Good Habits Gone Bad: How To Avoid Unhealthy Food Fads

Have you ever noticed that healthy eating isn’t necessarily leading to weight loss? Some foods which are disguised as nutritious, sugar-free, and fat-free, could actually be containing other nasties which lead to imminent weight gain.

RELATED: The Hybrid Food Trend

Don’t believe us? SHESAID enlisted the help of Australia’s number one fitness guru, Guy Leech, to discuss the food trends that we should be avoiding for weight loss.


With so many “juice cleanses” on the market it’s hard not to think that drinking juice all day is good for you.  Guy points out, though, that even 100 per cent freshly pressed juice still contains a heap of sugar and hardly any fibre when compared to whole fruits.

“Try to keep your juice drinking to one cup per day,” he advises.  “Particularly when paired with fresh vegetables, juices are a great way to consume nutrients, however sipping on juice all day is a really easy way to stock up on the calories.”

Another thing to remember is that pre-packaged juices are nutritionally similar to soft drinks, so the best way to consume juice is by juicing your own fruit at home. That way you know exactly what’s in it.

 When Good Habits Go Bad: How To Avoid Unhealthy Food Fads


If packed with the right stuff, smoothies can be a great way to consume a whole lot of nutrients in the one hit. However, smoothies can go from good to bad real fast warns the fitness guru. “Just like making your own muesli, it’s better if you whip up your own healthy smoothie from home,” he advises.  Many store bought smoothies contain ice-cream, high sugar yoghurt and even artificially flavoured syrups.

 When Good Habits Go Bad: How To Avoid Unhealthy Food Fads

Raw food diets

“I’m all for eating food in its most natural state,” says Leech.  “Raw food diets are generally very fresh fruit and vegetable heavy and discourage the consumption of processed foods, which is excellent,” he adds.  Guy points out, however, that cooking food can be more nutritious and at times even safer.

“The lycopene in tomato and the beta-carotene in carrots are released during cooking,” he insists. “Furthermore, cooked foods can be easier to digest and cooking meat and fish kills certain bacteria that could otherwise result in an upset tummy or in extreme cases, food poisoning.”

When Good Habits Go Bad: How To Avoid Unhealthy Food Fads

Almond milk

Almonds are full of nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, potassium, iron and calcium and are reported to help lower cholesterol and improve digestive health, needless to say Leech is a huge fan of them. Likewise, he considers almond milk to be an excellent cow’s milk alternative, especially for using in smoothies and as an accompaniment to homemade muesli. He does, however, warn that there are a couple of drawbacks.

“Almond milk doesn’t have as much calcium or protein as cow’s milk,” he points out.  “Processed almond milk can also be packed with extra sugar and preservatives, so make sure you read the ingredients and nutrition panel carefully,” he advises.  Fresh is always best though, so Leech recommends buying a nut milk bag, blending up some fresh almonds and making your own nutritious almond milk from home.

 When Good Habits Go Bad: How To Avoid Unhealthy Food Fads


Cleverly marketed to the health conscious crowd, muesli can be packed with goodness while also being chock full of fat and sugar. “Many people think they’re doing the right thing by swapping up their sugary cereals or fatty fried breakfasts for a portion of muesli in the mornings,” says Leech.

And, according to the health guru, the type of muesli on the shelves today provides a poor choice for those looking to shed fat and maintain a healthy weight. Instead of giving up muesli completely, Guy suggests making it yourself.

When Good Habits Go Bad: How To Avoid Unhealthy Food Fads

Images via Gimme Some Oven, Raw Food Lifestyle, Health Fitness Revolution

May 9, 2015

Top Food Trends for 2015

Culinary trends are on par with clothes trends, in that they change with every season. One minute you’re social media feed is packed full of kale salads, the next bone broth soups are popping up. When Australia’s leading chefs came together at the Taste of Sydney festival last month, there were a number of new and exciting food trends emerging that we just had to share.

