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Breads and Cereals Consumption Below Healthy Level

New Zealand Breads and Cereals Consumption Below Healthy Levels

The important health benefits of breads, cereals, grains and other carbohydrates will be centre stage at a health professionals’ seminar, reflecting concerns that the current obesity focus and low-carb fad diets are turning people away from this essential core food group.

The Great Carbohydrate Debate is hosted by the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation and spokesperson Jeni Pearce says National Nutrition Survey data shows just one in five adults eats the recommended six servings of breads and cereals each day.

“There seems to be a lack of knowledge of why breads and cereals are such an essential food group and intakes are well below healthy levels. It’s regrettable that concerns about obesity and the low-carb fad have added to the confusion and are putting people off these important foods.”

“What’s being forgotten is that breads and cereals are an essential core food group. Not only do they provide carbohydrate - our body’s preferred source of energy - but they are also sources of essential nutrients such as fibre, B vitamins, vitamin E and other important antioxidants.”

“It’s a fallacy that carbohydrates are fattening. We gain body weight when total energy intake exceeds the amount of energy expended, regardless of the composition of the diet. Carbohydrate has less than half the kilojoules of fat. A low carbohydrate intake often means a high fat intake and a much higher energy diet overall. The key point is that reducing body weight involves reducing total energy intake combined with activity.”

“It’s also worth remembering that carbohydrates such as wholegrain breads and cereals delay the absorption of glucose from the foods we eat, enabling a sustained release of energy into the blood stream which can also help those seeking to control their weight and provides satiety (the sensation of fullness).”

“While there is high awareness of the need to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, there is low understanding of the need to eat at least six carbohydrate servings such as bread, cereals, pasta and rice each day. New Zealand Food & Nutrition Guidelines recommend 55 percent of our total energy intake should come from these foods but only about a third of people are achieving this goal.”

The Great Carbohydrate Debate at Auckland’s Ellerslie Convention Centre on 7 October is a joint initiative between the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation and Molenberg Bread. The seminar begins at 5.45pm and runs to 7.30pm.

A resource; Go with the grain and be fit for life – a guide to carbohydrate-rich breads and cereals will be launched at tonight’s event. The brochure addresses misunderstandings around this important food group and looks at the many intrinsic benefits of carbohydrates.

Seminar programme:

Jeni Pearce, Sports and Health Dietitian and New Zealand Nutrition Foundation deputy chair is MC for the event. Other speakers are:

Dr Philip Harris, Associate professor, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Auckland speaking on the ‘Cancer protective effects of dietary fibre’

Dr Bernard Venn, Human Nutrition Department, University of Otago will discuss ‘Preferred carbohydrates for the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes’

David Roberts, National Dietitian, National Heart Foundation will present ‘Wholegrains and Healthy Hearts: What is the relationship?’

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