Resident Nutritionist and Food Stylist Emma Reushle‘s monthly blog series on current nutrition topics. This week she discusses Pete Evans recent interview on Channel 7.
Whether or not you watched Sunday Nights interview with Pete Evans, you’ve probably heard one or two of his Paleo promoting claims.
The interview on Channel 7 didn’t expose anything that we hadn’t heard before and didn’t actually provide any beneficial evidence to back up Pete’s controversial comments.
Being severely under-qualified to make any type of health or medical recommendation doesn’t seem to bother Pete Evans because according to him ‘what do you need a qualification for?’
I’m not sure I’d let a surgeon perform an operation on me without a ‘qualification’, but hey, that’s just me.
But is Paleo Pete right about any of the health claims he made? Below are a few question and answers to clear up any confusion.
Does dairy ‘leach’ calcium from your bones?
One word. No. Pete seems to think that we are all blissfully unaware of dairy’s dangerous effects and constantly hints that medical experts are lying to us. However, he doesn’t actually explain HOW dairy dangerously leaches calcium from our bones, nor did he provide any scientific evidence to back up claims.
Some theories are that dairy causes our blood to become acidic, therefore to ‘neutralise’ it, we need to leach some alkaline calcium from our bones. This is untrue. Dairy is not considered acidic.
Even if this was the case, our bodies are pretty smart cookies and know how to balance our blood acidity and calcium content (also meaning we don’t need to fork out mega dollars for ‘alkalising’ drinks).
We all know Pete is not a nutrition expert which means he does not have the same obligation that us health professionals do – to provide safe and correct information. The Australian Dietary Guidelines are based on thousands of scientific studies reviewed by medical professionals that ARE required to provide correct information. Current recommendations suggest consuming 2.5-4 serves of dairy products a day for most people, depending on age and gender to help meet their calcium needs.
A serve being;
– A cup or 250ml of milk
– 2 slices (40g) of cheese
– A small yoghurt tub (200g)
These guidelines have been found to PROMOTE health, not decrease it. As we know, calcium is extremely important for those suffering from osteoporosis. Pete is notorious for providing incorrect information to his Facebook followers and previously advised a woman with osteoporosis to avoid dairy. He believes the beneficial link between dairy and improved bone health is purely a marketing ploy. Again. Not true.
Pete IS right in saying that dairy is not the only source of calcium. There are many other options including;
– Tinned salmon
– Calcium fortified milk alternatives
– Red kidney beans
However, dairy is the most absorbable source, it is affordable and it is convenient.
Is fluoride in tap water bad for me?
Again. No. Australia is governed by strict guidelines to ensure we are in no way getting poisoned by our tap water.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring substance that is added to water to improve dental health and has been proven to strengthen teeth and protect against tooth decay.
There are a multitude of scientific studies showing the benefits of water fluoridation and any credible health professional will agree that the levels in tap water are safe, non-toxic and not linked to ill health.
Like anything, you can have too much but there is less than 0.1g per litre of fluoride in tap water; a very safe level.
Is sunscreen toxic?
Here is where I hold back from commenting. I know my scope of practice and as I am not a medical doctor, I am not qualified to provide advice or make recommendations on this topic.
See what I did there Pete?
The Paleo Diets focus on minimising processed foods and increasing fruit and vegetable intake is fantastic. However, when a diet recommends removing whole food groups like grains and dairy, it is a cause for concern.
Pete may be a great guy but due to his lack of scientific training, qualifications or even a shred of evidence to back up his claims, I think it’s safe to say a chef is NOT a good source of nutritional information.
If you are concerned about your diet or health please contact an Accredited Practising Dietitian, Accredited Nutritionist or your Medical Doctor.
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