our microbiome. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Definitely. And it does come as a
surprise to a lot of people because when we do
look to the media and to a lot of
information online, the term carbohydrates just
gets thrown around a lot. And they do get
vilified as being the root of a lot about
health problems at the moment. But while not going to go into
that side of things right now, it is important to
understand that there are many different
types of carbohydrates. They come in many
different forms. There across many different
foods in differing amounts. And so depending
on your lifestyle, your medical history,
or what conditions you may have or may
be at risk of getting, your dietary patterns, et cetera
will all determine whether– I guess we can say certain
carbohydrates are right for you or maybe not so great. CHRISTIE BENNETT: And
another discussion was probiotics and probiotics. MELISSA ADAMSKI: A lot of
questions from you all. CHRISTIE BENNETT: Yes, so
there was that realisation that even though we
have gut bacteria, we also need to that gut
bacteria with something. And they come back to our fibres
and our fermentable fibres. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Definitely,
the prebiotics there. That’s something that
a lot of learners were mentioning that they
hadn’t heard that term before, or a little bit
confused that they thought gas was potentially
a bit of a bad thing. But as we now know
from the course content is that it’s very
normal for people and is a sign of a
healthy microbiome, with your bugs working way. But it’s understanding
where that fine line is between whether it’s a healthy
amount of gas versus when it starts to tip over
to things like IBS or perhaps being a symptom
of something more sinister. CHRISTIE BENNETT: Yeah,
and when to seek help. MELISSA ADAMSKI:
Yeah, definitely. And going on from those
questions about probiotics, Christie, there were some
more specific questions around antibiotics
and probiotics. And whether should we
be taking probiotics after a course of
antibiotics, and what if you’re on a chronic or
long-term antibiotics, what should you do? And it’s a complex one. I know the microbiome is an
interest of yours in research. CHRISTIE BENNETT: It is. So I think at this
point in time, the research is really in
its infancy around this. We’re only really
scratching the surface of what the microbiome is
and how it actually works. So we couldn’t have some
really strict recommendations as to whether you’re
on antibiotics you need to take a
certain type of probiotic. Those kind of
recommendations don’t exist because the literature
is not quite there yet. MELISSA ADAMSKI: And it’s
also that there’s not just one kind of probiotics. You go to your local
pharmacy, and there’s a whole range of
different strains, of different
combinations of strains. And so that’s where that
complexity comes from. If you’re wondering why
is it so hard for you as dietitians to say, why I
should have a probiotic. It makes sense. It does make sense. You’re killing off
all your bacteria. You want to try and replace
it with some healthy ones. But what we don’t
know exactly are which strains are
appropriate for, say, which perhaps types
of conditions, or which antibiotics, or
say IBS, or irritable bowel disease, or whatever. Which strains, in
how much, and to help with which types of symptoms
with diarrhoea, or gas, or constipation. That’s where the complexity
of the questions comes from. CHRISTIE BENNETT: And I think we
need to think of our microbiome as an ecosystem. So there are so many different
types of flora there. Think of it as a rainforest. Think about all
the different types of plants and different
growths, like moss and things that grow in a rainforest. You can’t just wipe
out the rainforest and replace only the
certain type of tree. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Which is
sort of what you’re doing when you’re taking a probiotic. CHRISTIE BENNETT:
You’re doing it when you’re taking a
probiotic because you’re only taking one strain of bacteria. So thinking about
it in that sense and building up your own
healthy microbiome with those prebiotics. MELISSA ADAMSKI:
And also remembering that we each have a
different microbiome, or a natural microbiome. So yours will be
different to mine. And it can be influenced from
birth and the type of birth that you’ve had. And so if we’re
all then starting to take the one or
the same probiotic, or the same combination
of probiotics, then we’re essentially
then trying to populate a microbiome that
may or may not be right for us. And it might take longer for
our natural flora to come back. So we’re not saying
don’t have probiotics after your antibiotics. If your health care professional
has recommended them, then absolutely. Because it’s sort of it’s the
best we’ve got at the moment though, isn’t it? But let’s keep
watching this space, and hopefully the research
will continue to develop there. And also, probiotic foods. They’re very healthy too. But we also must
remember with them to make sure that they have
survived the processing. So some sorts of
sauerkraut, for example, if they’ve been heat
treated, and they’ve been put on the
supermarket shelf, they’re not going to have
any probiotics there. So it is understanding how
the food has being prepared. Has it been prepared
safely so there’s not any nasty bugs in there as well? And then taking it. All good, important points. And then we had one
more question, Christie, about coconut. Yes, and around, They’ve
been– is it healthy? Some people have
concerns and that they’ve been taking coconut oil or
eating a lot more coconut because they think it’s healthy. And should they be doing this? Have you seen
anything in practise? CHRISTIE BENNETT:
Yes, so I get this– MELISSA ADAMSKI: I know I have. CHRISTIE BENNETT: I get
this question quite a lot in practise. And I think all dietitians
do because coconut oil is such a hot topic at the moment. And I think what I
say to my patients is, coconut and coconut
oil are very different. MELISSA ADAMSKI: And
when we say coconut, we’re meaning the whole coconut. Like the flesh. Yes. CHRISTIE BENNETT:
So when we look at traditional foods of,
say, the Pacific Islanders, there’s quite a high proportion
of coconut in that diet. MELISSA ADAMSKI:
