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Written by Catherine Saxelby on Friday, 19 June 2009.
Tagged: food trends, foodie, health, healthy eating, nutrition, review, trends, wellness

Catherine comments
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I'm often contacted by journalists and media for a comment or to give my take on a hot new issue. Or to review a new diet book that's just been published. Here I've summarised the latest things I've said in magazines, radio, TV and online.

It's my opinion on everything from the obesity crisis to cutting back on sugar to eating Raw.

Sugar in breakfast cereals

I cover the pros and cons for cutting back on the sugar content of cereals. And list my 4 criteria for judging a "healthy cereal" eg added sugar, fibre, how much wholegrains and salt.

Post by Jaymie Hooper for Body ‘n’ Soul 1 Nov 2020

 Barley mylk soon to be a trend

I chat to Jaymie Hooper about the nutritional merits of this new barley mylk, an alt-milk that may soon rival almond and oat mylks.

Post by Jaymie Hooper for Body ‘n’ Soul 7 August 2020

How have diets and health trends shifted over the past 30 years

From ancient grains to Paleo diets, I cover the major trends from the perspective of Nutrition for Life, a pioneering book first published in 1986 (over 30 years ago!) I am described as a "veteran nutritionist".

Post by Nicola Heath for SBS Food website 3 July 2020

Hemp in food – healthy or just hip?

Since being legalised for consumption in Australia in late 2017, hemp has been appearing in more and more food products. Now you can readily buy hemp seeds, hemp hearts, hemp oil or hemp flour to add to your own food. So does hemp live up to the hype, asks Rachel Clemons.

Interview by Rachel Clemons for Choice online 25 June 2020

Bulletproof coffee and chaga coffee

I chat to Lisa and give my thoughts on bulletproof coffee and chaga (a type of fungus) coffee as she seeks ways to boost her energy without caffeine.

Interview by Lisa Leong for ABC RN 11 May 2020

Oat mylk under scrutiny

Oat mylk is the vegan milk-alternative du jour. In the US, oat mylk has surpassed almond milk as the fastest-growing dairy alternative. Here Rachel looks at the pros and cons of oat mylk, how it's made, and what to know before including it in your diet.

Interview by Rachel Clemons for Choice online 12 March 2020

Kombucha needs better standards and testing

I chat with Today Tonight who are calling for better standards and more science for the health claims made by the various kombucha drinks. 

Interview by David Richardson for Today Tonight Current Affairs TV program 29 Oct 2019

Companion cuts through wellness trends hype

I demystify the type around keto, vegan, Raw and sugar-free diets whilst talking about my latest book the Food and Nutrition Companion, which is an A to Z guide and handy reference tool.

  image Interview by Raylene Bliss for the Inner-West Courier 10 July 2018 (228 KB)

Navel gazing:  What exactly is in our food?

Labels and lists of ingredients can tell us a lot about what is in our food but understanding them isn’t always easy. Here I help out food writer Richard Cornish work his way through the maze of info on a basic can of baked beans from the Best-Before date to the Nutrition Information Panel. Along the way, he looks at food additives, health claims, invisible ingredients, energy, protein and carbohydrates.

Good Food Guide for Sydney Morning Herald and The Age 21 Nov 2017

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Defining milk ... or mylk? 

In an era of lactose intolerance and anti-dairy sentiment, cow’s milk has become increasingly unpopular. And with the recent complaints by dairy farmers that alternatives like almond milk should not be labelled 'milk', I talk about where milk begins and ends. Plus the health benefits (or not) of alternatives from soy, almond, oat, rice or coconut.

Interview by Jonathan Green for ABC Radio National 13 Oct 2017

Is a healthy diet expensive?

It's a common belief that healthy foods are more expensive, regardless of the evidence. Plus a lot of people are spending more money on products with a “health halo” – where you pay a premium for foods with exaggerated but legal claims, for example, but there's little evidence that they're better nutritionally. Here I talk about those foods that manufacturers love as they jump on this bandwagon to create products with “benefits” and charge more for them.

Interview by Rachel Clemons for Choice online 22 September 2017

Scanner for checking fresh produce

Channel 9 News previews a new pocket-sized scanner gadget that claims it can help shoppers purchase fresher food and work out the fat and protein content for meat, chicken, fish and cheese. But I believe while it’s a useful tool, it won’t replace the sight, smell and touch test. And at a cost of US$299 (A$381), it’s still a big investment.

Interview by Vicki Jardim Channel 9 News 14 Aug 2017

Plant mylks setting the trend

In this article, I warn about using plant mylks (almond, oat, rice or soy mylk) as regular replacement for cow’s milk. Unless they’re fortified, they are low in protein and calcium and not suitable for teenagers, pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers”,  I say. “By all means enjoy them as a sideline but it’s not the same nutritionally as having a glass of dairy milk.” To be sure, you can check the nutrition panel. In the Per 100mL column, you need to see 75 to 120mg of calcium per 100mL to match regular milk.

