Results from the latest Australian Health Survey show that an alarming 63% of Australians are now classified as overweight or obese - the highest rates ever.
It is predicted that obesity rates will double within the next 20 years, and the health implications are dire with obesity linked to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, sleep apnoea, fertility issues, gallstones, kidney stones and joint and limb issues. That's not including the social and emotional impacts.
While there are a multitude of diets out there, cutting out carbs, eliminating whole food groups, living on liquids only and other ridiculous fads, they won't sustain long-term weight loss.
According to dietitians Justine Hawke and Sally Johnston, the key to losing weight and keeping it off is to simply cut down the fat and sugar consumed. But this is easier said than done.
'A lot of people have difficulty managing their weight as they simply don't realise what is hiding in the food they eat, even when foods are portrayed as healthy," says Justine. 'Those -health foods' can be loaded with fat and sugar which people are unknowingly adding to their diets resulting in weight gain."
So they have devised a simple but remarkably effective way to help people lose weight and keep it off. No gimmicks, no fads, just a simple solution to weight loss.
Spoons for Thought is an easy to follow visual guide, containing over 250 photos of real foods, and the teaspoons of fat and sugar they contain. It shows how you can make simple dietary changes to become healthier, feel good and reduce your weight making weight loss achievable for everyone.
'The idea behind Spoons for Thoughts is to empower people to make small, achievable, permanent changes to their diets to improve their health," says Sally. 'Reducing 5 teaspoons of fat or 10 teaspoons of sugar each day can lead to a weight loss of 1kg per month. It may seem small, but that adds up to 12kg per year. This is significant, as we know that even a 5-10% weight reduction can reduce health risks."
With 25% of children overweight or obese, Spoons for Thought is a wonderful tool to use with them as well (however, it is important to note that until the age of two children should be provided with full fat dairy products to account for their increased energy needs) as it allows an increased understanding of healthier food choices, but avoids themes of deprivation, calorie counting, good and bad foods etc. that can lead to a poor relationship with food later in life.
'Our clients are finding that making simple changes can really make a big difference," says Justine. 'Having struggled to manage his weight for 50 years, one client has lost almost 80kg using the principles in Spoons for Thought, which is absolutely phenomenal."
It really is easy, effective and stress free. If you keep your fat and sugar consumption under control you will lose weight.
Spoons for Thought provides a simple visual guide to identify the fat and sugar hidden in many of the foods you eat each day.
Far from being another extreme, -fad' diet, it offers practical solutions to improve your health and wellbeing, without depriving you of a variety of delicious foods.
Spoons for Thought helps you make sense of the food we eat. With over 250 photos of real foods, and the teaspoons of fat and sugar they contain, you can make simple dietary changes to become healthier, feel good and reduce your weight.
The difference with Spoons for Thought is it does not tell you what not to eat, but rather provides practical ideas on improving your food choices.
It teaches you how to:
Choose foods and meals that are lower in fat and sugar
Identify foods lover in saturated fat and salt
Read and interpret food labels
Understand nutrition claims and messages
Choose from restaurant and takeaway menus
Modify your recipes and cooking methods
Make healthy snack choices
Prepare balanced, healthy meals
Make simple swaps on your shopping list
Can't understand why your clothes are getting tighter? You're eating the same, exercising even more, but still your weight seems to be creeping up?
It very well could be your frappe or fancy Frappuccino that is making you fat.
With the emergence of trendy new sounding drinks served at hipster cafes, people are packing on the pounds, because lurking in these delicious designer drinks are alarming amounts of hidden sugar and fat.
Even if they are packed with green goodness, they are also packed with a load of extra calories that people don't realise is contributing to their weight gain.
'Drinks can -hide' a frightening amount of sugar and fat, therefore calories," says Justine Hawke, dietitian and co-author of -Spoons for Thought'. 'It is easy to drink these calorie laden beverages quickly as they do little to satisfy your appetite.
'Any sugar consumed in excess contributes to extra calories, and these teaspoons of sugar quickly add up leading to undesired weight gain.
'An awareness of just what you are choosing to drink is so important – it is not a case of cutting out all sugar and fat from your diet, but knowing where it is coming from and the impact it has on your weight. That knowledge can help you make targeted changes to help you reduce your weight."
Changing drinks is an easy swap with a surprisingly big impact.
For example by cutting out your daily breakfast juice, you could lose 1kg a month, swap your tall full fat flavoured coffee for a small skinny latte and drop another 1kg over the month."
If you're a smoothie junkie, your health drink could be hiding up to 6 tsp of sugar and 2 tsp of fat – even if it is on skim milk with low fat yoghurt and loaded with fruit. Over a year your daily -hit' could have you gaining 4-5kg you didn't see coming.
If you find your Zen with a Chai latte you're sipping on a 5 tsp of sugar and 2 tsp of fat.
Then there are drinks with double everything – so double the fat and sugar. A large, white chocolate frappe with cream contains a whopping 13 tsp of sugar and 3 tsp of fat.
The perk me up that comes with an energy drink will have you knocking back around 10 tsp of sugar.
Iced tea, fruit juice, even if it is freshly squeezed and fruit and vegetable juice concoctions, even if they are infused with extra vitamins, minerals and fibre, are full of sugar.
And last, but certainly not least – we have good old cola and other soft drinks. There's nothing like a cold can of fizzy on a hot day, but in that can you will find 8 tsp of sugar. Sparkling water will still quench your thirst and help your waistline.
So be selective when you sip – small changes can make a big difference and help your pour those extra kilos away.
Spoons for Thought
Justine Hawke and Sally Johnston
Authors: Justine Hawke and Sally Johnston