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Eating the Australian Way

Australians are often divided into the haves, and the have-nots. But they're not always talking about money. These days, it's often the haves (too much body fat), versus the have-nots (not overweight). We can't seem to make up our minds whether to eat at McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut, Krispy Kreme, Starbucks, and All-You-Can-Eat fast food restaurants, or whether to grab a protein snack, a freshly-squeezed fruit juice with wheatgrass and go straight to the gym. Women's Magazines have the same problem. A sample magazine from this month featured diet and exercise routines from three TV personalities and movie stars.

Yet the back section of the magazine featured recipes such as luscious mocha fudge cake. The incidence of obesity in Australia rose dramatically in the 90s - 80% for women. And over 20% of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. Our eating habits are often unbalanced. Yet a trip to the local beach shows a large number of exceedingly fit bodies, often accompanied by personal trainers.

Perhaps the rebellion has begun. Australian authors are now responsible for several internationally-known health and fitness books, such as the Sandra Cabot's Liver Cleansing Diet, the CSIRO WellBeing Diet, and Jennie Brand-Miller's New Glucose Revolution. So let's assume you've decided to improve your health and fitness, upped your intake of raw fruit and vegies (for Liver Cleansing), are monitoring your intake of white breads and potatoes (for Glucose Revolution), and planning a BBQ based around lean meat for dinner tonight (CSIRO diet). A November 2005 announcement from Jennie Brand-Miller is good news for the traditional Ocker image of throwing a shrimp on the barbie, while drinking a cold beer. Apparently moderate alcohol intake has been related to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease. The new study looked at the impact of beer, white wine and gin on a carbohydrate-based meal. The result was that the alcoholic drinks, in particular the white wine, helped to lower the glucose and insulin response after the meal. So if someone criticises you for that pre-dinner drink this summer, just say that you're making an effort to avoid diabetes. They may just buy you another drink for being so thoughtful. Cheers.


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