Interview by Olga de Moeller for The West Australian 11 Jan 2017

The truth about kombucha (and how to make it)

I chat about the pros and cons of kombucha, an oddly-refreshing fermented tea drink that tastes “a bit like rancid pineapple juice”. There’s not much research into this fermentation process that has a lot in common with home-brewing beer or making sourdough bread.

Interview by Alex McClintock for Blueprint for Living on ABC Online 8 Oct 2016

Why gluten-free may not be a healthy choice

Avoiding gluten may be the health fad of the moment, but there’s nothing healthy about many of the products labelled ‘gluten-free'. Here I outline how gluten gives baked foods elasticity and structure, so gluten-free substitutes are full of fibres such as carboxymethylcellulose and stabilising gums like xanthan or guar. Many have less fibre, more additives, are refined and processed, cost more, don’t taste as good and just aren’t worth the calories.

Interview by Mihal Greener for SBS Life 19 Sep 2016

Protein 101 for vegetarians  (how to make a lentil burger) 

Catherine Saxelby Comments PrttIn his book ‘My Year Without Meat’, food writer Richard Cornish describes the basics of protein for nutritional needs and interviews me about the four other key nutrients we get from meat, chicken and fish - iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and omega-3s.

Interview by Richard Cornish for Good Food 23 Aug 2016

Raw food diet pros and cons: Does cooking food destroy its goodness?

Read more detail to decide if a Raw Diet is for you. Better outcomes come from an 80 per cent raw OR “Raw Before Four” concept both of which maximize your intake of salads, green smoothies, spiralised and fermented veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds. Don’t equate a raw diet with vegan – rawists can still eat raw meat, raw fish and raw milk (where permitted). It all depends on which philosophy you wish to follow. I make the point that cooking has advantages too as it makes some nutrients more bio-available and kills otherwise harmful pathogens.

Interview by Tegan Osborne for ABC Health & Wellbeing 6 June 2016

Edible weeds that are safe to eat and how you can use them

Weeds by definition are unwanted and wild. But what you may not know is that some of the main common culprits are actually edible and quite nutritious. In this post, I talk about the nutrition benefits of dandelion, nettle, sorrel, chick weed, purslane, wild fennel and blackberries. These wild greens add variety to your diet and have not been bred. But you need to know exactly what you’re looking for.

Interview by Tegan Osborne for ABC Health & Wellbeing on 12 May 2016

Making sense of the whole sugar debate

I chat to presenter Rod Quinn about whether it’s necessary to eliminate sugar completely or if you can still consume a little, if so how much is OK to eat, why sugar is bad for you, why it’s so hard to find it (hidden) in many mixed foods, and if there are any healthier alternatives such as rice malt syrup or panela. I also tackle the questions from dozens of listeners who called in.
ABC Radio National, Overnights with Rod Quinn 19 March 2016

The case for smarter labelling of sugar

Paula Goodyer interviewed me on the difficulty of working out how much is added sugar and how much is natural as in fructose (think fruit yoghurt) or lactose (think flavoured milk). This was part of Paula’s review of That Sugar Book which has been published by Damen Gameau.
Lifestyle blog of the Sydney Morning Herald, Paula Goodyer March 2016

Trans fats face the chop after US Food and Drug Administration announces ban

In the United States, authorities have banned the use of the dangerous trans fats that are widely used in fast foods. The US Food and Drug Administration has given food manufacturers three years to remove the ingredient which it has deemed unsafe for human consumption. So will Australia's health authorities follow the US lead?
The World Today from Radio National Interview by Nick Grimm 17 June 2015

The new Healthy Eating Pyramid

Catherine Headphones TardisBooth ABCUltimoI comment on the positive changes to the Pyramid updated by Nutrition Australia. It is based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines and was last overhauled 15 years ago so things have changed. Vegetables and fruit now make up the base which forms the greatest part of our diet, grains have moved up to the next tier and are to be eaten in smaller quantities, healthy fats such as olive oil are allowed by in the smallest quantity as shown by the tip. Added sugar and salt are to be limited, choose water as your main drink, use more herbs and spices.  
pdf Body ‘n’ Soul Liftout in Sunday Telegraph. Interview by Rosie King 7 June 2015 (pdf) (1.88 MB)

Also online at website eg Herald Sun

How to understand the Nutrition Panel

Working out what’s in your food is tricky. So when Richard Cornish asked me what I look for on the back of the pack, I gave him a run-down of kilojoules (and its relationship to Calories which is the first stumbling block), followed by sugars and sodium. These items are easy to understand once you realise that the ‘sugars’ on the Panel is NOT the same as added cane sugar which is the thing we need to cut back on. And sodium is only one part of the salt molecule. Interview by Richard Cornish.
Good Food Guide from the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age 14 April 2015

