Not all food and vitamins are created equally

The quality of our food today is questionable. Processed foods that contain little or no nutritional value are consumed as part of a stable diet and modern day agriculture has lowered the nutrient value of our fruit, vegetables meat and dairy produce. I encourage all of my personal training clients to buy certified organic as their first choice then work down the availability food chain. In the ACT we are lucky to have the access to some wonderful organic food available each weekend at the Farmers Markets or from Organic Energy at Griffith shops and local grower Choku Baj Jo North Lyneham and Curtin shops.

Availability food chain order

Produce                                              Meat

1 Certified Organic                             1 Certified Organic Free range

2 Organic                                            2 Organic

3 Locally Farmed                                3 Locally Farmed Free-range

4 Commercial                                      4 Commercial-Hormone Free

5 Commercial

Even if you are doing all of the above, none of us are perfect. We lead busy and sometimes stressful lives, and in these times we have a tendency to let our health slip, either by eating the wrong foods, drinking to much coffee or alcohol, or not getting enough sleep. All this adds stress to the body. Supplements at these times may be helpful. Other reasons to take supplements are for body ailments or prevention, for example bad knees, joints, osteoarthritis, hay fever, insomnia, digestion and so forth.

At one point in your life you have most likely taken a vitamin, mineral or herbal supplement. When considering a supplement take into account the following, as not all are created equally.

  1. What is the purpose of the supplement?
  2. What benefits do I hope to gain by taking the supplement?
  3. Is the supplement safe to take with other pharmaceutical or herbal medications?
  4. Quality – does it come for a natural food source or is it synthetic? (your body does not recognized synthetic compounds hence no benefit)
  5. Manufacturers’ reputation and quality controls; is the supplement TGA approved?
  6. Price.

I recommend if you are taking a supplement to run through this check list and see if it measures up. Another good idea is to stop taking the supplement for four weeks then re introduce. Trust that your body will give you feedback and then honour what it is telling to you. Like all things in life its about finding balance.

Tanya Gendle

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27 Responses to
Not all food and vitamins are created equally
fernandof 10:15 am
28 Jan 11

I’m newly registered to this great site. I was a passive reader for over a year now, but felt a real urge to reply.

I’ll focus on the food classification only, which I completely disagree with.

I purchase my food mainly from the Watson farmers markets and Fyshwick fresh food markets. I appreciate that fresh food, especially meats, fruits and veggies, are better than the produce bought from Woolies (in the sense that they usually taste better and have a longer shelf life span once bought), but I completely disagree that organically grown food is any better than the non organic.

They are more expensive, sure, but I couldn’t find any objective studies showing they are any better. Could you please refer to such studies?

Also, Woolies vs. Fresh Food markets is not always a sure win for the markets. I now prefer buying my Avocados from Woolies as they taste better and don’t go stale so quickly, but some months ago that wasn’t the case and I preferred buying Avocados from the markets. Basically what I’m saying is that your classification of fresh food is very questionable and I’d like to see your objective resources backing up those claims.

Saying that, I too agree that processed food is not as good to you as non-processed food. But that’s a no brainier, really.

damien haas 10:31 am
28 Jan 11

All food is organic.

vg 10:54 am
28 Jan 11

“your body does not recognized synthetic compounds hence no benefit”

How does medication work then? Last I checked there were no such thing as penicillin trees.

Your Cert III in Fitness doesn’t qualify you to give out dietary or pseudo-medical advice.

thewindycity 11:22 am
28 Jan 11

Pretty much unsubstantiated drivel here. Please provide some scientific evidence for your claims.

Thoroughly Smashed 12:07 pm
28 Jan 11

your body does not recognized synthetic compounds hence no benefit

How does your body know whether the chemicals in your medications came from a plant or a chemist’s lab? I know mine certainly doesn’t.

I wish my body didn’t recognise nerve gas gas, that would be awesome.

What is it with woo-woos and making up complete rubbish?