RELATED: Meet The New Supermarket Superfoods

Provided by Electrolux, here is a list of some of the most prominent ways you’ll be enjoying, sourcing – and cooking – your food this year.


It’s time to toss away that ketchup and those packaged marinades, because this year it’s all about flavour and bringing food back to basics. “People want to see real food cooked properly. They don’t want molecular anymore. They just want flavour,” says My Kitchen Rules judge and owner of restaurant Four In Hand, Colin Fassnidge.

If you’re not much of the DIY cook, take a tip from Monopole, Bentley and Yellow chef Brent Savage, and try blanching some mint leaves and blitzing with some olive oil and vegetable oil for a simple, yet delicious minty dressing. The best part about creating your own sauce is you know exactly what goes in, therefore it’s preservative free and nutritious – depending on what you decide to incorporate, of course!

Fresh, seasonal produce

Recently, via your social media feed, you may have noticed everyone’s taking a trip to the famers markets and stocking up on fresh produce. Well, 2015 is proving to be the year of sustainability and growing your own. No one wants snap frozen vegetables and frozen goods from the supermarket anymore, instead people are opting for locally sourced produce, freshly caught fish and DIY vegie and herb gardens. The savings are enormous in comparison, not to mention fresh produce is more nutrient dense.

So, what’s the ultimate ingredient to incorporate into your cooking this Autumn? Massimo Mele from La Scala on Jersey says kale. Just when we thought the dark green vegetable had had its moment.

Using the whole animal

Obviously for vegans and vegetarians this definitely doesn’t apply, but for all of those meat eaters out there, it seems that cooking your meat whole is the best technique – and the latest trend – for achieving the most tender and moist result. While you’re most likely to come across this method at restaurants, carving a whole pig was recently demonstrated at the Taste of Sydney festival by chefs Colin Fassnidge and Carla Jones, and seemed relatively doable at home or at a barbecue with the right tools.

We’re not exactly sure how this one will go down via social media, but we can only imagine it would taste pretty darn good.

Taste of Sydney, Electrolux, Food Trends, 2015 Food Trends, Sustainable Food, Charcoal, DIY

Cooking over charcoal

Who’d have thought we would eventually resort back to cooking over an open fire pit? It’s probably because cooking over charcoal produces the most tender, mouth-watering and aromatic meat there is. This type of cooking method has quickly become the go-to for slow roasting beef and pork among restaurants, and is also becoming quite popular at home thanks to the revival of the webber.

So what’s the secret to cooking great tasting meat? According to the guys at Surry Hills restaurant Porteño, just use “good produce, smoke and heaps of salt.”

Lean cuisine

No, we’re not referring to microwave meals available in the supermarket, we’re talking about the new wave of healthy eating trends such as ceviche – an appertiser of fresh fish marinated in citrus juices. Think simple, fresh and lean, and plate up with things like lime juice, sea salt and DIY jalapeño chilli. “It’s the ultimate protein one-hit course, it’s good for you, it’s healthy, it’s lean cuisine,” says executive chef at Saké Shaun Presland of its benefits.

Images via Electrolux and Shutterstock

April 12, 2015

Is Clean Eating Just Another Fad? 

With celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Kim Kardashian jumping on the bandwagon, there’s no wonder why clean eating has become so popular over the last few years.

But what exactly is clean eating and is it doing your body more harm in the long-run?

RELATED: What Is The High Fat Diet?

What is clean eating?

Clean eating can basically mean whatever you want it to; anything from vegan, raw vegan, paleo, or simply sticking to the essentials and eating food in it’s primal, natural state. Unlike other food trends or diets, clean eating doesn’t really have many outlines – it’s more of a ‘monkey-see, monkey-do’ type of approach.

How many times have you been trolling through the Instagram feed and seen a relatively healthy meal with the hashtags clean eating, vegan or foodie under the description? Probably too many to count.

Are there any positives?

