We are getting sicker and fatter. Has our medicine done a fat lot of good?
This is the topic Dr Peter Brukner, well-known sports doctor, will be presenting at the ACNEM Conference in May 24-26. After following his passion for sports medicine for most of his career, it was a few years ago he found himself becoming sicker and fatter and had to ask himself why? He knew he was becoming obese and pre-diabetic and he had to change something fast.
Dr Brukner decided to research the area of diet and ended up busting dietary myths we’ve been living by for decades. He found our food pyramid had no scientific basis. He switched to a low-carb, healthy fat diet himself and dropped 13 kilos, lowered his insulin levels and drastically improved his liver function in just three months.
The benefits of the low-carb, healthy fat diet is now Dr Brukner’s passion and when we talked with him he said he’s determined to “get the message out there, despite the many vested interests.”
At Dr Brukner’s presentation you’ll learn:
- The real reasons we’re all getting fatter and less healthy
- The lowdown on carbs, fats and proteins: what do they do; which ones do we need; and how much?
- What you need to know about insulin, inflammation and the gut microbiome
- Dr Brukner’s Five Golden Rules for a healthy lifestyle
- Why we don’t need to drink as much as we think we do
- Simple tools which will enable your patients to live a longer, healthier and more enjoyable life
As Dr Brukner’s passion for the low-carb, healthy fat diet grew he published a book last year outlining his findings, called A Fat Lot of Good. Packed with his latest research and practical tips, the book gives readers a toolkit for building the healthy lifestyle that’s right for them.
Australia’s obesity levels are “horrendous”
When asked is obesity a problem here in Australia, he said: “The figures are horrendous. We’re right up there – we’re in the top 6 countries in the world for obesity now. And yet, we’re a wealthy country with great food and a good lifestyle. How is it that we’re one of these countries? We have close to two million people now with Type 2 diabetes. But the great thing is, we can fix it. As doctors, we want to help people get better. This is the reason we do medicine so this way we can do what we’re supposed to be doing.”
“At the ACNEM Conference, I can give the people the tools to help get people better. We need to get the message out there because there’s a lot of vested interests which would prefer the message is buried. It’s very much how it was with the tobacco industry many years ago. We have the research and we know what works but the message is not getting out to everyone,” he adds.
Here are some facts about obesity in Australia:
- Two thirds of Australian adults are overweight or obese.
- A quarter of our children are overweight or obese.
- The cost to the nation is projected to be in excess of $87.5 billion over the next 10 years if no action is taken.
- 1 in 3 Aussie kids will be overweight or obese by 2025.
Here are some facts about Type 2 Diabetes in Australia:
- Almost 2 million Australians have diabetes, the vast majority Type 2.
- Type 2 diabetes (previously called Adult-onset diabetes) is on the rise in children and young people.
Important to get the message out
Dr Brukner said he gets a lot of feedback from people who’ve read the book: “I’ve decided to devote the rest of my working days to getting this information out there. I get an email nearly every day from someone who’s read the book and found they get a lot of benefit out of the diet – so it’s very rewarding.”
We asked if he is keen on any particular types of diets which are popular now such as the Paleo diet or the Keto diet and he said: “I don’t hang my hat on any one diet. They’re all effective and you can’t go far wrong if you stick to the basic principles of low-carb, healthy fat diets.”
He added there are other lifestyle factors which need to be taken into account such as exercise, stress and getting out in the sun, but that he feels diet is still the most important factor.
Cutting down on sugar is critical as well
As well as his passion for the low-carb, healthy fat diet, Dr Brukner is devoted to communicating how important it is to reduce added sugars by 50% to better our health. Dr Brukner founded the Sugar By Half campaign and all the royalties from his book sales go to this campaign.
Here are some startling facts about how much sugar we consume:
- The average Australian consumes somewhere around 15 or 16 teaspoons of added sugar every day. Teenagers have more than 20 teaspoons. According to the WHO guidelines, for optimal health we should limit our added sugar intake to 6 teaspoons a day.
- There is a direct link between sugary drink consumption and obesity, dental cavities and Type 2 diabetes.
- Adult-onset diabetes (Type 2 diabetes) is on the rise in children and young people.
- Half of Australia’s 12-year-olds have tooth decay in their adult teeth, and more than half of 6-year-olds have decay in their baby teeth.
Dr Peter Brukner OAM, MBBS, FACSP, FACSM, FASMF, FFSEM is an OAM Order of Australia Medallist and he’s a world renowned Sports and Exercise Medicine Physician and Researcher. Up until recently Dr Brukner was the team doctor for the Australian Cricket Team, a position he held for five years. Dr Brukner held similar positions at the Liverpool Football Club, the Melbourne and Collingwood AFL Clubs, the Australian Soccer Team and he’s worked as a Sports Doctor for many National Olympic and Commonwealth Games Teams.
Dr Brukner is a Professor of Sports Medicine at Latrobe University as well as the author of numerous books including Clinical Sports Medicine and Food for Sport. He is the co-founder of the public health campaign, SugarByHalf and is committed to the challenge of improving the nation’s health with improved diet and increased physical activity. His most recent book A Fat Lot of Good was published in May 2018.
You can see Dr Peter Brukner giving his full presentation titled: We are getting sicker and fatter. Has our medicine done a fat lot of good? at the ACNEM Conference called Evolving Landscapes of Nutrition in Medicine, held in Melbourne from 24-26th May this year.