Method for cooking rice reduces final Calories absorbed

I was interviewed by Cathy Johnson from ABC about a study that examines how much resistant starch is generated by first cooking then cooling rice overnight in the fridge. Like cooked cooled potatoes, the more resistant starch present, the less you absorb whcih reduces your intake. BUT if you're only having boiled rice once or twice a week, it hardly matters that you're getting around one third LESS of the starch normally present. It's all the other stuff in your diet that's going to count ....
ABC Health and Wellbeing website April 2015

4 critiques of That Sugar Movie

I thoroughly enjoyed watching this docu-drama and engaged with its likeable hero Damon Gameau who struggles to eat a high sugar diet from light and supposedly-healthy foods such as muesli bars, fruit yoghurt, cereals plus a large volume of liquids including fruit juices, sports drinks, flavoured milks, vitamin waters, iced teas and iced coffees. But I had 4 main criticisms which detract from its enjoyable take-home message.
ABC Radio National, Blueprint for Living with Michael Williams Feb 2015

Lean cuisine and protein

High-protein foods are currently in vogue but how much protein do we need and is TOO much dangerous? I explain that most people can easily meet protein requirements even vegans who consume no animal foods. Protein has been found to help weight loss in several ways (satiety, maintaining muscle mass) but we don’t need the huge amounts from popular protein powders and shakes loved by body builders. Interview by Miranda Herron.
pdf Choice magazine, Sept 2014 (4.72 MB)

Why a gluten-free diet is not healthier if you don't have coeliac disease

Despite the media hype, I argue that a gluten-free diet may not be as healthy as you think and can be significantly more expensive. Read my thoughts on refined starches and sugars and those processed gluten-free breads, cookies, muffins and everything else that you once thought was just a "basic food". Interview by Miranda Herron.
Choice Magazine April 2014

I Road-Test the Raw Diet

I embark on a Raw Food Diet for a week to see how practical it is and whether I lose any weight on it. James Valentine and I discuss the good and bad points of raw food and whether it's really necessary for health. We chat about popular raw food cafes and dishes such as zucchini ribbons salad, cashew "cheese" and banana avocado chocolate "mousse".
ABC Radio Sydney 702 with James Valentine 27 March 2014

Why 'super-treats' are such a health issue 

I was interviewed for about the health issues around 'super-treats' like the trendy but deadly 'cronut', the croissant-doughnut love child. Lots of fat, lots of sugar, lots of kilojoules/calories and irrestible. Therein lies the problem. These energy dense treats can lead us on the path to obesity. The trick is to keep your treats small and remember they're treats not staples. You can read the full interview here.

The sugar hit

Paula Goodyer interviewed me on sugar - why it's a problem in the modern diet but also probing whether it's really the only villain when it comes to obesity. I argue that it's sugar combined with bad fats and refined starches (junk foods) that are the culprits.
Chew On This blog on Sydney Morning Herald Nov 2013

Living without processed food

Michael McKenzie looks at how the Australian diet has changed over the past three generations in relation to processed food, what percentage of the average Australian diet is processed food, and what are the different types of processed food – good and bad.
ABC Radio National 'First Bite' program Oct 2013

The "ancient" grains revival

On Purely Practical, I talked with Natasha Mitchell about the recent revival in grains such as quinoa, spelt, amaranth, teff, millet and farro. What's the difference between regular wheat and rice and the ancient forms? Are they worth including in your daily diet? What nutritional benefits do they offer?
ABC Radio National Life Matters Jun 2013

Stevia - the sweet stuff

I chatted with Michael McKenzie about what stevia tastes like, the other ingredients in stevia sweeteners eg starch, maltodextrin, erythritol (they're not 100per cent pure stevia), and its growing popularity. Listen to the interview on the ABC website.
ABC Radio National 'First Bite' program Dec 2012

Little ideas for smart snacks

Snacks are 'sometimes' foods and worth thinking about in terms of nutrition and portion size. Make them healthy and keep them small, I say. Check out if you're really hungry or thirsty, and check out my suggestions for better snacks.
Interview by Jana Frawley for the Daily Telegraph, Herald-Sun and national News Ltd newspapers Nov 2012

Purely Practical - my top 10 kitchen gadgets

I chatted with Natasha Mitchell about which gadgets sit at the back of our cupboards unused and which are always in our hands. Read the comments from the ABC listeners, always an intelligent informed audience.
ABC Radio National Life Matters Oct 2012

How to cure a sweet tooth in kids

Most children have a sweet tooth but how much is habit and how much inborn? See the sugar counts from my Sugar Fact Sheet reported.
Sunday Telegraph and Sept 2012

