Aussie diets fail the test, CSIRO

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 12th August 2015

DietAustralian diets are not making the grade with an addiction to junk food largely to blame, according to findings from the CSIRO Healthy Diet Score Survey.

The country’s diet quality was given a rating of 61 on a 100-point scale when assessed using the CSIRO Healthy Diet Score – a scientifically validated survey which assesses people’s diet quality against the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

Discretionary food, or junk food, intake was found to be three-times higher than the recommended daily limit.

Based on the survey results, Australians eat the equivalent of 32kg of chocolate each year.

More than 40,000 people took part in the survey, which evaluated a person’s diet based on variety, frequency and quantity of the essential food groups as well as individual attributes such as age and gender.

According to Professor Manny Noakes, CSIRO Research Director for Nutrition and Health and the co-author of the ‘CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet’, the results were concerning.

“The scores were fairly unflattering across all respondents,” Professor Noakes said. “If we were handing out report cards for diet quality – Australia would only get a C.

“While many people scored highly in categories such as water intake and the variety of foods consumed, there is certainly lots of room for improvement in other areas.”

Discretionary or junk foods are foods and drinks that are high in sugar, saturated fats and/or alcohol and low in essential nutrients.

Of the survey responders, the average score received for the discretionary foods category was only 37/100.

“What we’re finding is people are having larger portions of junk food, more often,” Professor Noakes said.”This type of food is no longer just an indulgence, its become mainstream and Australians are eating it each and every day.”

“In order to improve your diet quality, people need to cut back on the consumption of junk food, and start to focus on eating smaller portion,” said CSIRO Professor Noakes. “They also need to be more mindful of every bite they take by eating more slowly and consciously.”