Food As Medicine: Feedback with Melissa – Week 2 – Nov 2019


MELISSA ADAMSKI: Hi everyone
and welcome to our week two feedback video
for “Food as Medicine”. It’s great to see
everyone jumping into the content for week two, and really enjoying
our body systems approach to food as medicine. The first thing I would like to
say though is thanks for all your feedback
from the week one feedback video. It’s great it was useful
for a lot of you. And it’s also really great
to see everyone starting to increase the variety
of foods that they’re eating throughout the week. And giving each other examples
of what they’re doing, what they’re changing,
and what they’re trying. So keep giving your examples
of new foods that you’re trying and helping each other out
with ideas around how to prepare those new
foods or how to eat them. And one thing I’d like to ask
you is to also give me some ideas for the new
food that I mentioned I was trying last week
which is buckwheat. I must admit I didn’t get
around to doing anything with it, but I’ve had a couple
of suggestions from colleagues here at Monash
to try it in perhaps some pancakes. So do a nice brunch on the
weekend with some buckwheat pancakes, or also use it as an ingredient
for a porridge. Which here in Melbourne,
the weather’s gone quite cool. Which is ironic, considering we’re coming
into summer here in Australia, so porridge is still I think
an OK breakfast choice to have at the moment in Melbourne. But if you’ve got any ideas
about how you use buckwheat, I’d love to hear them, so pop them in the discussion
groups so I can see them. And don’t forget
to tag me as well. So moving on to the content
for week two, what I’m really liking is people
learning a lot of information. I’m really calling that out
and saying wow you know this is new what I’m learning. And I’m seeing a lot of it
especially in the topic of food in the gut, with people learning
about carbohydrates; the different sorts
of carbohydrates out there and their role in the body. Especially in terms
of prebiotics and how that’s important for our gut health. Because we know or many
of you have probably experienced as well
that carbohydrates have had a bad rap over
the last few years, decades et cetra. And a lot of that comes
from the refined carbohydrates that are
prominent throughout our diets especially a Western
style diet from a lot of really processed or ultra
processed foods that are out there. And so think about examples
such as rice that has been ultra processed to like rice
crackers or potatoes that have been processed into chips, or flour milled into you know
white bread or white fluffy rolls et cetera, where a lot of the whole
grain has been taken out. It’s been milled and so
the body digests it very very quickly and we get
a corresponding spike in blood sugar levels. And over a prolonged period
of time that can lead to the potential to develop
chronic disease, such as insulin resistance
or type 2 diabetes. So that real refined
carbohydrates where there can be issues with effects
on health. But what we’re talking about
with food in the gut is learning about how a lot
of sort of more unprocessed carbohydrate containing foods
or high fibre foods can really help promote got health, and how they’re food
for the healthy bacteria in our gut. So it’s great to see
you all learning that information and really
enjoying it. And also teasing out
the differences between the terms probiotics
and probiotics there as well. And if you haven’t had a look at
that don’t forget to go back to beginning of week
1 and have a look at the differences between those
two terms. So food in the gut is one area. We’ve also got the food
and pregnancy which is an area that usually
surprises a lot of people. You know why we included
it in food as medicine? And why we’ve included
it because we’re learning so much about how our
environment especially how a diet actually affects
our health. And when I say health, I mean not just the health
of children but also the health as — our sorry —
our health as adults as well. And that’s because what
we now know, is that the first thousand
days from conception to around the age two
or three are absolutely essential to have
good nutrition for. So even preconception
is also essential because areas of science such
as epigenetics are teaching us more about how our diet
actually affects our health growing up and also
throughout adulthood. And how our mothers and our
grandmothers health and our father’s health
and environment can actually affect our
predisposition to developing chronic disease later in life. Which is a huge area of new
knowledge that we’ve gained over the last few
years in terms of genomics and epigenetics as well. So that’s why we’ve included
nutrition and pregnancy and also food and the genome to start
to really bring in some of these cutting edge areas
of nutrition so you can start to make changes,
no matter what your life — stage of life is, to help you be
at your best. So that’s why we have done
food fertility and pregnancy just because of
all that we’re learning around that first
thousand days and how important good nutrition is. Now onto a couple
of learner questions. We’ve had some great questions
throughout the week, and it’s really good to see
a lot of you jumping in and answering some
of the questions that your fellow peers
and fellow learners have have asked. And I’m reading all
of them and really getting to know the community.
And it’s great to see. But a couple of questions
that I will answer that have been throughout the week. So one was around
one size fits all, and there was a great comment
by a learner around how they were hoping that one
size fits all dietary recommendations may
soon disappear. And I have to say I understand
where you’re coming from, as genetics and genomics
is my area of specialty in regards to nutrition. It’s a very
individualised approach. And we do know that everyone
is different and you will have learnt
that from the food in our genome section. And one point that this learner
brought up is that it can get confusing
when, in the news, hearing that one day one
nutrient is said to be good in the next day the news
reports that another study has said that it’s bad.