Bite-size view of a nation

A detailed look at what Australians eat - and how much they put on their plates. My best quote: "If there's one item that sums up our children's diets, it would be the potato chip. Bread used to be our staple food; now it's the potato chip, particularly when it comes to kids.''
Interview by Tim Elliott for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age 20 March 2012

5 easy tips to cut down on salt

We consume too much salt but try my easy ways to reduce your salt intake without suffering. Plus how to boost the flavour when you can't use salt.
From Nutrition News page of Weight Watchers magazine Oct 2011

Masterchef "indulgent" recipes contributes to the nation's obesity crisis

Excessive use of butter, duck fat, salt, sugar, cream and oil by the chefs on Masterchef is encouraging  over-consumption and gourmet overindulgence. I suggest that lack of vegetables or salad at dinner and too much rich heavy food means Masterchef meals are NOT everyday fare. Fine for the occasional big night out or special occasion but not something we want to cook up night upon night.
Interview by Alys Francis and Kevin Bradford for NineMSN website, 16 Jun 2011

White bread in decline

White bread with added fibre, vitamins, minerals and/or omega-3s. Are these super-enriched white breads the ones to buy? If you can’t switch the kids onto wholemeal, are they the next best thing? I put up my opinion in this interview for A Current Affair from Channel 9.
TV interview for A Current Affair, Channel 9, April 2011

A beginner's guide to cooking oils

Which is the best oil to buy? This is one of the most common questions I get so I was pleased to be interviewed by NineMSN for the Health & Wellbing section of their website.
Web article by Hannah Marton, April 2011

Yoghurt: health food or just dessert?

Low-fat or full-fat, flavoured or plain, diet or Greek? There are so many choices today at the supermarket, it's hard to know which is the healthiest yoghurt to buy. Check out what I think about yoghurt in this excellent article by award-winning health writer Paula Goodyer.
Article by Paula Goodyer for Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the Brisbane Times, 15 March 2011

High-fat breakfast boost to metabolism?

New research at the University of Alabama suggests that starting the day with a high-fat meal can boost the metabolism and prime the body to burn fat more efficiently. However this is the opposite of what nutrition currently suggests and I am at pains to make this point in the article.
Article by Catherine Lambert for the Herald-Sun Melbourne, 25 April 2010

Calories star at the cinema

Movie popcorn, fizzy drinks, chocolate, lollies, choc-top ice-creams - served in super-sized containers thanks to movie price deals - are the standard snacks on offer at cinemas. Not only are they expensive, they're loaded with fat, salt or sugar and represent ‘mindless eating' in its extreme form.
Article by Sophie Elsworth for Daily Telegraph and Courier-Mail, 22 Feb 2010

Are sugar alternatives better than sugar

Stevia, agave, nectar, maple syrup, rice syrup, rapadura – trawl the shelves of supermarkets and health food stores and there are plenty of sweet alternatives to basic cane sugar. But whether these products offer real benefits compared to regular sugar depends on what you want from a sweetener – is it zero kilojoules, steadier blood sugar or a food that’s less refined and with more nutrients?
Article by Paula Goodyer for Healthwise, The Age, 13 June 2009

Salads have more fat than Maccas

Some supermarket salad dishes contain more fat, sugar and salt than a McDonald's cheeseburger or large fries. Nutritionist Catherine Saxelby said: "I am a big advocate of salad and when people don't have enough time to make it themselves they think they are doing the right thing."
Sydney Telegraph, Melbourne Herald-Sun & Adelaide News July 2009

Recipes for leaving home from mum Catherine Saxelby

Despite the trials and tribulations, it's vital you teach your kids to cook before they move out of home - so they're not dependent on take-aways. Read how Catherine teaches son Guy to cook a simple stir-fry and check out Robin Powell's 10 basic dishes anyone can cook on a budget - from Bolognaise sauce to the versatile lentil dhal.
Feature by Robin Powell for the Sydney Morning Herald, Good Living, 1 July 2008

Read what Catherine Saxelby (and other health experts) eat

Three health experts reveal their breakfast, lunch, dinner and in-between menus. Do they follow their own advice? Is everything they eat always squeaky-clean?
Story by Alex May for the Sunday Life magazine, Sun-Herald & The Age, 16 Mar 2008
Read a summary of Catherine's food diary from the article

Catherine Saxelbys says juices may not be the tonic we think they are

Exotic fruits such as goji and acai might be high in antioxidants but the claims made about them are exaggerated. And they're not necessarily better than any other high-in-antioxidant fruit such as berries or plums.
Article by Paula Goodyer for The Age & Sydney Morning Herald, 1 November 2007

Catherine Saxelby tells us why a cuppa is beneficial

Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world after water and Catherine lists the many ways it's so good for our health.
Heartwise magazine, October 2006