Think you’re healthy? Test yourself
Exclusive: Australia is in the grip of a human energy crisis, with new data showing burnout has become a No1 health worry for men and women across the country.
Experts blame work and lifestyle for the new trend, which is reflected in increasing numbers desperate to feel better.
Research shows "feeling better and having more energy" is given as the biggest reason for Australians wanting to change their diet - more so than losing weight, looking good or medical advice.
Surprisingly, a lack of energy is a common theme across all ages, sexes and states, although women are feeling it worse than men (82 per cent of females compared to 67 per cent of males).
More than 1500 Australians aged over 18 were asked to pick the biggest trigger for eating well as part of Taste's landmark study, Recipe for Health.
Energy is both the number one trigger for healthy eating and the main health benefit Australians want from food, cited by 71 per cent nationally.
Behind it come "losing weight" at 65 per cent, "improving my overall health" at 62 per cent, "protect my health" at 56 per cent and "a change in my physical appearance" at 38 per cent.
Australians across all age groups rate energy as the most important reason for eating healthy, with those aged 18-54 citing in 74 to 77 per cent of cases, and the over 55s in need of it the most (81 per cent).
And it's the same in every state, although South Australians feel it most and Tasmanians the least (SA, 69 per cent; ACT: 68 per cent; QLD, 65 per cent; NSW, 64 per cent; VIC + NT, 63 per cent; TAS, 57 per cent).
Experts yesterday warned that the fuel slump is because of our lifestyles and diets, but said it is fixable - and they urged Aussies to take a simple online test as a first step to turning that around.
Filling in the annual Great Aussie Eating Survey at Taste.com.au helps give a national snapshot of our habits.
Everyone who completes it will receive a free seven-day Energy-boosting Dinner Plan, along with their personalised health score and health summary.
GP Ginni Mansberg, author of Why Am I So Tired?, said Australians are running out of fuel because they work too much.
"We know that Australians work the longest hours in the OECD, and we know for women in particular we are shouldering the vast majority of the home-based work … while we often still take up the burden of paying 50 per cent of the mortgage and the bills by working full time.
"The sheer number of hours we are devoting to work is having several impacts; one it's clocking up stress; two, it's eating into our sleep time; and three … it's impacting on our ability to shop, cook and prepare wholesome and nutritious meals for our family," she said.
"So while we are loving getting on Instagram and looking at fantastic salads and vegetable offerings our ability to translate those into a practical reality for our families is diminishing. We just don't have the time. And the result is we are lacking in energy."
Her advice is to take the time to plan meals ahead that are easy and within your budget.
Leading obesity expert Dr Nick Fuller from the University of Sydney and author of the book, Interval Weight Loss, said weight problems were also fuelling the nation's fatigue crisis.
"It's tied into the fact that 77 per cent of the population are struggling with their weight," Dr Fuller said.
"Fatigue and energy and everything that goes with that is often a consequence of carrying excess weight and not looking after or prioritising our health."
'I FEEL THE GREATEST I EVER HAVE'
Eating healthily is a "no-brainer" for Sunshine Coast mum Claudia Natasha - but that hasn't always been the way.
The 32-year-old mum of two used to eat a lot of bread and pasta and pre-packaged food from the supermarket.
That all changed after the birth of her first child.
Mrs Natasha said motherhood, a lack of sleep that inevitably goes hand-in-hand with parenting, and juggling a career took a toll on her fuel reserves.
At the same time she was testing an all-organic diet to treat her baby's eczema and other allergies.
When results started to show the entire family joined in and they haven't turned back since.
"I feel the greatest I ever have," Mrs Natasha said.
"I think it's a no-brainer. Everybody says that going superorganic is super-expensive but it's not that much if you concentrate on fresh produce."
She spends anywhere between $80-$120 a week on organic fruit and vegetables compared to about $60 she would have spent on fruit and vegetables from the supermarket.
But she insists the "benefits far outweigh the extra cost".
"Always buy in season, if you buy in season it's buying smart," she said.
She also quit coffee five months ago and swears it has made her feelings of anxiety go away.
"I could almost say it (coffee) was fuelling my anxiety," she said.
Mrs Natasha now works as a fitness instructor and runs a blog, The Maximalist, promoting healthy living.
She urged Australians to join the Great Aussie Eating Survey and turn their health around.
"Knowing where you are at with your health is always the first step in making positive changes in your life," she said.