I first got to know about 10 Week Challenge about two years ago through behavioural nutritionist and 10 Week Challenge co-creator, Sara Evans. When I met Sara I was impressed by her depth of knowledge on nutrition and exercise, and her ability to turn this into practical advice. Over the past two years we have had many talks about aspects of nutrition and I strongly support the health philosophies of 10 Week Challenge.
By way of a background, I am a GP with a special interest in nutrition. I hold a Fellowship in nutrition (FACNEM), which is a medical specialist qualification.
Over the past 20 years I have been involved with, or researched, pretty much every type of diet or nutritional advice out there. It has been confusing for me to make sense of the endless information on nutrition, so I understand it is so difficult for people to know what advice to believe when it comes to food.
In the past 10 years there has been a significant shift in the international consensus on what is a healthy diet. This has come about through several massive research studies being completed and analysed. What has become clear from the collation of all research to date is:
- Fat is not the enemy we thought it was over the past 25 years
- Saturated fat is not causally linked to heart disease or cancer
- The only dietary macronutrients that have been proven without a doubt to be deleterious to human health are sugar and trans-fats
It is my experience in medicine that sometimes Doctors are one of the slowest groups to accept change. When it comes to nutrition, Doctors are further disadvantaged by being given the role of advisors, while having very little nutrition education unless they independently studied it after medical school.
Fortunately, there are Doctors and Nutritionists in NZ who are well qualified to offer nutritional advice. Thanks to the internet, people can also get good information from international experts.
For anyone interested in researching or checking things out for themselves, some expert sources I would recommend are:
- The Cochrane Library –an independent, International library of summaries on all sorts of health topics.
- Chris Kresser –a very smart American health advisor who has summarized the current thinking on a wide variety of health topics. (Chris was recently voted one to the top 30 most influential health practitioners worldwide)
- Professor Grant Schofield –a very approachable NZ medical specialist in Public Health, Grant works at AUT and has recently published a big, bright and easy to read book called ‘What the Fat’. Available online, this practical guide explains the new understanding of human nutrition as well as giving great recipes.
At the end of the day, no matter how much humans try to make better foods and advertising bombards us with nutrition claims, it is very clear that the best foods for us are those foods our cells evolved to eat. In other words, ‘old fashioned’ or REAL food from the soil, sky or sea.
Finally, listen to your body! If you change your diet and feel better, lose excess weight or have positive changes in you blood work, then something good is happening!
Dr Victoria Flight
MBChB, FRNZCGP, FACNEM