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  • Writer's pictureKathy Ozakovic

PRESENTATION QUESTIONS ANSWERED: Why Diets & Detoxes DON'T Work and What You Should Do Instead

My absolute favorite topic to share! In fact, there is a video up on my VIMEO page all about this topic! Check it out HERE

In two sentences:

  1. Modern day diets & detoxes cut out a lot of food groups unnecessarily, result in low fibre intake, offer trendy protein shakes and don't teach you how to keep the weight off long term

  2. As a result of the above, you starve your gut bugs (microbes), under fuel/under nourish your body, gain all the weight back and more!

Following the presentation (WATCH HERE) there were a lot of questions! I took the time to answer ALL of them. So I thought for everyone's benefit I would create this blog post answering those questions. So, let's get stuck into it:

What is Metagenics?

Metagenics is my choice of supplements because they are a leading Natural Science Supplements Company in Australia. They are a practitioner only supplement company meaning that you can not find them over the counter. I compare and critique my clients’ current supplement choices to Metagenics to let them know whether their current supplements are quality products.

For example, Inner Health Plus (probiotics you can find at any chemist or supplement store) use Metagenes strains of bacteria. However, inner health plus often dilutes the concentration of the bacterial strains meaning that you will have to consume a larger amount to get the clinical benefits.

GP says he is a holistic healer. Do you work with GPs?

Absolutely. Holistic healers, integrative GPs, lifestyle medicine practitioners are all important and we work together to implement care plans. General Practitioners receive about 1 semester of nutrition knowledge. This is why the Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics exists. There is simply not enough time in a 15min GP consult and not enough time in a GP’s day to understand the complexities of a persons relationship with food.

GPs can put in place EPC plans (Enhanced Primary Care Plans) to enable MEDICARE rebates. Regardless of these plans, dietitians are recognised by most private health funds for rebates. Just check online if your particular plan covers dietetics. I encourage my clients to use both their MEDICARE and health fund benefits

Is that why they say Follow your gut feelings?

I love that someone picked up on this. Although when the phrase was developed we maybe didn’t know the mechanisms, YES! Your gut is connected to your brain via the VAGUS NERVE. It is a direct bidirectional highway. Those butterflies you feel when nervous, they are traveling to your tummy from your brain! I can’t say what comes first. It is all connected!

What we eat impacts the way we think and feel. What we think and feel impacts the way we digest foods as well as hormone responses! Your brain send signals to your gut. Follow your instinct. Follow your gut feeling. Follow your heart. Be cautious of your head. The head has so much going on. So if we take time to tune into our body the answers to many difficult situations will come naturally. We need to eat right to enable these pathways to work for us. READ MORE HERE

So is it as simple as rebalancing the gut flora with probiotics?

No. Probiotics are only part of the equation. This is why I share my top 3 tips for good gut health: Focusing on fibre, Variety of Plant based Foods, Drinking Enough Water. Amongst these top 3 tips within focusing on fibre and variety, come probiotics. Many of us will experience upset tummies when increasing fibres because we don’t have the little gut bug machines to break down these fibres! Once we reintroduce them, we need to keep feeding them!

Furthermore, to ensure our ecosystem of gut bugs is maintained at its prime we need to also balance stress levels (stress also kills gut bugs!), healthy sleep habits, sunshine, grounding, meditation, exercise, time in nature. Sorry, it’s never as simple as popping a pill.

What is the science around 16/8 intermittent fasting and does it work?

This is a complex question as the research is ongoing. What they have found is that we need to do a lot more research to determine the ideal protocol of fasting for each person. Most likely it is different for everyone. Although there are benefits to fasting, these benefits are seen in any caloric deficit/ weight loss regime. Therefore, fasting is a strategy.

The 16/8 IF is one type of fasting. It is no better than any other type of fasting. It is probably more realistic and achievable than some other regimes out there. Is fasting for you - is the real question.

I had a client say “I have tried everything and nothing works. I’ve even tried fasting 16/8 and I can do it but I am just so hungry afterwards that I eat everything in sight” What you need to ask yourself is, how is this regime serving you and your goals? If it is not serving you, let go and move forward. Learn from the experience. Essentially, it works if you stick to it and it is much more about what you do during the other 8 hours. I also want to highlight that most people FAST EVERY NIGHT between 8pm and 8am when they are sleeping!

