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HSC Food Technology

Summary- Option Strand

Option Strand: Contemporary Food Issues

Students learn about:

x Physical effects and economic costs of malnutrition (under and over

nutrition) and diet related disorders

Malnutrition and diet related diseases

Malnutrition is defined as a condition when one or more nutrients are not supplied to the
body in the correct amount. Malnutrition can be categorised as over-nutrition or under-

Diet related disorders are conditions related to more than just dietary i.e. they may have to do
with physical activity and lifestyle such as type II diabetes and food allergies


Over-nutrition Under-nutrition
-Anorexia nervosa
-bulimia nervosa
-dietery fibre defeciency
-dental caries Diet-related diseases -Anaemia
-diabetes -Osteoporosis
-food intolerance/allergies

Over nutrition

Obesity causes when energy intake exceeds energy expenditure, leading to the excess being
stored in adipose tissue. Causes of obesity include:
-environmental factors (values and beliefs)
-psychological factors (pleasurable experience related to food)
-Hereditary (genetics)
-endocrine factors (underactive thyroid gland)
-reduced physical activity

Obese people generally have an excess of the macronutrients (i.e. fat, carbohydrates, protein)
and sometimes, alcohol. The diet often lacks fibre. Physical effects of obesity include:
-overworked cardiovascular system

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-strain on joints
-reduced ability to regulate body temperature
-fatigue when performing even simple task

There are other associated conditions, including:

-diabetes type II
-gallbladder disease
-Hypertension → stroke
-respiratory diseases
-Some cancers

The economic effects of obesity include cost of treatment (long-term), reduced working from
sick leave and use of medical facilities.

Hypertension is caused by an excess of sodium in the diet, leading to an imbalance of sodium
to potassium within the body’s cells, causing water retention which makes blood pump under
greater pressure.

There are a range of physical effects including:

-haemorrhage (esp. brain)
-heart failure
-kidney disease
-Arterial aneurism (blockage to heart)

Economic costs include cost of treatment, surgery, medication and absenteeism and
impairment in working.

Dental Caries
Dental caries aka tooth decay is caused by poor dental hygiene and excessive sugar
consumption. Bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugars, producing acids which dissolve the
enamel of the teeth. Plaque, an insoluble polysaccharide, is also produced, providing an
impermeable layer which the bacteria continue to produce acid under.

Physical effects include:

-Toothache due to enamel decay exposing nerves
-Bad breath
-Loss of teeth

Economic effects are the cost of treatment e.g. fillings, crowns, dentures, medication for pin

Under nutrition

Anorexia Nervosa

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Anorexia is a psychological disorder in which self-induced weight loss becomes out of

control. It is most likely caused by puberty onset, low self-esteem and the influence of media
on body image.
-Physical effects include:
-Heart palpitations
-Muscle wasting
-Low blood pressure
-Absence of menstrual cycles
-reduced pulse and metabolic rate
-damage due to stomach acid

Economic costs include cost of hospitalisation, psychological counselling and decreased


Bulimia nervosa
Bulimia nervosa aka binge eating is a psychological condition that may be a feature of
anorexia. It is characterised by secret periods of binge-eating in short time period followed by
self-induced vomiting and/r use of laxatives and diuretics. It may be the result of a state of
depression or anxiety.

Physical effects include:

-bowel dysfunction due to laxative abuse

-tooth decay due to HCl in vomit
-burnt oesophagus

The economic effects are:

-toll on family and community support
-medical costs
-counsellors and dieticians required

Dietary fibre deficiency

Normal bowel movements become irregular and faces become hard to pass due to a lack of
dietary fibre. Dietary fibre is important because it absorbs water in the large intestine, bulking
the faeces and making them easier to pass. It is important to note that even with an adequate
fibre intake, enough water must be consumed to bulk the faeces.

Physical effects include:

-Hernia (result of stomach being forced up through diaphragm

-Varicose veins (excess pressure causes stretching of veins in leg)
-haemorrhoids (hard stools damage haemorrhoids)
-diverticulitis (infected ‘pockets’ in wall of large intestine due to small hard faeces)
-colon cancer (cancer-causing compounds stay in body longer)


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Anaemia is the deficiency of oxygen-carrying red-blood cells in the body. It may be caused
- inadequate iron in the diet
-blood loss during menstruation
-reduced absorption (due to diarrhoea, malabsorption syndrome, excessive fibre or
copper deficiency)
-repeated pregnancies (blood used to nourish developing baby)

Physical effects include:

-heart palpitations
-Dizziness and chronic fatigue

Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones due to too much calcium being withdrawn from the
bones. It may be caused by:

-inadequate calcium intake throughout life (esp. periods of intense growth such as
adolescence or pregnancy)
-physical inactivity (calcium released from bones)
-menopause (lack of the hormone oestrogen, which helps retain calcium)
-vitamin D deficiency (vitamin D required for calcium absorption)
-family history of osteoporosis (genetics)

This leads to the bones becoming porous and weak, so crush fractures may occur simply due
to body weight. Stooped posture is a common indication and body weight decreases due to
loss of bone mass.

