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Sydney to host the International Congress of Dietitians

Australia is set to host the 16th International Congress of Dietitians between September 5 and 8, the first time the event has been here since 1977.

Over 2,000 dietitians, nutritionists and other health and wellbeing experts will be packing into the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre to discuss all things diet-related.

It will be interesting to see what advice and conclusions they come up with, especially given the current prevalence of diabetes and obesity in this country.

Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) president Julie Dundon said that life expectancy may be on the rise, but health conditions put into question the quality of these extra years.

"While Australians are living around eight to ten years longer than they did in 1977, the health price is high," she said in a statement issued August 31.

"Chronic diseases linked to a poor diet, such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers, are major causes of death and disability in Australia, and their prevalence is steadily increasing."

Ms Dundon believes that by making small yet effective changes to their diet, many people could benefit from wide-ranging improvements in their health. However, she acknowledges that not everyone is able to do this on their own - some people need support and guidance.

"Many diseases could be slashed if Australians ate more vegetables, fruit and wholegrain cereals, and fewer foods high in kilojoules, saturated fat, salt and added sugar. But we need to help them do this," she said.

If you believe you need to make some changes to the way you eat, then it may be a good idea to speak with an accredited dietitian or nutritionist, or even your family doctor.

Professionals are able to provide you with sound dietary advice, which can be invaluable if you are suffering from obesity or diabetes.

The good news is, there's no need to be afraid about healthy eating - learning how to feed your body nutritious foods can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

There are plenty of products on the market that bring you both health and flavour, such as Stevia - a natural, healthy sugar.

Stevia extract is sweet, delicious and low in calories - making it the perfect way to sweeten hot drinks, baking and other cooking, without adding extra centimetres to your waistline.

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