How do you manage gut health and the need to be on specific medication to manage your wellbeing?

Great question. With specific chronic diseases come specific medications which may cause some side effects and many do in fact influence our gut microbiome. This is why it is important for me to ask about medications as well as any clinical symptoms clients many be experiencing. This will guide my recommendations with both nutrition and supplements to help ease the symptoms and balance the gut microbiome.

If you are not hungry, should you not eat?

This depends on the individual. I encourage my clients to have regular meals throughout the day as this stabilises blood glucose levels (sugars in the blood). This ensures a steady release of energy and no “crash” effect at 3pm. Also, very often if you are “not hungry” and don’t eat, more likely that you will just overeat later! The strategies put in place in a nutrition care plan depend on the individual, their work environment, what is realistic and achievable for them. If they are not hungry at their regular meal time due to lost appetite (which may occur due to stress) I may encourage small nourishing snacks such as a handful of nuts or a yoghurt and piece of fruit.

How do you encourage kids to eat vegetables the refuse to eat? How do you get kids to expand their choices?

I’ve combined these two questions. I encourage you to follow for some great tips on introducing foods to children. I understand there are many factors to consider but let’s be honest – until I experience this myself, I cannot preach!

There are resource guides to help me guide parents. Try and try again is one of the things we were always told at university. It takes something like 30 attempts for children to get accustomed to new tastes. The first 2 years of a child’s development are most important in introducing flavours.

Some more tips include:

  • Use their language! What appeals to them? Jump higher, run faster, read louder, get stronger...

  • Eat dinner together at a dining table without distractions (tv/ phones/ ipads)

  • Let children plate up themselves (their stomach is a lot smaller than ours!)

  • Encourage children to help with cooking

  • Give them options to choose from (eg. green or red capsicum in your salad)

  • Reward systems using stickers but try not to reward with food! Try something like, 5 stars and you get to choose the park we go to on the weekend!

What are the 30 different plant types?

There are over 20,000 species of edible plants in the world yet fewer than 20 species now provide 90% of our food! Research has shown eating 30+ different plant based foods throughout the week ensures our gut microbiome is varied (like the great barrier reef at it’s prime!)

What counts? Fruits, Vegetables, Beans and Legumes, Lentils, Nuts and Seeds, Wholegrains, Herbs and Spices. They all count! Even different TYPES of same species count. For example, a red delicious apple provides slightly different nutrients and fibres to a granny smith green apple!

Suddenly it becomes more manageable to achieve 30 different plant based foods in the week. The danger is that as humans we are creatures of habit and get stuck in a rut of eating carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce. We continue to rotate these often. The food industry will provide what people seek. Therefore, we are very good at narrowing our own choices! Make sure you choose something unusual each week you go to the grocery store!

Red apple, green apple, pink lady, green pear, brown pear, mandarin, orange, banana, dragon fruit, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, kiwi berries, golden kiwi, green kiwi, mango, yellow/ white nectarine, peach, figs, dates, pomegranate, Lettuce iceberg, rocket, spinach, kale, onions red/brown/white, sweet/white/charisma/red desire potatoes, corn, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, vine tomatoes, grape tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, kent/ butternut pumpkin, squash, red/yellow/green capsicum, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, carrots, fennel, chickpeas, white beans, red kidney beans, black beans, brown/ red lentils, butter beans, peas...

How many gut bugs do we have?

Overall, we are outnumbered! For every 1 human cell we have 10 bacterial cells. Specifically ‘gut bugs’ - About 100 trillion bacteria, both good and bad, live inside your digestive system.

However, we as humans are designed to be carnivores, are you suggesting we give up meat and protein?

What a great question. Protein plays many vital roles in the body and it is known that individuals who lack protein suffer disease. However, the reason many thrive on a plant based diet (done right) is because there are many plant based sources of protein. These include tofu (from soy) and peas which are a complete source of protein. This means it delivers all 8 essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein). Essential means we need to get them from food because our body cannot produce them or cannot produce enough of them.