Diet-related disorders
Diabetes type II
Diabetes type II or mature-onset diabetes is a condition where the pancreases secretes little or
none of the hormone insulin. Insulin is essential for the metabolism of glucose into energy for
the body. It is a disease that develops over time and is common in middle-aged people,
particularly women. There are several possible contributing factors:

-High-fat diet
-Low-fibre diet

Diabetes causes glucose in the blood stream builds-up, leading to high urination, thirst and in
extreme cases, coma. In addition, excess glucose must be removed in the urine, placing strain
on the kidneys which can lead to renal failure. As glucose cannot be used for energy, the
body begins to break down fatty tissue and in extreme cases, muscle wasting occurs. Using
either fat or protein from muscle as body fuel for long periods of time is unhealthy as there
are many toxic metabolic by-products produced.

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Diabetic also have higher chances of developing the following conditions due to a lack of
proper blood supply to the extremities:

Economic costs exceed $50 billion annually- more than $2700/diagnosed case. Most
expenses are due to:
-medication, which needs to be taken frequently for long periods
-blood glucose tests, to monitor the condition

Cardiovascular Disease
The most common cardiovascular disease is atherosclerosis, a condition in which fat and
cholesterol (called ‘plaques’) build up on the inner walls of the arteries. This leads to a
progressive narrowing of the arteries, so they lose elasticity and become rigid. There are a
number of possible risk factors which may cause the condition:

-age (middle-aged men and post-menopausal women)

-Gender (8x more common in men than pre-menopausal women)
-Hereditary (family history in an indication of developing the disease)
-High stress
-physical inactivity (exercise increases ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and decreases ‘bad
LDL cholesterol)
-poor diet (esp. high fat)

Physical effects of atherosclerosis include heart attack, blood clots and muscle damage due to
lack of oxygen supply.

CVD is the most costly disease in terms of the number of people with the condition. Costs are
involved in surgery, hospitalisations and absenteeism from work.

x Nutritional considerations for specific groups

Nutritional considerations for specific groups

Specific community groups have particular nutritional needs dependant on:
-physical state
-health status
-exercise levels

Within the Australian community, specific groups with special requirements include:
-Adolescent girls
-Pregnant and lactating women/teenagers

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-Post-menopausal women
-Middle-aged men who live alone
-Individuals with specific health conditions (e.g. diabetes, CVD)
-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (ATSI)

Summary Table Nutritional considerations for specific groups

Group Strategies to Dietary needs Nutritional diseases
promote optimum associated with
health group
Adolescent girls *good nutrition *balanced diet *anaemia
education and *Low fat intake *bulimia
healthy food choices *Increased calcium, *anorexia
*Addressing body iron and B-vitamins *obesity
image and self- *alcohol abuse
esteem issues
*teaching food
preparation skills
*Effects of alcohol
Pregnant and *good nutrition *Increased vitamins *obesity
lactating education and and minerals esp. *anaemia
women/teenagers healthy food choices calcium, iron, B- *calcium deficiency
*effects of alcohol vitamins *constipation
and caffeine *Nutrient-dense *food cravings
consumption rather than junk
macronutrients esp.
*avoid: alcohol
caffeine, uncooked
meats e.g. sushi
*small regular meals
spread throughout
day rather than 3
large meals
*drink plenty of
water to avoid
Vegetarians *good nutrition *Sufficient iron, *anaemia
education and calcium, complete *calcium deficiency
healthy food options proteins

Athletes *good nutrition *Increased: complex *anorexia

education and carbohydrates, *bulimia
healthy food choices protein, calcium,

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*Addressing body iron, B-vitamins

image and self- *Low fat
esteem issues

Elderly *good nutrition *low fat *osteoporosis

education and *appealing to senses *anaemia
healthy food options *sufficient: energy, *digestive disorder
*Teaching food calcium, B-vitamins,
preparation skills iron
*ensuring at least 3
good meals per day
Post-menopausal * good nutrition *phyto-oestrogen * osteoporosis
women education and containing foods: *heart disease
healthy food choices linseeds, soy *diabetes
*Teaching food *Increased: calcium, *obesity
preparation skills vitamin D, fruits and
*preventative vegetables
measures *less: fat, processed
Middle-aged men * good nutrition *Low: processed *obesity
living alone education and foods, fat, alcohol *heart disease
healthy food choices *diabetes
*Teaching food *constipation
preparation skills *alcohol abuse
* Effects of alcohol *hypertension
Individuals with *good nutritional Diabetes: Diabetes:
specific health needs education concerning *low: fat, refined *poor circulation
(e.g. diabetes, CVD, their particular carbohydrates *coma
celiac) condition processed foods *renal failure
*suitable food *More: fresh fruit *unstable blood
choices esp. when and vegetables, lean glucose levels
eating-out proteins e.g. fish Celiac:
*early medical legumes, tofu *malnutrition
intervention Celiac: (anaemia, calcium
*teaching appropriate *avoid gluten deficiency)
food preparation containing products *digestive disorders
s ki l l s i.e. wheat, rye, CVD:
barley, oats, triticale *atherosclerosis
*Use gluten-free (leading to heart
substitutes attack)
CVD: *stroke
*low: fat, refined *hypertension
processed foods,
*more: iomega-3s,

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fresh fruit and veg.,

Aboriginal and *early medical *less: alcohol, fat, *Heart disease
Torres Strait intervention processed foods *cancer
Islander peoples *Health and hygiene *more fresh fruits *Obesity
(ATSI) programs and vegetables *hypertension
*nutritional *more complex *digestive disorders
educational programs carbohydrates *lactose intolerance
*low-life expectancy

Report: The health of “Middle-aged Men who live alone in

In this report I will investigate the diet-related health conditions pertaining to “Middle aged
men who live alone” in Australia. This includes a description of each condition, the causes,
physical effects and dietary strategies to counter these conditions. I will also discuss the
factors, including environmental, psychological, physiological and economic which may
cause the condition. Middle-aged men in Australia are susceptible to a range of diet-related
health conditions including obesity, type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension,
alcoholism, and constipation.

