Food As Medicine: Feedback with Melissa – Week 3 – July 2019

By Paul Henry / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

MELISSA ADAMSKI: Hi, everyone,
and welcome to week 3 feedback video of Food As Medicine. It’s great to be back
here in Australia after my trip to
the UK, and it’s great to see a lot of you
enjoyed my video for week 2 coming from Cambridge
in England there. So let’s have a
bit of a chat now about the information
from the course in week 3. It’s great to see so
many comments happening around interpreting the evidence
of food as medicine in week 3, so keep those discussions
and the debates going. And remember, debate can be
healthy around nutrition– discussion in nutrition
evidence, but also, make sure that you’re being
kind and everything else to your fellow learners
and everything. But you all are, so
that’s fabulous there. OK. So first of all, let’s
have a chat about one of the first topics in week
3 around nutrition science and why the evidence
is changing. And the point that I’d like
to make here around this topic is that we must remember
that nutrition is a science, and it is a hard science. So just like all
the other sciences, like physics,
biology, medicine, et cetera, our knowledge keeps
changing due to the research that we’re doing, so we don’t
know everything about nutrition and food science. We’re nowhere near it, in fact. But we have come a long way over
the last, say, 50 to 100 years. And so what we know about
food and nutrition science and what we recommend to people
is going to continuously change as we learn more. And that’s the sign
of a good scientist as well, when we accept
when evidence changes and the observations
that we make and the research that
comes out, and we change our recommendations
appropriately there. So that’s why we do
see evidence changing. And I think what’s
happening now in these days, why it’s so much more
confusing than, say, it was say 10, 20, 30 years
ago, is that we have access to the incident. And so back a few decades
ago, what we might have seen is that reports might
not have been released in the media until
we were more certain about, say, certain
roles of food and health where we might have
collected research from quite a number
of large studies, and then researchers may
have made an announcement about what to do. However, now with the internet,
anyone can post information. And it’s very popular for
news and media outlets to report on studies around
food and nutrition science. It’s very headline-grabbing. And so what we get
are these reports on single studies, perhaps very
small numbers in those studies before we’re actually
certain whether that study was, A, a good one, and
how it actually then fits into the wider context of
all the other research that’s out there. So that’s why some days you
might hear that coffee is good, and then the next day,
another research paper says coffee is bad. And so it can get very
confusing like that. And that’s why we’ve taken the
time in week 3 to really try and help you understand more
about how you can critically analyse news articles and
other sources of nutrition information so you can have a
better understanding of whether what you’re reading
is right or not. Now, another topic
that we have in week 3 is getting you to have a
look at different food guides from around the world, so
different dietary guidelines and different food guides. And it’s great to see a lot of
people very interested in this, really looking at
the differences and also the similarities
across guidelines. And one point I’d like
to make here as well is that what you can see is
that most of these guidelines are very similar, no matter
where from around the world they’re coming from. And this is because governments
and public health agencies use the entire body
of evidence that’s out there in the literature
around food and nutrition science, synthesise
it, and then come up with their recommendations. And so the reason that
they’re very similar is because we’re all using
the same body of evidence, and we’re all coming up with
the same conclusions from that. And so that’s why you’re
seeing them be very similar. Now, many of the
differences come from a cultural perspective
around the different foods. Sometimes different foods
are slightly classified into slightly different food
groups than other countries. But genuinely,
they’re quite similar. And so there are starting to
be differences across countries as they start to update
their guidelines now. Some countries are bringing
in some of the social aspects around food, like a number of– we see, for example, in
Brazil where they mention– it’s not just
around the nutrition or the nutrient aspects
of food, but also around the social aspects. So where you can,
eat food with people and enjoy it, because food
is not just about nutrition. It’s also about enjoyment. And there can be health benefits
that come from that as well. We’re also seeing sustainability
come in with some food guidelines as well. And some of you might be aware
of the recent Lancet Commission that was done that looked at
developing a diet that not only takes into account the
nutrient properties of food and the nutrient
requirements of the body, but also how we can do this
from more of a sustainability perspective in regards
to our world resources in regards to food. Now, this report generated
quite a lot of controversy when it was released
a few months ago. And it would be great
if you would all like to jump in and
discuss it there. We’ll have the link for you
in the bottom of the course– sorry, the bottom of
the step here for you so you can have a
discussion about that. Because certainly,
there were certainly a number of different diet
camps around the world that had something to say around those– that report there. So I’m not going to get into it. I’d like you to have a read
and have a think about that yourself. But it is a report
that I would like to point you towards
because it is quite a new one for this year. Now, a question from a
learner around dairy– so a number of you enjoyed
my discussion last week in the feedback video around
