Full-fat milk and more eggs? HFG editor and dietitian, Brooke Delfino, unpacks the updated Heart Foundation guidelines.
Chances are you’ve heard something about the new eating advice from the Heart Foundation. Released mid-last week, the updated guidelines are a hot topic, especially given the nationwide confusion about what’s healthy and what’s not.
So, what’s the latest?
To start with, the advice is based on a two-year review. This is the thing about nutrition – guidelines take time to be updated because they can’t be based on just one or two studies. As more and more research is done, we learn more, and the latest guidelines reflect that.
For ease, let’s break the new guidelines into three main points.
Full-fat dairy foods, like milk, yoghurt and cheese, are back on the menu as part of a healthy diet.
That doesn’t mean reduced-fat products are bad for us, so if you prefer skim or low-fat varieties, there’s no need to make any changes, unless you want to. It also doesn’t mean that full-fat products are ‘healthier’. The latest evidence shows that full-fat dairy foods have a neutral effect on heart disease risk – which means it doesn’t increase or decrease your risks for heart disease and stroke.
For people already with heart disease or high cholesterol, reduced-fat dairy products are still recommended.
Eat less meat, and more plant proteins.
This one isn’t exactly new, as many Australians are already reducing their meat intake, but the latest evidence indicates red meat increases heart disease and stroke risk, and may lead to weight gain.
The Heart Foundation has introduced a limit of 350g a week of unprocessed beef, lamb, pork and veal. That equates to roughly 1-3 lean red meat meals a week.
The Heart Foundation suggests we should eat more heart-healthy plant protein foods, such as beans, lentils and tofu, as well as fish and seafood.
Eggs are a nutritious addition to our diets.
The humble egg has copped plenty of criticism (and confusion) over recent years. The limit on egg consumption has been removed for healthy Australians, so enjoy them daily if you wish.
For people with diabetes or high cholesterol, it’s recommended to limit egg intake to no more than seven eggs a week.
Pick up the September issue of Healthy Food Guide magazine– on sale now – for more expert nutrition advice, delicious recipes and shopping tips.
Source: Heart Foundation Dietary Position Statement – Heart Healthy Eating Patterns, 2019.