Obesity is a condition that occurs when energy intake exceeds energy expenditure, leading to
the storage of excess energy in the body’s adipose tissue, more commonly known as fat.

In middle-aged men, obesity is usually the result of excessive consumption of over-
processed, energy-dense foods, typically those which are high in sugar, fat and low in
essential nutrients such as fried takeaway foods, cakes and pastries.

Obesity has many detrimental physical effects. Excess fat causes fatigue by creating extra
workload for the heart and it stresses the body joints. Furthermore, it can reduce regulation of
body temperature. In males, excess fat is usually stored around the abdomen, leading to the
characteristic abdominal obesity or ‘beer belly’. Statistics have shown that abdominal obesity
is associated with higher levels of heart disease, hypertension, insulin resistance, elevated
triglycerides and type II diabetes.

Reduction Strategies
To reduce obesity in middle-aged men it is advised to eat more fruits and vegetables and
drastically reduce the consumption of high energy, high fat and overly processed foods, such
as cakes, pastries, white bread, untrimmed meats, refined breakfast cereals, confectionary and
desserts. Limiting the amount of energy-dense foods, even those that are nutritious is key.
This means limiting the amount of dried fruits, nuts, meats and full-cream dairy. Replace
these with lower-energy substitutes- eat fresh fruit rather than dried, select trimmed meats or
meats naturally low in fat, low fat-milk, yogurt and cheese. Snacking is not recommended

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and should be limited to high-water content, low-calorie fruits and vegetables (e.g. carrot,
celery, mandarin, and apple). Drinking plenty of water is important as it helps you feel fuller
faster- often we think we are hungry when we are only thirsty. However, drinks such as
milkshakes and fruit juice are not recommended as they can be quite high in calories when all
you need is water to quench your thirst. Physical activity is also necessary to help lose weight
faster and to maintain a healthy weight.

Contributing Factors
The factors which may cause obesity include psychological, physiological, environmental
and economic. Men with low self-esteem may be at risk of overeating while others may be
unconcerned with their body image and choose to eat unhealthily. Some people are at greater
risk of obesity due to their genetics. Women typically do most of the cooking in traditional
Australian culture, therefore, men never develop the skills required to cook their own meals
and subsequently, when they live alone, they tend to depend on pre-packaged or takeaway
foods. People with little disposable income may be forced into purchasing high-energy, pre-
processed foods rather than purchasing fresh produce and preparing meals from scratch.
Paradoxically, those with very high income may also be at risk of obesity due to depending
on pre-prepared meals because of long working hours which cause a lack of available time to
cook their own meals

Type II diabetes
Type II diabetes or adult-onset diabetes is a metabolic disorder where the body cannot
produce sufficient insulin, causing elevated blood glucose levels.

It can be triggered by a number of factors including obesity and a high fat, low-fibre diet.

Long-term elevated blood glucose leads to complications such as increased risk of heart
attack, strokes, kidney failure and even gangrene due to reduced blood flow to the
extremities. The excess blood glucose also causes high urination, thirst and coma in extreme
cases. Because the body cannot break down blood glucose to supply energy, energy must
come from adipose tissue. In extreme cases, muscle is broken down in a process called
ketosis. Both these metabolic processes are unhealthy long-term and usually only occurs in
starvation situations.

Reduction Strategies
Dietary strategies to counter diabetes include eating more fresh fruits and vegetables,
legumes and eating less rich fatty foods (esp. those high in saturated fats and trans fats)
including untrimmed red meats, full-cream dairy products, cakes, pastries and fried foods to a
maximum of once a week. It is especially important for diabetics to eat low GI foods such as
unrefined whole-grains and legumes or to include protein with their meals and snacks as this
helps to slow down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. This also means limiting
the amount of refined carbohydrates including sugar, white bread, white pasta and
confectionary, because these foods can cause a sharp ‘spike’ in blood glucose levels, which
quickly plummet. Some diabetics find eating several small meals spread throughout the day
rather than fewer larger meals maintains blood glucose levels better. Increasing the
consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids from sources such as linseeds and oily fish e.g. sardines,
salmon, may also help.

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Contributing factors
Factors that may cause the condition include physiological, psychological and economic.
Some people may be physiologically more susceptible to developing adult-onset diabetes due
to their genetics i.e. their parents or grandparents had it and passed the genes on.
Psychological factors include low self esteem or lack of concern towards body image leading
to overeating and hence, obesity which may contribute to developing the condition. Both high
and low income may result in a dependence on fatty, over-processed, low-fibre foods which
contributes to developing diabetes. People with low income have less disposable income to
spend on purchasing healthier choices while those with a high income tend to have long
working hours, meaning they have little time to prepare meals themselves.

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a condition where the blood pressure in the arteries is
elevated above normal levels.

In middle aged me, it may be due to a high sodium diet, so the body to retains water and
blood pressure increases. It may also be triggered by excessive alcohol intake, sedentary
lifestyle and vitamin D deficiency.

