Italian epidemiologist Professor Franco Berrino will speak at the University of the Sunshine Coast at 10am tomorrow.
Italian epidemiologist Professor Franco Berrino will speak at the University of the Sunshine Coast at 10am tomorrow. Jodie Callcott

Food making you sick? Professor shines light on toxic diet

AN ITALIAN professor who has spent most of his life studying the relationship between lifestyle and disease will give a free talk at Hervey Bay on Thursday.

It's the first time the world-renowned doctor and epidemiologist has been to Australia.

Professor Franco Berrino will present a one-off lecture where he will highlight the findings from an extensive study showing a direct link between food and diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

He said Australia needed education about what to eat to establish a healthy lifestyle and combat disease.

"Our diet has changed in the past 70 years," Professor Berrino said.

"A lot of food we eat today did not exist at all.

"There were no chain restaurants providing fast food.

"There was no margarine that has trans fatty acids and is very dangerous, and there was no sugar.

"The food that makes glycaemia increase are white flour, white bread, potatoes, cornflakes and white rice - all these foods increase glycaemia.

"This causes obesity and cardiovascular disease, cancer and neuro-degenerative disease.

"We know a lot about the relationship between food and health."

Professor Berrino, who founded the La Grande Via association to assist disease prevention, said we should be eating more basic foods like the traditional Mediterranean diet.

He said we should also limit our intake of red meat.

"What we do in our association is to teach people to excel in the kitchen with more whole grain cereals, legumes, vegetables and fruit," he said.

"We recommend avoiding sugar and avoid processed food.

"Limit alcohol beverages and limit salt.

"With food, we can modify the activity of our DNA.

"With physical activity we can switch on and switch off certain genes.

"And with our mind we can act on our needs and again, switch off the gene for inflammation for instance.

"I would be glad if five per cent of those who attend will eventually change something in their lives."

Healthy Living for a Long Life presented by Professor Franco Berrino is at 10am tomorrow, at the University of the Sunshine Coast, 161-179 Old Maryborough Rd, Pialba.

Bookings essential, phone 41974220.



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