And what’s really — And they use the example
I believe it was caffeine. And what’s really interesting, is that there has been some
research done around the metabolism of coffee and how
we all metabolise caffeine in coffee,
or other products, we actually metabolise
that differently depending on our genetics. And so for some people
with certain genetics they’re termed fast
metabolisers and others slow metabolisers. And so the caffeine
actually affects them differently. So if we think about doing
a whole research study on say consuming coffee
and whether it has any health benefits, what needs to be looked
at within that study population group is genetics, to understand did we know
accidentally get a whole lot of fast metabolisers in there? Or a whole lot of slow
metabolisers that might actually affect the overall
outcome of that coffee — or caffeine may have
on health and also the interpretation of those
study results. So that’s just one example,
I feel, of how maybe some of the
confusion is arising or just one of the factors
in regards to research and so something to bear in mind
is that we are all individuals, we do have different genetics, and that can affect
the way that we process or metabolise nutrients. But it’s also a very cutting
edge and early area of science, and there’s still
so much more we need to learn about it before we can
implement it as a regular — or routine area
of nutrition practice. There was also a really
great discussion thread happening around the topic
of alcohol. And whether it was healthy
or not. And someone tagged me
and alerted me to this thread because it was back in week one
that I thought I’d address it even in the wake to feedback
video because it is
an interesting question: is alcohol healthy or not? There’s a you know there’s
a lot of research to obviously show
that it is a toxin to the body and it does
have adverse health effects. But then there are also
studies out there that look at a more population based
approach that potentially suggests that certain
sorts of alcohol may fit into a healthy diet. You know think of the
Mediterranean diet. Red wine is listed in those
dietary guidelines. That when it’s consumed
in in small amounts or in moderation,
with food, it might form part of a healthy
dietary pattern there. And we know that red wine
does contain certain nutrients or antioxidants
that may be beneficial for health. But a couple of things
I’d like to say before we move on from that. So one:
a lot of those nutrient — those antioxidants
or phytochemicals can be found in other foods, you don’t have to start
drinking red wine to get those health benefits. But also when we look at
population groups that include alcohol,
such as red wine on a — regularly in the diet,
they consume it with food. They consume it with people,
with friends and with family. And so it is a whole
experience that comes — potentially brings
all that together, that may promote
that health benefit. It’s not necessarily
the red wine itself. So that’s something to consider
as well that food needs to be very social
or should be a very social thing and that perhaps some
time some of those health benefits might be seen
from the overall dietary approach. And that also includes we eat
the food, not just the nutrients
that are in the food. And that’s what I’ve said
in some of my comments or other discussions around it. Food is not just
about nutrition. It’s about how we eat
it and other considerations like that.
So think about that. I believe and this is something
that I haven’t gone back to look up that I feel
over the last few years, I have seen a graph somewhere
that does suggest that a small amount of alcohol — or people who drink a small
amount of alcohol do have better health outcomes. And it’s sort of like
a bell curve between abstainers
and excessive — people who drink excessive
amounts of alcohol. But I can’t really recall
exactly what research that was but some people
were alluding to that and I feel like I’ve
read something as well. But please remember just all
of a sudden drinking is not going to improve your health. We need to think
of it in the context of the entire dietary pattern. How you eat and how much and the
type of alcohol as well. And the other foods
that you’re eating. So just like anything just all
of a sudden picking up a superfood and plunking
it down into a diet is not necessarily going to have
magical or miracle health benefits and that includes
red wine and alcohol too. So if you don’t drink alcohol
there is no recommendation for you to all
of a sudden take it up. But once again it was
a great discussion that you were all having. And we really encourage
those nice debates and those respectful debates
coming through because that’s where we all learn information. And then finally a question
around calcium. So good sources of calcium. I did put some resources
in one of my comments back to this question but I just
wanted to touch on one thing to always remember when we’re
talking about good sources of nutrients
in a food is we also must think about how we eat the food, or the context of usually
how much we eat. So one example was given
that sesame seeds a good source or a rich source
of calcium and they are a good source
especially you know having tahini, that is a source
of calcium. But if we think about
sesame seeds themselves we don’t actually eat that many
when we eat sesame seeds. Per hundred grams, they might look like they’re
a good source but when you think about how
much you have it might be a sprinkle of sesame seeds
you know over a dish or something like that we don’t
necessarily eat them by the hundred gram
or cup load of them. So when we think about rich
sources also think about how much you eat at any one time, and that will help guide you as
to whether it is a good source overall. And that’s usually why dairy
is suggested to be an easy source for a lot of people
to get calcium is because we usually
consume it in an amount that gives us a good hit
of calcium at any one time. So the same as sort of green
leafy vegetables you’d need to eat a lot of them
to get a good hit of calcium. So if you’re doing
that that’s great. But just remember to think
about those serve sizes or those portion sizes along
with whether it’s a rich source per hundred grams of the food.
So that’s it for me for today. I’m hoping you’re
enjoying the course. We certainly enjoy putting
the course on for everyone. Continue all your discussions
and if you’ve got any questions that you’d
like answered for our final week feedback videos,
at the end of week three. Just let me know and I look
forward to seeing more discussions happening.
Great. Thanks everyone.

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