Erg0 12:14 pm
28 Jan 11

Damn, I got here too late.

wildturkeycanoe 12:45 pm
28 Jan 11

Apart from this looking like some free advertising….or a copy and paste from a brochure….
Okay, if the human body doesn’t recognize synthetic compounds then eating apples or oranges that have been inundated with synthetic herbicides, pesticides, hormones and nutrients won’t harm me in any way because my body doesn’t recognize them. Yet, the quality of the foods will be much better than those of a hippy farmer who pees on his trees and scares the fruit flies away with rhythmic chanting to Mother Gaia. Your logic doesn’t make sense.
Plus, the major supermarkets sell the same rubbish at half the price of the “fresh food markets”. It’s not worth the fuel money to even check for the price difference, I’m not going back to the markets until they are competetive again.

triffid 12:58 pm
28 Jan 11

Ahhh . . . nutrition. Another of my favourite fields littered, as it is, with so much horsesh*t it isn’t funny. I can remember a certain coaching director for a sport (with which I had a close association) getting raked over the coals for telling some kiddies at a lower-level coaching course that a reasonable thing to hoe into immediately post event was a Mars bar and a can of Coke. Far out, did he cop a hammering from ‘the powers’.

That was until some of the best dieticians / nutritionists in the sports game — people who used to work with Olympic level athletes — came out and argued in his defence. Turns out that his advice, which did carry caveats, was about bang on for the activity in question (moderately high intensity / endurance) in that to do so would not just pry open the all important glycogen window (a roughtly 20 minute long window of opportunity in which glycogen stores might be more optimally replenished) but would, in fact, kick it off its hinges.

I can recall, too, a very (very, very) successful national coach for the same sport discussing, with a group of us slightly lower pleb coaches (still state and national team types), matters to do with supplements. All the available evidence pointed to them being nothing more than a precursor of expensive urine, particularly if the athlete in question was meeting the nutritional requirements asked of them by the aforementioned dietitions / nutritionists (people with LOTS of letters after their names, or, at the very least two in front — Dr — folllowed by three after — PhD, most of whom were also in the employ of a certain facility at Bruce). Despite this, supplement those athletes they did. Why? No other reason, it turns out, than, ” . . . just in case”.

Ahh me . . . I can remember when I did my long-lapsed cert IV in fitness and quallied as a personal trainer. I can recall one of my PhD-candidate-in-human-movements lecturers bemoaning the fact that, if the fitness industry were a dog, you’d have it put down. He then sent us all out to buy a copy of a certain magazine that dealt with muscle and fitness things. We spent an entire afternoon going through them, armed with volumes and volumes of exercise science journals, pulling the magazines to bits and denouncing all the nonsense they contained.

Seems like some things from one of my past lives haven’t changed that much at all. Very reassuring. Keep at it, though, Tanya. I admire your enthusiasm. It’s a bloody tough industry to be in.

vg 1:21 pm
28 Jan 11

The thing I love about the fitness ‘industry’ is that the workout that seems to be au fait is the ‘bootcamp’ style thing which, curiously, looks just like football training did in the 70s and 80s (the fitness part at least)……but bootcamp is revolutionary…apparently.

If you need someone screaming in your ear to achieve your fitness ‘goals’ (i.e not be a lard ass) you don’t have the fortitude to keep it off, and all you do is perpetuate the industry. Do you think Fernwood really wants ladies to achieve their health goals? If they did they wouldn’t need Fernwood. All they do is hold people’s hands through a life of obesity.

Losing weight is the simplest thing in the world. If you expend more energy than you take in then you will lose weight. The simplest ‘diet’ in the world is to eat exactly what you do now, just less of it. You don’t hear that level of simplicity come out of the fitness ‘industry’. Mob of charlatans

triffid 2:23 pm
28 Jan 11

VG said: “Losing weight is the simplest thing in the world. If you expend more energy than you take in then you will lose weight. The simplest ‘diet’ in the world is to eat exactly what you do now, just less of it. You don’t hear that level of simplicity come out of the fitness ‘industry’. Mob of charlatans”

I agree, VG, that the level of conduct becoming ‘charlatanism’ (?) in the fitness industry is eye watering. That’s from my close-up observation. But, it’s a sort of symbiotic thing. For instance, the boot camp phenomenum. It’s popular. Why? Well . . . it’s a hammering. Client thinks, “Wow! I’m flogged. I must be getting ‘fit’ / losing the kilos . . . whatever”. Imagine how popular it would be if you assembled a group of people, stuck ‘em on bicycles, armed them with heart rate monitors and told them to ride for an hour and not let their heart rate get over 75 per cent of their max heart rate, while keeping the cranks spinning at 90 rpm? Yeah . . . dullsville. But, which activity is making who fitter? (Trick question. Answer can be neither, as it depends on the recovery undertaken afterwards. But, low HR invariably wins out).

