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Q. I have been told to avoid carbohydrate after 2 pm because it will turn to fat. Is this true?
A. There is no reason to avoid carbohydrate after 2 pm. The body gains weight when more kilojoules are consumed than used through daily activity and exercise. Carbohydrate, protein, fat and alcohol all provide the body with kilojoules. Therefore, you will gain weight if you consume an excess of any of these nutrients. Popular weight loss diets usually employ a number of 'rules' which sound scientific but are actually just a way of causing you to reduce your food intake, and therefore your kilojoule intake. Avoiding carbohydrate after 2 pm restricts your food choices and therefore may cause you to consume a smaller number of kilojoules. However, it is possible to achieve a similar reduction in kilojoule intake with a more balanced and enjoyable meal. It is preferable to choose a more balanced meal which provides a greater combination of nutrients. Avoiding particular food groups may cause you to miss out on nutrients which are necessary for good health. For further information, see Weight Loss.

Q. What are some alternatives to meat for a vegetarian diet?
A. If you have decided to become vegetarian it is important to include food choices that fully replace the nutrients found in animal derived foods. Some nutritious meat alternatives include:

  • Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) - This looks a lot like mince however is made from plant and soy protein.  It is a rich source of protein and iron and can be used to make dishes such as pasta sauce, lasagne, chilli con carne and casseroles.
  • Ready-made meat alternatives - there are many specialised vegetarian products in the supermarket. These products are generally found in the 'health food' section of the supermarket. Vegetarian luncheon meats, sausages, hot dogs etc. can be found in the fridge section.
  • Legumes (e.g. lentils, chick peas, kidney beans) are a rich source of protein and iron. Search through recipe books for suggestions for using these products. Many legumes now come canned  pre-cooked making them much easier to use.
  • Tempeh and tofu are good protein/calcium food alternatives and can be found in most supermarkets.

The Recipe section of our website includes some vegetarian recipes. Also have a look at our fact sheet on Vegetarian Eating.

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