plant-based yoghurts and then talking also around
dairy-based yoghurts as well, and a question came out of that
around whether there has been a link with dairy and– consumption of dairy and cancer. And first of all, I’d like to
say that I’m not up to date with the evidence around
dairy and cancer development. It’s not something that
I’ve come across personally in my nutrition travels. However, some things to
consider when thinking about whether there is an
association there or not is to really think about
the types of studies that were done,
whether they were observational studies in regards
to diet and then other health outcomes, how the
diet was measured, so how dairy was actually
measured within that study. Was it an actual RCT, so
a randomised control trial where people were given
dairy, and then their cancer outcomes were measured? Also thinking about which
country that study– which population group
that study was in as well. Were they a healthy population? Did they have other
health issues? Also thinking
about which country it comes from, because
a lot of the time, especially with
observational studies, there can be many
other confounders within that group as well. What was the rest
of their diet like? What was their activity like? And it can be really hard
to tease that out sometimes. Also, how many other
studies have replicated this association if one has been
found in the literature or not? And have they been across
different population groups, or have they been in the same
population group as well? So as I said, I’m not up
to date with that area of the literature there,
but hopefully there are some tips for you
if you are researching that to try and help
you understand around whether that is a
legitimate association or whether it’s something that
maybe requires further study to clarify what
those outcomes were. And then we also had
an activity in week 3 looking at different
diets around the world and asking you
which ones you think had the most evidence there. And this is a really
interesting activity as well because we
asked you to do it at the beginning of week 3 and
then also at the end of week 3 as well. And we’ve done this on
purpose, once again, to see whether your
responses do change after you have gone through
the steps within week 3 to see whether your idea
of whether you thought a diet had evidence behind
it has changed or not. So that’s why we have
the same lists there. And it’s for you
to really reflect upon what you’ve
learned in the week and how you then assess
information that you read. So if you haven’t
done those activities, have a go, and really
go back and have a look at the evidence
behind different diets. So don’t just necessarily
have a think about, oh, I think this one has
got evidence or not. Actually go and have a bit of a
research and see what people– what the evidence
in the literature out there is saying about
different diets or not, and then see– reflect back upon that and see
whether your answer changes at the end of week 3 or not. And also, see what your other
fellow learners have also said as well, because it can
be really good to see what other bits of research,
et cetera, that learners might have picked up in their
researching of different diets as well. And then lastly,
just to touch base, I did mention to you
all about the activity that we had back in week
1 about trying new foods. So I mentioned last
week in the UK, I was going to try
some new foods there. And while I didn’t get
to try as many new foods as I would have liked–
because unfortunately, I was working every
day, so I didn’t get out as much as I would like. But one thing I can definitely
say that I did really enjoy was the huge variety
of really fresh berries that were available, because
it’s summer in the UK, and there are lots of markets
available in Cambridge. And so the size– or even in
supermarkets, actually, the size of, say,
the strawberries and the blueberries, et
cetera, were just phenomenal. And so really
having some amazing, fresh berries was something
that I really enjoyed. So while not
technically new, they were a newer type of
berry, I guess, for me. Because sometimes
in Australia here, we don’t get that really great
seasonal variety of berries there as much as
they do in the UK. I did try a couple of new foods,
actually, on one of my flights back to Australia. On one of the legs there, I
was on JAL, or Japan Airlines. And they certainly have
quite a diverse menu. And so I tried– I think it was
called sandgroper, which was a type of fish
which had a very fishy taste. It sort of looked like a
crispy sardine on the plate. But it was definitely something
new that I hadn’t had before, and thought that I would
give that a go there. So there was that. And then I also had– as two little starters, there
was a sesame tofu and a corn flan, which both corn and tofu
were certainly not my favourite foods. But I thought, no, in the
spirit of this course, I am going to give
them a go again. And I did try both
of those foods. So it’s important, even for
nutrition professionals like myself, to always keep getting
out of our comfort zone too and trying new foods or
trying foods that perhaps I didn’t think I’d like,
to keep trying them, because variety of
whole foods in the diet is so very important
when thinking about food as medicine. OK. So that’s it for me. And thank you for having– for all of you for joining us on
this three-week journey looking at food as medicine. Just a reminder as
well that we are always looking for feedback
on the course because we always
like to try and make it as useful and as relevant to
people who are participating. So if you do have any
feedback, we’d love to hear it. And also, please do
rate our MOOC as well or provide feedback in some
of the MOOC rating platforms, too, just so we can
also get some feedback from our participants
there as well. So that’s it for me. And as I said, thank
you for joining us. Keep commenting
and keep discussing the fabulous topics that are
food and nutrition science. And yeah, hope you all
enjoyed the course. Great. See you later.

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