I must take small issue with your losing weight theory. It’s close, it’s true, but it’s also a touch simplistic. Things can be more involved. Let me illustrate.

An athlete I was working with while travelling with a team overseas was lamenting aspects of her performance. She reckoned she was too fat. Sure, she was bigger than some of her competitors but, in her sport, it theoretically was of little disadvantage. Anyway, I agreed to help her out. First thing we did was, while away, I broke one of my rules, broke out my Harpenden callipers, took her skinfolds and calculated her body fat percentage. The answer was 24 per cent. Pretty high for an elite athlete in any sport. She weighed in at 72 kgs.

Once we returned home (and after an active rest period) we sat down and worked out a plan. I actually increased her food intake, but structured it differently. I also had her doing endurance activity of long duration (2 – 4 hours a session) and low intensity (no more than 75 per cent max HR). I also had her doing proper resistance training. After a while, we increased the intensity of both the endurance (but still not over 85 – 92 per cent max) and the resistance training. The plan was more complex than I am describing, but you get the picture.

I can still remember her calling me after three months of that regime. She called in tears, having just easily put on a pair of jeans that she used to wear as a 16 year old (she had just turned 32). She now weighed around 75 kgs, but her body fat was now around the 10 per cent mark. We had increased her muscle mass, provided the nutrition to make that possible and, into the bargain, increased her metabolic rate. She improved her performance in her sport by a quantum leap and went on later that year to win an Australian title and to represent Australia in one of those once-every-four-years gigs. Seeing her taking to channel 7s Greg Walsh on my TV from that event bought a tear to my eye.

Inappropriate 2:44 pm
28 Jan 11

Inappropriate said :

your body does not recognized synthetic compounds hence no benefit

Then why does organic farming prohibit synthetic pesticides and fertilizers if they’re benign to humans?

dtc 2:52 pm
28 Jan 11

vg said :

Losing weight is the simplest thing in the world. If you expend more energy than you take in then you will lose weight. The simplest ‘diet’ in the world is to eat exactly what you do now, just less of it. You don’t hear that level of simplicity come out of the fitness ‘industry’. Mob of charlatans

Somewhat simplistic – there is ample evidence that:

- different sources of energy (fat, carbs, protein) cause the body to act in different ways (eg: insulin production)
- different sources and amounts of energy give ‘feedback’ to the body and cause the body to change the way it behaves and thus change the way it deals with energy in the future (ie: starve yourself and your body will produce proportionally more fat because it needs to store food, thus being a completely pointless diet)
- different forms of exercise have different effects on how the body acts in processing energy

So if you are currently eating 2000 calories of sugar, changing your diet to eat 1500 calories of sugar ain’t going to change your body very much. On the other hand, you can eat 3000 calories or more a day and not get fat – indeed, Michael Phelps was famous for his 9000-12000 cal per day diet, which is impossible to burn off through exercise (there just arent enough hours in the day to exercise) and he wasn’t fat.

People actually don’t understand this very well. Yes, eating less is good, but eating right is better.

Of course, changing from ‘non organic’ apples to organic apples makes no difference to your weight.

Erg0 2:56 pm
28 Jan 11

I would make the point that there’s a world of difference between elite athletes and the average punter who just wants to lose a few kegs without dedicating 2-4 hours to it every day. If you want to make it your life’s work to optimise your fitness then it’s probably worth going down to the level of detail that you’re talking about, but “eat less, exercise more” (applied with a little common sense) is all that 99% of people require.

Diggety 3:31 pm
28 Jan 11

My foods weren’t “created”, they evolved.

Inappropriate 4:15 pm
28 Jan 11

vg said :

Losing weight is the simplest thing in the world. If you expend more energy than you take in then you will lose weight. The simplest ‘diet’ in the world is to eat exactly what you do now, just less of it. You don’t hear that level of simplicity come out of the fitness ‘industry’. Mob of charlatans

It’s not so easy if you have untreated sleep apnea and/or insulin resistance.

damien haas 4:50 pm
28 Jan 11

Inappropriate said :

damien haas said :

your body does not recognized synthetic compounds hence no benefit

Then why does organic farming prohibit synthetic pesticides and fertilizers if they’re benign to humans?