Physical effects include strokes, heart attack and kidney failure. Hypertension is closely
related to the incidence of type II diabetes and obesity.

Reduction Strategies
Strategies to reduce hypertension include reducing sodium intake, using salt substitutes (e.g.
Potassium chloride) eating more foods with potassium such as fruits and vegetables (helps to
counteract sodium), more vitamin D rich foods such as dairy in conjunction with other
lifestyle changes such as taking regular exercise (aim to spend a good 20 minutes each day in
the Sun) and meditation. Cooking your own meals allows you to control the amount of
sodium in the food. Alcohol consumption is not recommended, although statistical research
shows that a small glass of red wine each day may actually help lower the incidence of

Contributing factors
Psychological factors include low self-esteem leading to alcoholism and sedentary lifestyle.
Environmental factors include the bad habit of adding salt to food esp. before actually tasting
it. Some cultures traditional diets are high in sodium (e.g. Japan). Economic factors include
low income leading to a dependence on pre-prepared meals which often contain excessive
amounts of sodium. However high income may also be a contributing factor, because people
with high income often work long hours and therefore do not have much spare time to cook
their own meals and participate in physical activity.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD)

CVD is the hardening of the arteries caused by the build-up of fatty deposits along the artery
walls, resulting in narrowing of the arteries and restricted blood flow to the heart.

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Dietary factors that may cause CVD include a high-fat, high-energy diet. CVD is strongly
linked with hypertension, so high-sodium intake does not help either.

CVD can cause heart attacks due to restricted blood flow to the heart and stroke due to
blockage of blood in the brain.

Reduction Strategies
Reduction strategies are similar to those for obesity i.e. eat more fresh fruits and vegetables,
legumes because they are rich in essential nutrients, and antioxidants which are believed to
keep the heart healthy, yet are low in energy. Increase the amount of soluble fibre from
sources such as oats and beans because this can help to lower cholesterol reabsorption.
Reduce the consumption of fatty foods, particularly those high in saturated fats and Trans fats
(cakes, pastries, untrimmed meat, takeaway foods) and also sugary foods (desserts,
confectionary, sugary drinks). Obtain moderate amounts of protein from low fat sources such
as fish (esp. oily fish containing omega 3’s), legumes and tofu. Regular exercise is also
highly recommended. Replace saturated fats such with smaller quantities of monounsaturated
fats from sources such as olive oil, canola oil and nuts (except coconut, which is high in
saturated fat). Limit consumption of dietary cholesterol from animal product like full-fat
dairy, fatty meats, egg yolk and offal.

Contributing factors
CVD is often caused due to genetic inheritance. Like, obesity and adult onset diabetes, low
self-esteem is a contributing factor because it may lead to overeating, particularity of rich
‘comfort’ foods. Environmental factors such as traditional eating habits (e.g. Argentineans
consume large amounts of animal fat from beef) can also contribute. Economic factors are the
same as adult onset diabetes i.e. too high or too low income leading to a dependence on fatty,
over-processed foods.

Constipation is a condition where bowel movements become infrequent and difficult to pass.

In Middle aged men, constipation is primarily caused by a low-fibre diet. Such diets are often
overly-processed, pre-prepared or pre-packaged foods or a meat-heavy diet.

Short term effects of constipation include abdominal pain, bloating and difficulty passing
stools. Long term effects of constipation are hernia (breakage in the muscle holding digestive
organs in body), haemorrhoids and diverticulitis (inflamed ‘pouches’ that form on the outside
of the large intestine due to bulking of faeces) and colonic cancer (uncontrolled growth of
malignant tissue in the large intestine), which can ultimately lead to death.

Reduction strategies
Gradually increase the amount of fibre in the diet by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables,
whole-grains and legumes and less meats, refined grains, confectionary, desserts. If the

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increase is too sudden, it can cause bloating and abdominal pain. Fruit and vegetable juices
are not recommended\, as they have had the fibre processed out of them. Eat a mixture of
soluble fibre from sources such as legumes, pectin-rich fruits (e.g. apples) and oats and
insoluble fibre from brown rice, wholemeal bread and pasta, fruits and vegetables. It is
especially important to increase water consumption in order to make stools easier to pass.

Contributing factors
Constipation may be caused by environmental factors such as the traditional diet lacking
fresh fruits and vegetables esp. Western diet. People who have grown up eating low-fibre
foods may find they naturally dislike fibre-rich fruits and vegetables, so personal experience
is also a factor. Interestingly enough, wholegrain foods such as ‘brown bread’ used to be
considered poor people’s food and refined ‘white bread’ was considered the food of the rich
because it was easier to eat. Nowadays, however, whole-grain foods are more expensive than
their more refined counterparts, so people with low incomes generally purchase more refined
foods with low fibre content, while those with higher disposable income can afford to
purchase more fresh fruit and vegetables.

Alcoholism is a disabling addictive disorder characterised by the compulsive and
uncontrolled consumption of alcohol. Suffers develop a tolerance and physical dependence
on alcohol.

Long term physical effects include cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, CVD, cancer, damage
to the nervous system and permanent damage to the brain, which may lead to conditions such
as epilepsy and dementia.
Reduction strategies


The most obvious treatment to alcoholism is to gradually discontinue alcohol consumption,

although this can be very difficult. The best solution is to prevent it occurring in the first
place by drinking in moderation or to abstain from drinking altogether.

