Poor protein sources behind Australia's obesity problems: CSIRO

CANBERRA, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Australians trying to lose weight are often eating the wrong type of proteins, according to data released by the country's peak scientific body on Monday.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) released data on Monday which showed that poor-quality protein was stunting healthy weight loss in Australia, a country where more than 60 percent of the population is rated as "overweight" or "obese."

Analysis from the CSIRO Healthy Diet Score survey reported that Australians with low-quality diets are more than three times as likely to be obese as those who consumed high quality food.

The nation's largest nutrition study, which comprised almost 200,000 adults, suggested eight times as many Australians were obtaining protein from junk foods as they were from healthy foods.

The CSIRO analysis showed that junk foods, such as pies, burgers, pizza with processed meats, chicken nuggets, sausages, cakes, ice cream and biscuits, were the second highest contributor to protein intake for people with low diet scores.

In contrast, leaner people who tended to have higher-quality diets ate protein sourced from healthier whole foods, including chicken, red meat, fish, eggs, milk, cereals, nuts and yoghurt, and junk food only accounted for approximately 3 percent of their total protein intake.

CSIRO Principal Research Scientist Manny Noakes said on Monday that everyone's protein needs were different, and not all foods that contained protein were good for you.

"The current recommendations for protein intake underestimate protein requirements during weight loss - the latest science suggests eating 1.2-1.6 grams per kilogram of bodyweight for optimal weight loss.

"Often a relatively low figure of suggested protein intake is quoted for an average weight man or woman. However, most Australians are far from average with more than 60 percent of us being overweight or obese.

"Our research also shows that many people are not getting their protein from healthy foods."

The survey was conducted following a 2017 report from the Australian government Institute of Health and Welfare that found "nearly two-thirds of Australian adults are overweight or obese, with the proportion of obese adults continuing to rise."

Noakes and CSIRO have engineered a free online protein calculator to provide a tailored estimate of how much protein and the types of protein needed to support healthy weight loss.

"As science advances, we are seeing the benefits of taking a more personalized approach to health and nutrition," Noakes said.

"By calculating your personal protein needs for healthy weight loss you may be able to more successfully achieve your weight loss goals."

A CSIRO review of the latest scientific evidence in January found support for the recommendation to eat at least 25 grams of protein at each main meal to help control hunger and enhance muscle metabolism.

[ Editor: WPY ]


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