AAP and Medical Observer

Australians eat 3 times more junk food than recommended, leading the CSIRO to give the national diet a C rating.

The organisation has scored the country 61 out of 100 after analysing the eating habits of 40,000 survey respondents.

“If we were handing out report cards for diet quality, Australia would only get a C,” says Professor Manny Noakes.

People generally drink enough water and eat a good variety of foods, but many are having larger portions of junk food, more often.

The average yearly intake of kilojoules in discretionary food, for example, averages the equivalent of 32 kilograms of chocolate per person – that would be 145 family-size blocks.

Discretionary food, such as ice cream, fruit drinks, muffins, meat pies, muesli bars, potato crisps and chips, is food that doesn’t fit the 5 core food groups because it’s not necessary for a healthy diet, and is too high in saturated fat, sugars or salt, or is lacking in nutrients.

“This type of food is no longer just an indulgence, it’s become mainstream.”

People need to cut back on the junk, eat smaller portions, and eat more slowly and consciously, Professor Noakes says.

The CSIRO Healthy Diet Score is a free 15-minute online assessment which evaluates diet quality and identifies areas of improvement. Find out how you measure up.

Last Reviewed: 11/08/2015

AAP and Medical Observer