Generally, health professionals do agree that clean eating of course has its benefits. Although, most nutritionists will agree that going on any extreme diet won’t benefit your body, since it is never a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Even though your body might be receiving enough vegetables and plant-based nutrients from a cleaner diet, what about the good fats and natural sugars that this diet often neglects? Especially if you are already suffering from an existing health condition which can have severe repercussions on your overall wellbeing.

Is social media to blame?

The rise of the social media star doesn’t just end with the Kim Kardashian’s of the world. A number of Australian personalities such as FreeLee the Banana Girl and Kayla Itsines, who not only track their own progress online, but encourage it through their eating and workout plans.

Many critics and health professionals have been quick to attack these ladies since they seemingly have no tertiary education about nutrition or health (Kayla Itsines is a qualified, and practising Personal Trainer). With millions of followers between these ladies and a number of eating plans, e-books and diets between them, should we be regulating the online health and fitness industry a little more closely?

Just a little food for thought… What do you think about clean eating?

Image via Your Pace Setter

March 9, 2015

Top 5 Dieting Myths Dispelled

Is your head swarming with conflicting healthy eating and nutritional advice from your GP, personal trainer, friendship circle and more? It can be very hard to ascertain what’s right and complete bunkum when it comes to food, glorious food.

RELATED: Kickstart A New You With A 30-Day Dietitian Plan

Never fear, dear reader: here, leading Sydney dietician/nutritionist and author Susie Burrell, who just launched her new program: Shape Me, The 30 Day Plan, sorts fact from fiction when it comes to what we should – and should not – be putting in our mouths as we embark on a healthier, happier 2015.

Myth 1: Is eating bread really the antichrist? What if I’m trying to lose weight?

It’s not the bread, but which type and what we have it with that’s the problem. For example, thick Turkish toast with butter, or massive sandwiches and large wraps which can be equivalent to four slices of regular bread. You can easily lose weight with two small slices of Burgen Soy-Lin or lower carb bread each day.

weight-loss tips, dieting myths, bread

Myth 2: Am I failing at life if, like celebrity Sarah Wilson, I can’t give up sugar?

The thing with Wilson’s “quitting sugar” campaign is that it is based on a random set of rules and beliefs which mean you don’t quit sugar at all, but rather restrict a number of key foods that reduce carbs and calories significantly. And severe restriction always leads to deprivation and binging. A more sustainable and healthy approach is to simply cut out processed foods.

weight-loss tips, dieting myths, bread

Myth 3: Celebrity chef Pete Evans has his own TV show advocating the paleo diet. Is this now the fastest and healthiest way to lose weight?

Any diet will work if people stick to it and a couple of issues with the paleo diet is the cutting out of key food groups which can mean some nutrient groups like calcium and our B group vitamins suffer and for most people it is very difficult to sustain. I would argue, based on research, that a Mediterranean approach with lots and lots of vegetables is the healthiest way to lose weight.

weight-loss tips, dieting myths, bread

Myth 4: My GP says I should eat three big meals a day and nothing more. Is this the best way to keep the weight off?

Healthy eating is about finding out whatever works best for you, but less snacking with three-to-four meals and nothing in between is a good way to control calories and reduce the intake of little extras through the day.

snacking, healthy, weight loss, protein

Myth 5: Are treat days a slippery slope to obesity? Are treats only for toddlers, not adults?

Have treat meals, not treat days! Treat meals can include one-to-two a week and one extra – not a binge! Treat meals don’t have to spell dieting disaster. In fact, a well-structured cheat meal can help you overcome weight-loss plateaus. And, most importantly, remember it is a cheat meal, not a cheat day or a binge!

The Ultimate Chocolate Muffin Dessert

Susie Burrell’s new e-book Change Your Mindset And Lose Weight Fast: The Motivation You Need To Lose Weight is packed full of info and advice on finding and keeping your motivation, getting psychologically ready to take control of your weight and more. Visit Visit

Image via

January 24, 2015

Celebrity Diets: Making Sense of the Latest Weight Loss Trends

Quit sugar. Go gluten-free. Banish carbs. Eat organic. Shun dairy. Only eat raw. Stock up on superfoods. Have plenty of fibre. Give red meat the flick…is your head spinning yet?