When you believe something, despite the science not conforming to your beliefs, its called faith. Many religions are faith based.

When you can convince a group of humans to believe you, and they happen to be able to pass laws, then you have laws to support your faith.

Sometimes no matter how good your science is, the courts wont listen. Ask Galileo.

wildturkeycanoe 7:09 pm
28 Jan 11

I am so glad this forum has people with intellect enough to follow what the original post was about rather than wander off into tangents and endless arguments that should be set aside on sub-topics of their own! I bet the OP is so impressed with you all for your constructive/destructive opinions on the merits of genetically un-modified foods.

Deref 7:18 pm
28 Jan 11

More bullshit from a “personal trainer”.

You have a science degree do you, Tanya? Please point us to the scientific research that backs up your contentions and disproves the vast amount of research showing that processed foods are indistinguishable nutritionally from “organic” food.

When you’ve done that, please point us to the research showing that, other than in cases of medically-diagnosed malnutrition, food “supplements” are anything more than a scam and a waste of money.

Once you’ve posted that evidence I’ll pay attention. Until then I’ll assume that, like so many of your “personal trainer” colleagues, you’re just another liar.

You like organic food? Good for you. Choku Baijo is great – I shop there all the time. But lying is lying – except when you charge people for your service. Then it’s called “fraud”.

beejay76 7:28 pm
28 Jan 11

I can’t get past “as part of a stable diet”. Hay?

Primal 7:58 pm
28 Jan 11

beejay76 said :

I can’t get past “as part of a stable diet”. Hay?

And the odd carrot, if you’re well behaved.

far_northact 8:46 pm
28 Jan 11

Funniest post ever. Full of contradictions …..

gospeedygo 12:11 am
29 Jan 11

I hear at the Australian Institute of Fitness you can become certified as an ‘awesome personal trainer’. How do I get my qualifications recognized as ‘radical’?

Deref 12:48 pm
29 Jan 11

gospeedygo said :

I hear at the Australian Institute of Fitness you can become certified as an ‘awesome personal trainer’. How do I get my qualifications recognized as ‘radical’?

I think they do it at the same place as I got my Doctor of Divinity. It only cost $50.

Strive_holistic_pers 4:46 pm
03 Feb 11

For more information on organic farming I recommend visiting the following sites,

For information on Supplements and Natural Health visit

Special G 5:35 pm
03 Feb 11

This one always cracks me up – – Eat less.

How about we take some food miles off as well and grow your own produce in the back yard. Throw a couple of chickens into the mix while you’re at it.

While we are on weight loss it’s easy – Eat less + Do more = success. I’ll take direct debit or Paypal.

Elite athletes and average Joes are very different beasties. What works for some will not work at all for others. Depends on the sport/goals, reasons etc.

What I don’t understand is people who drive around the gym car park to get the closest park to the door then go and walk on a treadmill – wtf?

Pommy bastard 8:04 pm
03 Feb 11

So to back up his/her claims “Strive”, gives us no evidence, but points us at;

Pommy bastard said :

The National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia (NASAA) is the nation’s leading organic certifier.

The Biological Farmers of Australia, “the voice of Australian organics”, is Australia’s foremost organic body, a not-for-profit organisation that represents and develops the interests of more than 3,000 organic industry farmers, operators, producers, processors and traders.

The Campaign for Truth In Medcine.

Some Yank Doctor hawking his stuff.

Mike Adams, the creator of NaturalPedia, is the editor of, the internet’s top natural health news site, creator of the Honest Food Guide (

The Organic Growers of Australia (OGA) formally the Organic Herb Growers of Australia is one of Australia’s six fully accredited organic certification bodies which is catering for the increasing adoption of organic farming practices across Australian agriculture.

A neat mix of “wooo” and trendy lefty quackery sales pitches, absolutly NONE of which backs up their original post and the year 10 level views it proclaims.

Major fail.

3/10 must try harder.

Strive_holistic_pers 9:15 pm
03 Feb 11

Thanks for the feedback see more references below

“organic Farming, Food Quality and Human Health: A review of the Evidence” UK: The SoilAssociation.2001

Price, Weston A.Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. San Diego, CA:Price Pottenger Foundation, 1939.

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