Jamie Oliver vs Pete Evans

The title says it all…Whose team are you on? I don’t normally start a segment with my conclusion but I am hands down team J.A.M.I.E! Celebrity chefs and media personalities have become the ultimate advocates for healthy living yet there’s a fine line between promoting scientifically sound information about health and nutrition and simply being a “fad-vocate”. Here are my thoughts on Jamie and Pete…Slide1

Let’s start by introducing you to Pete Evans: Known as “Paleo Pete” to many, the former pizza chef has built an empire around promoting the paleo diet as means of healthy living. Now, I have spoken about this multiple times in previous posts – healthy eating comes in different forms and foods and if the paleo way suits your lifestyle, then it is a choice!  Dietitians and paleo advocates are on the same page when it comes to eliminating processed foods, focusing on fresh and wholesome produce as well as taking control of your health. The problem is, cutting out foods such as healthy grains, legumes and dairy are by no means, scientifically proven to improve health.  Yet, Paleo Pete claims that such food groups need to be avoided for a healthy lifestyle. Really mate? “Fadvocates” have been demonising certain foods, which is highly misleading and purely feeds more misinformation into the minds of the public. For this reason, “keeping the balance” and “moderation” are no longer viewed as a path to take when it comes to healthy eating. It doesn’t stop there – the endless attacks on dietitians undermining their professionalism and education is mind boggling, frustrating and infuriating.

One of the biggest issues that I have with “fadvocates” is when the information promoted can be dangerous. Pete’s book “Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo way for new mums, babies and toddlers” was the perfect example of that. In his book, Pete promotes a DIY infant formula based on liver and bone broth for infants aged 0-6 months. A chef’s version of infant formula that lacked sufficient scientific and nutritional analysis is plain stupid and dangerous. The Dietitians2687088F00000578-2989393-image-m-28_1426065524909 Association of Australia’s fight against fads was evident in their most recent letter addressed to Sunday Night on Channel 7 in response to their program the “10 week Paleo Challenge”. You can read the full letter here, but what I wanted to highlight is the following:

“The very serious concerns raised about Bubba Yum Yum earlier in the year were not mentioned in the Sunday Night interview, and Australian health professional’s well-publicised concerns were essentially dismissed. So to be clear, the issues included (but were not limited to):

*The DIY liver and bone broth-based infant formula was promoted in the 0-6 month section of the book, as a sole source of nutrition, along with the statement: ‘(The DIY infant formula) is a wonderful alternative and the next best thing when breast isn’t an option’. This was despite a lack of clinical studies into its safety and efficacy.

* The high vitamin A content of the DIY infant formula – and this concern still stands. Even though the ‘recipe’ has now been modified in a revised version of the book, it still exceeds the recommended upper limit for vitamin A for babies aged 0-12 months. The formula also lacks carbohydrates, which are required for brain development, and does not mimic the composition of breast milk (despite claiming to do so).

*A lack of instructions for parents around preparing and storing the formula, and around how much to feed babies.

In providing evidence to publisher Pan MacMillan, DAA and several other health agencies presented compelling data including an analysis of the DIY infant formula recipe by FSANZ and the Food Standards Code. We would like to think that infant safety was the main consideration of the publisher, in deciding not to publish the book, rather than ‘how the big retailers would respond to negative publicity’ surrounding the book (as stated by Pete Evans on Sunday Night).”

Promoting nutritional fallacies as well as using your celebrity status to capitalise on consumer vulnerability and lack of knowledge does not sit well in my books! And so we move on to Jamie Oliver…

Jamie is also another celebrity chef and advocate of healthy living, yet his message differs drastically from that of Paleo Pete’s. Apart from numerous cooking shows and cookbooks, Jamie has launched a massive global campaign over the last few years pushing for better food education. His approach to healthy living is simply cooking real, unprocessed, fresh food at home and using top ingredients from A.L.L food groups. Nothing’s being eliminated except for all the processed, highly sweetened foods and all the artificial nasties that one can find. Jamie Oliver does not make claims about certain food groups such as grains, legumes and dairy as being harmful to health and having no place in a healthy diet. Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 7.46.19 pm

He inspires adults and kids alike to get cooking and focus on fresh produce. He also helps the public understand where our food comes from and banishes the fear of experimenting in the kitchen. To add more accomplishments onto his portfolio, Jamie was responsible for launching Food Revolution Day: “An annual campaign, which uses the power of Jamie’s global voice to shout about important food issues, driving individuals and businesses to take part in impactful change and pushing governments to improve their food policies in support of better public health.” Jamie’s Food Revolution comes with following mission:

“Shape the health and wellbeing of current and future generations and contribute to a healthier world, by providing better access to food education for everyone.”

Early on, I remember criticising Jamie for not consulting more dietitians and nutritionists on some of his shows, especially when when talking about health and nutrition. However, fast-forward a few years on, Jamie has a team of experts behind him including nutritionists, working together to educate and nourish millions of people. In a nutshell, Jamie Oliver is a celebrity chef using his voice and image to push for healthier communities sans the need for “fadvocation”. Not only are his recipes fantastic (FYI -tried and tested!) but the variety of ingredients including healthy carbohydrates, legumes, healthy fats and cheese are all there! 

Now THAT is why I am dietitian, proudly supporting Jamie Oliver and every other chef advocating delicious, home-cooked food using wholesome ingredients to nourish our bodies and our families! 

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