Alcoholism may be caused by a complex range of factors. Genetics are believed to play a role
in one’s susceptibility to alcoholism, and it may be indicated by a family history of the
condition. Men who begin drinking at a young age may develop alcoholism later in life. For
some cultures, such as Australians, drinking is seen as an acceptable activity in many
families. Other environmental factors such as childhood abuse, lack of peer and family
support may also contribute to developing the disorder.

x The production/manufacture of nutritionally modified foods to meet

consumer demand

Functional Foods

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Foods which have been modified to meet the demand of consumers are known as ‘functional
foods’. Although similar to conventional foods they provide not only nutrients but added
health benefits to the body. This health benefit can be in the form of either a curative or
preventative manner.

Functional food may target:

*coronary heart disease
*cancers esp. colonic, prostate, breast

There are 3 categories of functional foods:

1. Existing foods containing naturally occurring substances which have curative or
preventative characteristics e.g. antioxidants
2. Modified processed foods e.g. kJ, fat, salt, sugar reduced, fortified with vitamins and
minerals. They are also called ‘designer foods’
3. Foods containing active non nutrients (i.e. intestinal bacteria, dietary fibre, antioxidant
from plant sources)

Primary Production Modification

During Primary production food can be nutritionally modified in 2 ways:

-changing the genetics of the organism

-changing the food production conditions

Changing the genetic make-up

The genetics of an organism determines its final characteristics. Genes may be rearranges to
achieve desirable characteristics through selective breeding or genetic modification.

Selective breeding aka “traditional biotechnology” involves cross breeding organisms with th
desired characteristics to produce offspring that include favourable characteristics from both
parents. It is relatively long and imprecise, but recent advances in gene mapping have
improved the process. Examples of modifications include:

-beef and cattle with greater proportion of lean meat

-wheat varieties with increased protein for bread and pasta making
-canola plants bred to produce edible cooking oils (original plant produced toxic oils suitable
only for industry)

Genetic modification (GM) involves directly manipulating and altering specific genes. Genes
from one organism may be transferred to another, even from plants to animals. It therefore
allows for changes that are not possible with selective breeding. Examples of modifications

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-vitamin A and iron in rice, with the potential to reduce malnutrition in 3rd world countries
-higher vitamin content in vegetables
-improved protein quality in soy, rice and corn
-Allergy-causing proteins removed from peanuts
-antifreeze from cold-water fish inserted into tomatoes
-lowered fat absorption in potatoes
-improved fatty-acid content in seed oils
-higher protein content in cow’s milk
-leaner meats
-bacteria that produce enzymes to improve production of bread, cheese and alcohol

In Australia, the only GM crop allowed is cotton. Cotton seed oil is approved for use in
margarines and cooking oils.

Changing food production conditions

The biggest concern in Australia is the intake of products containing saturated fat and
cholesterol. This has resulted in a decline in the consumption of red meats, butter, full-cream
dairy and eggs. Producers have responded by producing animals with healthier fats and/or
lower fat content. Examples include:

-Range-fed beef, with leaner meat and higher proportion of omega-3’s

-controlled diets in grain-fed beef to produced leaner meats
-using leaner overseas breeds
-oilseed fed to dairy cows to increase monounsaturated fats
-growth hormones to produce leaner, larger carcass
-seed-oils fed to chickens to produce eggs with more omega-3s and less saturated fats and
-organic farming practices, avoiding use of chemicals is claimed to produce food with greater
micronutrient content

Issues with primary produce modification

Consumer concerns have been expressed over:
-use of growth hormones
-application of GM technology
-claims and labelling for organic and biodynamic foods

Growth hormones are seen as a possible health threat to consumers. Most poultry producers
in Australia do not use hormones because of this concern,.

GM foods have been met with caution and distrust by consumers. Detailed and extensive
testing of Gm foods for safety has delayed production of GM foods in Australia. Packaged
Gm food must be labelled if the final product:
-contains novel proteins/DNA
-has altered characteristics

Exemptions apply if GM flavours are used in concentrations < 0.1% or if the food contains
up to 1% GM material that was unintended.

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x The role of ‘active non-nutrients’ in the diet , e.g. phytochemicals,

probitoics and fibre

Active non-nutrients
Active non-nutrients are substances that are not essential in the diet, but enhance ones health
by playing an active and protective role. There are 4 main types:
-Omega 3-fatty acids

Phytochemicals aka phytonutrients are substances found naturally in plant foods that act as
antioxidants in the body. They inhibit oxidation reactions (esp. with fats and oils) involving
dangerous free radicals, regulate blood cholesterol levels and may prevent heart disease and
some cancers. There are over 600 known phytochemicals.

One type of phytochemicals is phyto-oestrogens, which imitate the female hormone

oestrogen in the body. For women, the benefits include a reduction in hot flushes associated
with menopause and for both genders, improvement in cardiovascular health and reduced risk
of prostate and breast cancers.

