Shocking find about Aussie diets

We’re not eating enough vegetables and still drinking too much, according to fresh research from Australia’s science agency.

The CSIRO’s Healthy Diet Score report, released on Tuesday, is the culmination of eight years of canvassing Aussie dietary habits, assessing nine areas of diet quality and compliance with Australian Dietary Guidelines.

The results show we have an average diet score in that time of of 55 out of 100 – but down from 56 in 2015 to 53 this year.

A key indicator of a health diet is eating three or more different vegetables in a main meal, but only 35 per cent of Australians are doing this regularly.

That’s down from 47 per cent in 2016.

Research scientist and report co-author Gilly Hendrie says the low collective score shows we just meet the pass mark when it comes to adopting the national dietary recommendations.

“The score is a stark reminder of the work that needs to be done to improve our eating habits and reduce the national waistline,” Dr Hendrie said.

Alcohol, cakes and biscuits, chocolate and confectionary, and takeaway foods dominated the discretionary eating category, with men consuming about 10 serves per week more than women,and younger adults about five serves per week more than older adults.

“The good news is that a healthy diet can be achieved with some simple changes,” Dr Hendrie said.

“The things to keep in mind is reduce, increase and add variety.

“In other words, reduce the amount of discretionary foods being consumed, increase healthy foods, including fruit and dairy and alternatives, and aim for variety by eating three or more different types of vegetables with your main meal.”

Australians did manage to score an impressive 93 out of 100 when it comes to beverages, thanks largely to choosing water over energy dense drinks like soft drink or juice.

And we scored 78 out of 100 when it comes to meats and alternatives – vegetables were 58 out of 100.

Construction workers were among those with the poorest diets, scoring 51 out of 100 on overall diet, while retired Australians and those working in the fitness industry reported some of the healthiest eating patterns with an average score of 59 out of 100.

Those working in construction and the beauty/fashion industry reported the highest discretionary food consumption – about 45 serves per week.

The report also showed that while women only had a slightly better diet quality than men (56 v 53 out of 100), their vegetable intake was markedly higher (62 v 54 out of 100).

Originally published as Shocking find on Aussie diets: Too much booze, not enough vegies

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