Am I advocating for a completely plant based diet? That would be very hypocritical of me. I too enjoy my animal sources of protein in the right amounts for my requirements and to maintain my health. I am however definitely advocating for a plant dominant dietary pattern which is both environmentally more sustainable and better for our health. This is nothing new. This has always been known. The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating and Dietary Guidelines have always promoted this sort of a dietary pattern of eating. We now have more research to understand why the Mediterranean diet comes out on top time and time again. The traditional Mediterranean diet only recommends red meat monthly!

"We are designed to be carnivores" I would encourage you to think about evolution. Survival of the fittest. Humans have also evolved. We are much more knowledgeable about the impact plant based vs meat based diets have on our health and thus have the opportunity to live longer. The 'Carnivore diet' is a bit of a scam... Back in our hunter gatherer times, humans actually ate very little meat and up to 150g fibre daily! This was because 1 in every 20 hunts were successful so we actually relied on PLANTS! To put this into perspective, the average Australian gets about 20g-25g Fibre daily and our recommendations are 25-30g.

If you only eat meat are you a meegan?

Hah! Good one. Your insides would be looking like a bleached coral reef.

I heard eating meat is the most efficient way of eating greens because the cow has already digested the greens

Ah, actually we need both raw and cooked vegetables. Unfortunately, eating meat and thinking we are digesting grass is sadly not going to give us the benefits of digesting greens

ourselves! READ MORE HERE

Do you work with allergies?

If allergic to a food – avoid the food. Allergies are a different mechanism in the body to intolerances. I work with people with FODMAPs sensitivities through strengthening the gut lining and reintroducing certain foods. In terms of intolerances, an elimination diet may be necessary to figure out the intolerance. I can guide people with this. However, if you suspect intolerance and need an elimination diet: Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Allergy Unit is the way to go!

What about sugars in plant based foods? With plant based foods and sugars what if you need a lower carb intake. What can we eat?

Individuals requirements will vary. A 'lower carb intake' is relative to the individual. This is why it is so important to have a consultation instead of attempting your own diets without guidance! Ensure you are reaching your requirements, following the recommendations for health and on top of that meeting your individuals needs for any existing or preventing of chronic disease.

Your GP may have told you to reduce carbohydrates because of rising blood glucose levels not actually knowing its actually your meal pattern and choice of carbohydrates that is affecting your health... Most people feel better 'cutting carbs' because most of their carbohydrates are processed foods like pastries, refined grains, cookies.

Sugars in plant based foods are natural sugars. Our brain uses 120g sugar DAILY. However, it

is much more beneficial and important to obtain this from wholesome foods as we will also be ingesting antioxidants, polyphenols and fibre which will keep us happy and healthy in the long run.

For the general public it is recommended to limit fruit juices and dried fruit as these are very concentrated forms of natural sugar (even if there is no added sugar) 1⁄2 cup fruit juice

counts as 1 serving of fruit and is not recommended daily but occasionally. It is recommended to limit these because of the affect on blood glucose levels. This can be very useful for athletes, not so much for the general public!

Lower carb options of fruit include passionfruit, berries, papaya. Most of the time people

cut out carbs and do more damage. We need to make sure you get the right types in the right amounts, spread out throughout the day to ensure a steady level of sugar in your blood for energy. No one wants to deal with a HANGRY person because of low blood sugar levels...

When we ask our doctors for a referral, what information do we provide to them?

Process to obtain GP referral for a dietitian:

  1. Visit your GP and do a routine blood test. Make sure she/he includes to check: FBC, BGL, Cholesterol, B12, vitamin D, Iron studies (to cover all basis and have a baseline of bloods so we can measure progress) It would be useful to book in a discovery call and talk to me about any other specific tests we might want your GP to include depending on your medical history

  2. Ask your GP/ Reception to send the blood test results to myself via email:

  3. Ask if you can have an EPC referral to see a dietitian on the basis of... IBS symptoms/ high cholesterol/ BGLs/ Overweight/Obesity/or anything of your concern regarding nutrition - some GPs may find this enough others may want to wait to see your blood test results


APD Kathy Ozakovic

Provider Number 5544143W

APD number 182106

11/22 Phillips Road Kogarah NSW 2217

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