Pete’s Blog – Aug 2019 - ‘Eat Well’ – New nutritional advice from the National Heart Foundation

This month I wanted to share with you a new set of eating guidelines which has just been released by the National Heart Foundation. These new guidelines are based on a review of the most current research into public health nutrition.

While there has been some changes to a few of the key healthy nutrition guidelines from the Heart Foundation, their primary message, in relation to what constitutes a healthy diet, remains unchanged. This is – “Heart-Healthy eating is a pattern; it is more about the combination of foods eaten regularly over time. It’s about how you eat over days, weeks and even months.”

I would argue, as per the little mantra on one of our mirrors, that we need to ‘Eat Well’ not just daily but to “Repeat for Life”.

The Key Findings of the Heart Foundation Review are:-

  • Unflavoured full-fat milk, yoghurt and cheese are now an option for healthy Australians

  • Healthy adults can eat as many eggs as they want to each week

  • A limit of less than 350 grams of unprocessed beef, lamb, pork and veal. This equates to approximately one to three lean red-meat meals per week.

The change in the recommendations for the consumption of dairy products is based on recent research that suggested the consumption of these particular dairy products had a neutral effect on the risk of developing heart disease or stroke in healthy adults. Evidence from this research suggested that the dairy fat from full-fat milk, yoghurt and cheese does not raise LDL cholesterol levels as much as butter or other dairy products. Furthermore, these dairy products also provide a number of other healthy nutrients, e.g. Calcium. The only proviso in relation to this new advice is that people who suffer high cholesterol or heart disease should continue to choose a low-fat option from these dairy foods.


Finally, eat sparingly - butter, cream, ice-cream and dairy- based desserts, as these foods contain higher fat and sugar levels and less protein.

In regards to heart-healthy protein sources, the Heart Foundation recommends people eat more plant based sources such as beans, legumes (lentils and chickpeas) and tofu as well as eating more seafood, lean poultry and eggs. While healthy adults can eat as many eggs per week as they want to, people who have Type 2 Diabetes should eat fewer than seven eggs per week as eating more than this number per week appears to be associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease in this group. The findings on lean red meat, while not necessarily new, further support the need to eat from a variety of protein sources each week. Variety is important and helps us to get our macronutrients from a broader range of food sources.

This updated nutritional advice further reinforces the need for all of us to try harder to choose from a variety of healthy, less processed whole foods on a regular basis. The key to reducing your chances of developing Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease and Stroke is to cut down on highly processed junk foods, eat more plant-based foods, healthy proteins, don’t smoke, limit alcohol, move daily and repeat for life. This may present some challenges for some of us but as always, prevention is better than the cure. Heart disease is still the number one health issue in Australia. Reducing your risk is actually very easy once you become more mindful of what it actually means to live a healthy lifestyle.