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Plant-based nutrition: optimise your ability to help patients manage disease

Plant-based nutrition: optimise your ability to he
Photo: Doctors For Nutrition Ambassadoc, Dr Adrian Griscti (GP)
Poor nutrition is a leading cause of disease and early death in Australia. As a health professional, this is unlikely to come as a surprise to you.

The typical Western diet consumed by many of your patients is nutrient poor and energy dense. It is one of the major causes of the contemporary epidemics of obesity and non-communicable diseases.

In Australia, 99 percent of children aged 18 and younger do not consume the recommended amount of vegetables.

Less than 4 percent of the total population are eating enough vegetables and legumes each day. We also consume excessive amounts of meat. In fact, Australia is among the top meat-consuming nations of the world.

The best nutritional advice for your patients

With rising rates of obesity and non-communicable diseases it is clear we are not eating the right diet, but what is ‘the right diet’?
It can be difficult to know what the best nutritional advice actually is. Overwhelming amounts of information is available at our fingertips, often from unreliable sources.

Research over many years has linked whole food plant-based diets to lower rates of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers (as compared with diets high in meat and other animal products).

A plant-based eating pattern can prevent obesity and promote healthy weight loss, optimise blood pressure and cholesterol and improve mental wellbeing.

In 2019, the EAT–Lancet Commission brought together 37 world-leading scientists from 16 countries to address the need to feed a growing global population a healthy diet, while also minimising damage to our planet.

The recommended reference diet is composed predominantly of whole-plant foods, emphasising fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Defining whole food plant-based nutrition

Whole food plant-based nutrition is not so much a diet as it is a general approach to eating. Your patients will not need to count calories or worry about meeting certain macronutrient goals each day.

It is simply an eating pattern centered on unprocessed fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Other whole or minimally processed plant-based foods are used as occasional condiments.

This way of eating avoids meats, dairy products, and eggs and minimises refined and processed foods such as added salt, oil and sugar. It provides an abundance of antioxidants, phytonutrients, fibre, and many other health promoting substances.

A free guide for health professionals, by health professionals

Are you wanting to include nutritional approaches to disease prevention and care? Doctors For Nutrition, a registered health-promotion charity led by medical experts and dietitians, have the tools and information you need.

They have designed an evidence-based kit to inform you about the range of positive outcomes that are typically experienced by those who shift to a more whole food plant-based eating pattern.

It includes practical tools such as a quick diet survey to find easy areas for improvement and useful support tools for patients such as a 2-page patient handout and dietitian-designed shopping list.

Order your free copy of ‘Plant-based nutrition and health: A guide for health professionals’ and the accompanying tools as a hard copy or access a digital copy today.


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