There are 4 classes of phytochemical compounds:

*Organosulfur compounds

Terpines are strong antioxidants responsible for controlling blood cholesterol levels,
inhibiting free radicals and maintaining vision. There may be divided into 3 subgroups:

*Carotenoids: found in yellow/orange fruit and veg. e.g. tomatoes, spinach, oranges

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*Liminoids: found in citrus peel, they fight lung infections and stimulate the liver to
remove toxins

*Saponins: found mainly in legumes, they lower ‘bad’ LDL and increase good HDL

Organosulfur compunds are responsible for protecting against cancers by deactivating

harmful substances and stimulating production of liver enzymes. There are 4 subgroups:

*Glucosinolates: found in cruciferous vegetables e.g. cauliflower, broccoli, mustard

*Indoles: found in cruciferous vegetables
*Thiosulphonates: found in onions, garlic, leek, shallot, chives
*Isothiocyanates: horseradish, Mustard greens, wasabi

Phenols have anti-fungal, antiseptic and flabouring properties and most common in herbs e.g.
basil, parsley, coriander. There are 2 subgroups:

*Polyphenols: improve cardiovascular health by reducing inflammation and clotting;

found in berries, citrus, nuts, tea, wine
*Phyto-oestrogens: imitate the female hormone oestrogen in the body. For women, the
benefits include a reduction in hot flushes associated with menopause and for both
genders, improvement in cardiovascular health and reduced risk of prostate and breast

Phytosterols lower LDL cholesterol and promote HDL cholesterol. They are commonly
found in grains, soy and nuts.

Probiotics are bacteria found naturally in the digestive system esp. intestinal tract. They are
added to foods with the aim of ensuring a food balance of good to pathogenic bacteria in the
gut. Benefits include:

-improved digestion

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-reduced gastrointestinal problems

-improved immune function (reduce disease)
-contribute to vitamin production (D and K)

Examples of probiotic bacterium are Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Bifid. Food product
containing probiotics include Yakult, Tip Top High fibre bread (inulin probiotic extracted
from artichokes or chicory), sour cream & yogurt

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3’s are precursors to prostaglandins in the body. Prostaglandins are involved with
proper cardiovascular health. Benefits include:
-reduced blood clot formation
-protection against
-cancer prevention
-brain health
-Immune health

Foods containing omega-3s include oily fish, omega-3 enriched bread, margarines and some
animal foods such as eggs, beef, milk which have been fed with omega-3 rich plant foods
(e.g. flax, grass, canola)

Dietary Fibre
Dietary fibre is found naturally in plant foods. Gastrointestinal flora in the large intestine acts
on dietary fibre, causing it to swell in the presence of water. This increases the size of the
faeces and helps to speed up the expelling of waste matter from the large intestine.

There are 3 main types of dietary fibre:

1. Insoluble
2. Soluble
3. Resistant starch

Insoluble fibre is found naturally in wholegrain products e.g. cereals like Weet-Bix, oats,
pasta and in many fruits and vegetables e.g. broccoli, carrot. It be extracted from plants and
added to other foods such as crackers, biscuits and breads e.g. Tip Top wonder white Hi-

Soluble fibre forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract that may help to control blood
cholesterol levels and slow down the absorption of glucose into the blood stream. It is found
in foods such as legumes, oats, apples, citrus peel and barley.

Resistant starch is a type of starch that resits digestion in the small intestine. It increases
insulin sensitivity, weight management (promotes satiety and lipid oxidation) and may have
anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

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The benefits of fibre are:

-prevent constipation and promote regular bowel movements (provided enough water is also
-aid in the production of vitamin K and B-vitamins
-add bulk to diet without adding extra kilojoules
-lower glycaemic index of foods (rate at which glucose is absorbed)

x The role of supplements in the diet, e.g. vitamins, minerals, protein

The role of supplements in the diet

Main functions of vitamins:

-growth and repair i.e. protein synthesis
-maintain vision
-Antioxidant effect
-synthesis and absorption of minerals
-blood clotting
-DNA and RNA formation within cells
-Energy release from carbohydrates

Main functions of minerals:

-growth and repair of bones and teeth
-blood clotting
-nerve and muscle functioning
-enzymatic reactions
-maintenance of blood pressure
-energy and amino acid production

Main functions of protein:

-growth and repair
-enzyme and hormone formation
-secondary energy source

The consumption of dietary supplements has increased due to:

*Busy lives leaving less time for careful diet and meal preparation
*Increased intake of un-nutritious processed foods due to greater disposable income
*Increased food preparation technology leading to a reduction in traditional food
preparation skills
*Groups with greater nutrient requirements than normal e.g. athletes, teenage girls,
pregnant women, vegetarians
*The belief that dietary supplements will help achieve maximum energy

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There is still debate as to whether taking vitamin supplements are necessary. Water-soluble
vitamins are excreted in the urine, so an excess does not usually harm the body. However, fat
soluble vitamins are stored in adipose tissues, where they can build-up to toxic levels.
Excessive mineral can also be harmful.

