The culture of eating has changed, says health and lifestyle expert Dr John Rieger, but it hasn’t gone away.
“The key thing about it is that people don’t feel comfortable talking about it and we know that’s something that’s really detrimental,” he says.
“We need to change that.”
Dr Riegers role in the culture of the Australian diet is in part to provide advice to businesses, but also to support and educate consumers.
He says that while there has been a rise in interest in the “foodie” lifestyle, it’s not the norm.
“It’s a very niche sector that’s relatively new and it’s also very expensive,” he said.
However, Dr Rieser is convinced that consumers can be more engaged in the food and health sector.
I think we have to be more active in the consumer’s mind, he says, and we need to understand more about the health and wellbeing of the consumer and the food that they’re buying.
Dr Rieges advice to consumers about the impact of eating on their health and well-being comes from his work with the Australian Institute of Family Studies.
In the early 1990s, he became involved in the research of the “cultures of eating” because it gave him a unique perspective on the changing habits of many Australians.
During that time, Dr John was introduced to a person from a small town in NSW who was “an expert in the diet of his community”, Dr Riess said.
Dr Rielgers diet was an unusual one, he said, with a lot of dairy and some fish.
The person who was also an expert on eating was very keen to help Dr Riemers research, Dr Richard said.
They eventually developed a relationship.
It wasn’t long before Dr Rrieger met the person who would become his mentor, Dr Robert.
They became good friends, Dr Roger said.
“It was a very happy time and a very fun time,” Dr Rieter said.
“He was very supportive, he helped me through a lot and he gave me a lot to learn about.”
Dr Rieters research was the first to look at the impact eating had on the health of Australian people, Dr Roberts said.
Dr Riesers findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2008.
But his research wasn’t the only way he discovered that Australians were eating differently.
After graduating from medical school in the early 2000s, Dr George Rieber started studying the “cultural factors” of the Western diet.
This led to his first book, The Cult of Eating: What’s the science?
His latest book, Eating Matters: How our diet, health and culture can affect our lives, is published by Penguin Random House.