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Can the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating be applied in IBD?

The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating is a tool I love to use. However, it is said to be targeted at prevention of disease and not really aimed for use in disease. The many of my clients live with a disease, and arguably, the AGHE may not be suitable for them. Nevertheless, I find value in using the AGHE as a baseline tool that I build upon or tweak when needed for specific IBD complications or deficiencies to provide suitable nutrition recommendations for clients.

The AGHE states the recommended serves for stages of life and gender with no consideration for physical activity levels and disease. It also suggests what a serve should look like for each food category, across the lifespan and gender of healthy individuals. Although one of the principles of the guidelines is to ‘eat a variety of nutritious foods’, what it does not do is put rules around the specific variety and choices a person makes.

Hence, the choice is tailored to individual requirements. A dietitian can help you work out how to apply the AGHE to your health condition. If you need a low FODMAP AGHE, a Mediterranean AGHE, a fibre-modified AGHE, or even a top-up on nutrients AGHE, those can certainly be tweaked. If there are strictures with possible bowel obstruction involved, then the AGHE guidelines would probably not apply. Once the gut heals and obstruction is resolved, these guidelines can be reapplied, tweaked for the transition period or not.

Critiques of the AGHE cannot deny that this baseline guide is a fantastic tool that provides a dietitian primary nutrition structure; after all, it is just a guide. A lifestyle can be formed around these guidelines; as such, the AGHE is relevant in IBD. Speak to me, your dietitian, on how you can use the AGHE to manage your IBD.


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