Nutrient Possible side-effects of overconsumption

Vitamin A Cause cancers
B-vitamins Renal failure due to stress on kidneys to remove excess
Vitamin C Kill healthy cells by acting as an oxidising agent
decreases vitamin B-12
Vitamin D Atherosclerosis, bone deformation
Vitamin E Bleeding in brain
impaired immune function leading to cancers or arthritis increases
susceptibility to oxidative damage
Vitamin K Kill healthy cells by acting as an oxidising agent
Calcium Formation of gallstones
Phosphorus Osteoporosis
Iron Arthritis
high blood glucose
thyroid problems
Omega-3 Decreased ability for blood to clot
Protein Overworked kidneys, leeching of calcium from bones

Supplements have been use to rectify health problems e.g. fluoridation of water to reduce
dental caries.

x The role of the individual, community groups, the food industry,

government organisations and private agencies in promoting health

Food availability is highly complex; therefore health promotion and healthy food choices are
the responsibility of a number of agencies. Although consumers are ultimately responsible for
their individual food choices, the following agencies can provide food and nutritional
education so that consumers can make informed decisions:

Agency/group Why they are responsible How they are addressing health
The AFI x Responsible for the x Reduction of fat and energy in
supply of food from raw foods i.e. leaner meats, ‘lite’
material to packaged products, kJ reduced
product x Increased variety of foods
x Consumers rely on the x Improved food preparation
AFI for their daily food techniques/equipment e.g.
supply; therefore all

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sectors of the AFI are microwave steaming, non stick

aware of the impact food pans,
products have on health x Improved production techniques
e.g. organic farming, safe-food
x Labelling improvements i.e.
nutritional information
x Ethical marketing considerations
e.g. products for vegans
x Increased production of products
for healthier meal options e.g.
simmer sauces, stir-fry veggie
Government x Government policies are x Data analysis of the health of
organisations based on the reasoning different community groups
that it is better to promote identifies problems to be eliminated
and educate good health x Increased education through dietary
rather than placing stress guidelines and healthy eating
on the health system for targets
poor food choices x Legislation which controls
x Examples of production, manufacture of food
policies/initiatives include e.g. nutritional panels on labelling,
Healthy Weight, Your controlled used of chemicals, use of
Health, How do you GM foods
measure up?, Get set 4 x Quarantine laws to protect food
life supply
x Formation of FSANZ and the
National Health and Medical
Research council to provide info
and guidelines on all aspects of the
food supply to ensure maximum
food safety
Community x Examples such as the x Public information about diet
groups and National heart foundation related disorders e.g. osteoporosis
private agencies and Dieticians association in conjunction with the dairy
of Australia industry to promote calcium
x Use of Internet and TV consumption through dairy
media has allowed these products
groups to make nutritional x Choice magazine informs
information readily consumers about the nutritional
available to the public value of new products
x Food endorsement of healthier
options e.g. ‘Healthy-Heart Tick’ to
assist consumers kin making
healthier food choices

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x Health and the effect of heredity and role of diet in the development of
conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, food
The individual is ultimately responsible for their own food choices. However, the link
between diet, and the heredity conditions of diabetes, CVD, food allergies and intolerances
does have a significant impact on the development of dietary disorders.

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which the pancreas is unable to produce sufficient insulin
for the metabolism of blood glucose to energy. A lack of insulin causes the blood glucose
levels to rise, having detrimental effects on the eyes, kidneys, and heart and blood vessels. If
there is immediate treatment, hypoglycaemia occurs, causing the sufferer to faint, become
dizzy or even lapse into a coma under extreme cases. Such a condition is treated with a dose
of fast-absorbed carbohydrates e.g. fruit juice or jelly beans.

There is a strong link between heredity and diabetes. People with family history of diabetes
are at a greater risk of diabetes. Individuals need to control diabetes by controlling their
weight through regular exercise and consuming a balanced diet based around unrefined
grains, vegetables, fruits with low to moderate amounts of low-fat animal products e.g. lean
meats, tofu, egg white

Coronary heart disease (CVD)

CVD occurs due to the coronary arteries becoming blocked, thus preventing normal blood
flow to the heart. In terms of dietary factors, the main culprit nutrients are refined
carbohydrates (sugar, white bread, processed snack foods), trans and saturated fats, found
primarily in highly processed foods (such as hot chips fried in vegetable oil containing trans
fats) and animal products (i.e. Animal fat and butterfat from milk). Excessive consumption of
these nutrients causes atherosclerosis i.e. the hardening of the arterial walls to an
accumulation of fatty deposits. This prevents sufficient blood-flow to the heart, possibly
leading to cardiac arrest (heart attack). The obvious methods to prevent/treat the disease are a
low-fat diet.

There are hereditary risks for those with a family history of CVD. Knowledge of this can
warn individuals of the need to maintain a balanced, low-fat diet to prevent the condition.

Food Allergies and Intolerances

Food allergies are a response by the body’s immune system when it identifies a specific food
chemical (usually protein) as a foreign object. The body responds by producing antibodies to
eliminate the chemical/s, thus producing an allergic reaction (usually quite rapid; within a
few minutes/hours)) which can range from anything as mild as a simple rash, to a life-
threatening anaphylaxis. The most common allergens include milk, peanuts, fish, eggs, nuts
and gluten.

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Gluten allergy (Coeliac disease)

Coeliac disease is a condition in which the protein, gluten, found in wheat damages the
delicate lining of the small intestine. It causes the collapse of the small hair-like protrusions,
called villi, which are responsible for the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream. This
results in malabsorption of nutrients, leading to malnourishment. Symptoms of the condition
include cramping, bloating, nausea and weight loss.

Milok allergy
Milk allergy is an immune response to the milk protein casein. It is most common in infants
and children, who usually outgrow it later in life. The allergic response varies depending on
the individual, so the only way to determine this is in a strict medical environment.