One week it’s “stop eating X” and the next it’s “only eat Y”, so if you’re more than a little confused about what you should be eating, then don’t worry because you’re not alone. Celebrities are spruiking diets and cookbooks more than ever now, and with most providing real evidence of the benefits they can seem very compelling. But how can all of them be right? If someone was to follow all the different advice what’s left to eat? Air?

Obviously it’s not possible to carry out all these varied diets at once without starving and putting your health at risk (especially when they’re not short-term fad diets but ones for life – like Gwyneth Paltrow and her gluten-free gospel). So if you don’t have any food intolerances or medical conditions, and are simply looking to improve your general health and wellbeing, then which diet is the best to sink your teeth into?

According to Lauren McGuckin, accredited practising dietitian and spokesperson for the Dieticians Association of Australia, there is no ‘magic bullet’ solution because our dietary needs are as unique as we are, and diets which point the finger at one particular food group or dietary component (such as carbs, sugar or gluten) simply cause confusion.

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there. Blaming one particular dietary element as the cause for weight gain or other health issues is often not the answer and eliminating whole food groups can lead to nutritional shortfalls,” says Lauren.

“For the general population these often-drastic measures are also of little to no benefit, and because of their restrictiveness and the effort required to stick to the plan, they often aren’t sustainable.”

It appears many of these celebrity diets are also misleading in their portrayal, such as the gluten-free diet (which is really a low-carb diet in disguise), and going sugar-free.

“You don’t see results from the ‘no sugar’ diet specifically because you cut out sugar; it’s the act of eating less processed, sugar-containing foods and replacing them with lower calorie wholefoods that has the effect,” says Lauren. “Sugary processed foods and drinks, such as soft-drinks and lollies, are often also high in saturated fat and energy and are a major contribution to weight gain; so limiting these has always been a core dietary recommendation.”

So what do we do then? What should we be eating? According to the experts, there is no sexy solution and the answer is what most of us already know – forget the hype and get back to basics.

Here are some of Lauren’s top tips for eating well for life:

1. Follow Australian Dietary Guidelines
Eat plenty of fruit and veg; lean meat, poultry and seafood; low-fat diary; wholegrain/high fibre breads and cereals; drink plenty of water; and limit alcohol and foods high in saturated fat, added sugars and added salt.

2. Be individual and realistic
Tailor eating to your nutritional and health needs, and to fit with your lifestyle so you can maintain the diet for life.

3. Don’t cut out carbs
They’re a major source of fibre and other important vitamins and minerals. If you want to shed excess weight though, try halving your carbohydrate servings (e.g. cereals, bread, pasta, rice and potatoes).

4. Cook meals from scratch
You’ll reduce salt and sugar content, lessen the chances of additives/preservatives, be able to control the fat content, and improve your food quality by using fresh, top notch ingredients.

5. Eat fresh and unprocessed when you can
Less chemicals, additives and preservatives; and more satisfying as the stomach has to work more to digest wholefoods.

6. Be smart about fat – limit total fat intake for a slimmer waistline, but ensure you include vegetable-based fat sources for a healthy heart (e.g. nuts, avocado and olive oil).

7. Reduce your sugar intake
Limit the amount of sugary foods and added sugar you eat, particularly if you’re diabetic or watching your weight.

8. Eat the rainbow
No need to search for strange superfoods: there are cheaper ones already in your kitchen or garden. Eat foods with different (natural) colours to broaden the types of antioxidants you’re getting.

If your diet could do with a ‘tune-up’ or you suspect you might have a food intolerance, visit the Dieticians Association of Australia or see your GP.

Susan Taylor muses about life at One Woman Circus.

October 10, 2013