Could be coconut milk, the coconut flesh,
the whole range. CHRISTIE BENNETT: Lots
of different products that come from the coconut. So thinking about
their traditional diet, they’ve also got lots of
fresh fruit and vegetables that go along with it. So we’re talking about
a dietary pattern then. Not necessarily one
food or processed food. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Exactly. When you think about
how a lot of Westerners, or people who follow a
Western-style diet, take it, a lot of the time we continue
along with our normal diet, and then scoop in the
coconut oil into– CHRISTIE BENNETT:
Coffee or whatever. MELISSA ADAMSKI:
Coffee or porridge. Things like that, where
that’s not necessarily going to confer a whole
lot of health benefits. CHRISTIE BENNETT: Yeah,
and the research around saturated fat suggests that
high saturated fat diets are associated with
high cholesterol. However– MELISSA ADAMSKI: Aslo
inflammation too. CHRISTIE BENNETT:
And inflammation. However, we do acknowledge
that within saturated fat, there’s a spectrum
of saturated fats. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Different
ones, and they all have a differing effect. CHRISTIE BENNETT: Exactly. So a study on MCT
oil can’t necessarily be extrapolated to coconut oil. So if you are reading research
around saturated fats, just keep that in mind. MELISSA ADAMSKI: That’s right
because the MCTs are not a long chain fatty acid, they’re
a medium chain fatty acid, and they do get processed
differently in the body. And because coconut
oil sits right on the borderline of those
two kinds of fatty acids, there has been
suggestions that it takes on the properties of an MCT. But that’s not something
that’s necessarily that well understood
So keep following the advice of your
health care professional. I know in practise, I know
I’ve seen patients who have increased a lot of coconut oil,
and their cholesterol levels have gone up significantly. But we do acknowledge
that cholesterol is not the be all and end
all when it comes to health. It’s not the one and
only health marker. So it is doing a whole
assessment of a person. So that’s basically it from
the question side, Christie. But we’ve got one more
thing to talk about. And that’s the new foods,
which a lot of people have been mentioning the
new foods they’re trying, which is great. Because increasing variety
in the diet is something we can all do. So Christie, you’ve
got something today. CHRISTIE BENNETT: I
have got a hello melon, which is not something
I’ve tried or seen before. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Neither have
I. It’s a nice yellow colour. CHRISTIE BENNETT: It is
a nice yellow colour. So given the yellow colour,
we expect it to have some carotenoids in it. There is not a lot of research
on this type of melon, which I found out. So I think it’s quite a new
strain, which is interesting. But also it would be a source
of fibre and contribute to your fruit
intake for the day. That’s right, and if you
someone who starts to think, have a banana or an apple– a lot of the time,
that’s what we think. Trying these new sorts of
varieties that come out throughout the year, so
in different seasons, can really just help with a bit
of a boost to your diet there. MELISSA ADAMSKI: And I
have chosen a parsnip. I know a lot of you thinking,
why has she chosen a parsnip? When I was younger,
my mum used to try and make us eat parsnips in a
baked dinner here in Australia. And I used to like
all the other root vegetables except for parsnips. So I have avoided parsnips
ever since I was about five. And I think it’s time I revisit
the parsnip because they’ve got a good fibre content, some
vitamin C in them as well. And there’s a lot
of different things you could do with a parsnip too. So I’m going to give it a
go, and probably roast it up with something delicious. And maybe put it in
a roast veggie salad. See how we go. And then we’ve got one last one. Now, because a lot of
people ask about snacking, and we don’t necessarily
advocate snacking. It’s all about an
individual’s dietary pattern. But there are times when a
little snack is a good thing, and we obviously
recommend you have things like unprocessed
nuts and things like that. But we found these
in the supermarket here in Australia, which I
think you can get them overseas as well. And they’re just roasted– these ones are broad beans,
so just roasted legumes. So to really help increase
your fibre content. The great thing about the
brand that I have here is that it’s just a
tiny little bit of oil and a tiny little bit
of salt. Not enough– it’s still quite a
low salt or low sodium product, which is good. But they’ve also got a
good fibre content too, which is not what you usually
see in snack products, especially sometimes you get
legume chips or something where a lot of the fibre
has been taken out. And they’ve been
put into a mould into a chip shape or something. CHRISTIE BENNETT:
Very processed. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Very processed. Where these, just
the nuts– sorry, the legumes have been roasted. So I’m going to give those a go
and see if something like that could be an option, and maybe
you could make your own. Yeah, so there are our three
new foods for this week. So what are yours? They keep telling us what
they are, and don’t forget if, you’ve got Twitter, put
it on your Twitter account, and the hashtag #FLNewFoods so
everyone else can see it too. Well, that’s it for this
week, isn’t it, Christie? And we’ll be here to
join you next week. A quick update, we’ve decided
to cut open the hello melon and have a peek inside,
didn’t we, Christie? And as you can see, it’s quite
a white or cream coloured flesh. Not a bright yellow flesh
like the outside suggests. And we had a quick
taste and what do you think it tastes like? CHRISTIE BENNETT: Tastes
a lot like honeydew– MELISSA ADAMSKI:
I thought so too. CHRISTIE BENNETT:
But with a little bit of a tangier after taste. And the texture is quite a
lot like honeydew as well. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Yes,
so good amount of fibre. There it’s quite
a heavier flesh. And some good amounts of
vitamin C and vitamin A. So see you later. CHRISTIE BENNETT: See you. MELISSA ADAMSKI: Bye!


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