Food intolerances are individual’s inability to process certain foods and can relate to any
number of food nutrients. In some cases, the intolerance may be heredity, in which case it
results in adverse side-effects, but the reaction is usually much slower than food allergies.
The gastro-intestinal tract is simply unable to produce the enzymes required to breakdown
certain foods. They are mostly related to:
-salicylates: found in plant foods, nuts, tea, coffee, juices
-monosodium glutamate (MSG: a flavour enhancer found naturally in tomatoes, soy
sauce, mushrooms; it was once a common food additive
-Lactose: the sugar found in milk and hence, many dairy products

Symptoms vary widely, common examples include:

-irritable bowel syndrome
\ -behavioural changes

Strict dietary management is the main solution. The AFI has responded to this need by
reducing the use of MSG, including additives on food labelling and providing consumers
with products to suit dietary needs e.g. lactose-free milk, gluten-free products.

Identification of food intolerance is much more difficult than a food allergy, as specific
chemical/s must be isolated. The elimination diet is a method which allows only a narrow
group of foods to be consumed. This includes foods that are unlikely to cause reactions, i.e.

-skinless poultry, veal, lamb, eggs

-sunflower and safflower oil
-potatoes, lettuce, parsley
-fresh pears or pears tinned in syrup
-rice, unprocessed bran, wheaten cornflour, arrowroot flour, potato flour
-mineral water, pear juice, soda water, instant coffee

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Once the symptoms of the intolerance subside, the offending chemicals can be isolated by
slowly reintroducing the normal diet. The suspect chemicals are known as challenges. If there
are no reactions within two days, the next challenge is introduced and so on until the
offending substances have been identified.

x Media and the impact of advertising practices on food consumption such

as the promotion of ‘health’ foods and ‘fast’ foods

Media and the impact of advertising on Food Choices

Advertising in terms of food marketing is used to persuade consumers to purchase new or
existing products. A number of factors are considered:

-health promotion: due to an increase in dietary disorder and health awareness,

through promotion of diet models e.g. the Australian dietary guidelines, marketers
aim at healthy choice and healthy body image
-targeting busy lifestyle, dual income families through promotion of convenience and
fast-foods (this presents a major advertising market)
-targeting diverse Australia through ethnic cuisines
-Promotion through community support structures e.g. Ronald McDonald House at
Westmead hospital

Fast food advertising has in the past associated healthy body image with their products. Due
to increasing health awareness, the general public no longer associates fast food with healthy
eating. This has forced fast food companies to target this change by producing new products
that cater to busy lifestyles but are still perceived by consumers to be healthier options e.g.
salad, Heart foundation Tick approved meals.

x Lifestyle and the effect of cultural and social practices such as food
taboos and levels of physical activity

Nutritional status can be affected by lifestyle, cultural and social practices.

Lifestyle choices play a significant role in health status and relate to the issues of:
-household structure and roles
-geographic location and climate
-social interactions
-education levels

In modern society, many lifestyles are highly sedentary, relying on labour-saving devices for
transportation and in the workplace. Full-time employment means many people only work

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35-40 hours per week, leaving more time for leisure actives. However, increased technology
means these are mostly passive activities such as watching television or playing on the

Western society needs to have an awareness of the necessity to eat a balanced diet, which is
not too high in energy. Some employers are addressing these issues by providing exercise
equipment, healthy canteens or corporate gym memberships. Awareness of the need to
moderate energy intake could also be raised through advertising by health groups

Cultural Practices
In terms of culture, the acceptance of nutritional practices is due to instilled values, attitudes
and beliefs. Due to the ever-increasing ethnic diversity within Australia, food habits and
choices are more diverse and acceptable than in other societies.

In addition, due to improved and diverse cooking methods, Australians are consuming foods
prepared using healthier methods e.g. stir frying, use of herbs and spices to reduce need for
additional salt and artificial flavourings.

Religion, through tradition and festivals, plays a large part in the types of food consumed and
the preparation techniques used. Usually, this involves food taboos. In Australian society,
food taboos include:

-Christian groups eat fish on Good Fridays

-Catholics may eat fish on Fridays
-Hindus do not eat beef
-Muslims and Jews avoid pork products
-Jews only eat ‘Kosher products’ and cannot eat milk and meat together
-Muslims abstain from food and drink in light hours during the Ramadan festival

Ion some cases, these food restrictions have led to the formation of food organisations to
produce foods to suit these religious beliefs. For example, Sanitarium has improved the
nutritional statues of individuals due to its promotion of health and vegetarian foods, in
addition to provision of nutrition and health education

Social Practices
Many social gathering revolve around the sharing of food and drink in order to create a
relaxed social environment. In Australia, the natural environment means that many social
gatherings are centred in the outdoors e.g. picnics & barbeques. Such social gatherings

-children’s birthday party

-Cocktail party
-Dinner party
-After work drinks
-Workplace morning tea
-Restaurant dining
-Family celebration
-Friend’s house

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Food manufactures have responded by producing foods suitable for outdoor stations e.g.
promotion of fish and poultry with marinades for variety. Seafood is replacing the hot roast
meal as the Christmas meal.

Alcohol consumption, especially at social gatherings is another issue. Although alcohol

consumption in moderation is acceptable and is even thought to be beneficial by some health
authorities (particularly red wines, which are believed to be rich in antioxidants that
neutralise free radicals), frequent overconsumption may led to malabsorption of
micronutrients, neurological damage and there are social impacts on the individual’s family
and work performance.

The establishment of food courts in shopping centres has encouraged the consumption of fast
food. This has encourage the eating of fast foods as part of a social meeting, which has
caused detriment to the overall health of Australians.

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