Independent Authority Promoting Grains and Legumes as Part of our Balanced Diet [Interview][Transcript]

Michelle_Broom_Grains_Legumes_Nutrition_CouncilGuest: Michelle Broom
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Michelle Broom is General Manager of the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council. She is a member of the Dietitians Association of Australia Food Regulation Advisory Committee and Convener of the Corporate Nutrition Interest Group. Michelle has worked in roles in five different countries around the world and has a background in both corporate and public health dietetics having worked for Kellogg’s in Australia and British Columbia Health in Canada. Michelle is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and holds a Master of Nutrition and Dietetics, a Diploma of Education and a Bachelor of Science (Chemistry).

Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, know more about nutrition especially the health benefits of eating grains and Legumes as we are joined by GNLC General Manager Michelle Broom. The Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council provides a platform for organisations from across the grains and legumes value chain that have a pre-competitive interest in promoting the health and nutrition benefits of grains, grain-based foods and legumes. Last year, they launched a three-year plan in which GNLC identified the core strategic priorities for the Council to underpin and further drive the position of grains and legumes role in the diet.


Health Professional Radio

Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar and my guest today is Michelle Broom. Michelle is the General Manager of the Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council. Michelle welcome to Health Professional Radio.

Michelle Broom: Thank you Wayne, lovely to be here.

W: Now Michelle I have to make a confession, prior to lining up with this interview with you, I had not heard of the Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council. So assuming that I’m not the only one, fill us in and tell us what it is you do.

M: Well Wayne, I’m not surprised. But we are trying to get our name out there more. So firstly if some of your listeners have heard of us, we’re actually a not for profit organization and we’re health promotion charity. And our role is to promote the role of grains and legumes in a healthy balance diet. So essentially looking at all the research that’s coming out of the health and nutrition benefits of grains and legumes, and making sure that healthcare professionals and the government agencies making guidelines as well as consumers are aware of that new research and all the benefits.

W: And Michelle just to fill us in, what are the big food groups that we will see in the grains and legumes category?

M: So the main ones we, as you probably know grains go to a lot of different food. But our role is really looking at those foods that are what we call “core grain food,” so the one that are recommended for health, so breads, breakfast cereal, pasta, rice and more lately some of those trendy ones like … those sorts of things.

W: So it is a kind of big category of food. It’s not a marginal little group of nutritional elements, it’s a big chunk.

M: Absolutely, it’s one of the 5 main food. Well grains may count one of the size main food groups and they give actually fit in on two of those food groups for there, they fit in meat and alternative groups, as well as the vegetables group within the dietary guidelines.

W: I see. And how is the Grains and Legumes Nutritional Council funded? Is it a government funded or is it an industry funded organization?

W: No, it doesn’t have any government funding. We do have about half of our funding comes from grain growers and the other half comes from manufacturers of grain products like Sanitarian Kellogg’s who’s sort of producing those core grain foods that we talked about. So they contributed to our organization but as a health promotion charity we have to be independent of those people so they can’t influence our decisions materially.

W: And do you do a lot of work with research and academia directly? Or are you a clearing house for … research rather than sponsor these researches yourselves?

M: We do do a small amount of research. So we have relationships to a number of universities around Australia and we do get involved in some of that research. We’re a very small organization so we’re quite limited in what we can do from a budget point of view. But often what we’ll do is get involved in an in-kind capacity. So we might be talking to universities such as the Functional Grain Center University at Charles Sturt University. We have an agreement with them to help them link the market in any way we can, and then with the manufacturers with the relationships that we have, but then also to get the message out about the research that they’re doing.

W: And who do you see Michelle as your kind of primary target for getting the message out to? Do you only that the diet professionals or you’re only for public?

M: Both really Wayne. So we see most healthcare professionals is really an important part, key opinion that they may give in this area and key influences because they see people overtime. And food, everyone eats food and a lot of people are interested in how food can affect their health. So we’re very mindful of the fact that a lot of healthcare professionals have to keep up to date on a whole range of things beyond just nutrition. And so our role really is to be that expert group that keeps up to date with the latest research, and then that’s available for healthcare professionals when they need this. There’s a list of information for them as well as the resource for their client and patients. So we’re very much about helping providing information for healthcare professionals but then also we do work with journalists to try and get the message out to consumers as well so that when as a healthcare professional you’re talking about the importance of grains, they’re also seeing that in the media this consistent message that they’re getting.

W: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio with Wayne Bucklar. My guest today is Michelle Broom. Michelle is the General Manager of the Grains and Legumes Nutritional Council. And we’ve been talking about the role of the Council in education and other functions within their problems of being I guess a clearing house of information and a source of expertise in grains and legumes in diets. Now I might not have expressed that as nicely as you could Michelle, but I hope I’ve got the key points there. Now Michelle most of our audience, about 95% in fact are clinicians of one kind or another – they’re doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, mainly in either acute care and hospital or in aged care. Is there a message that you’d like them to take away as a result of having heard you today?

M: I think that there’s two messages really. One of them is that we’re an organization that’s here for them so if they need information they can go to our website or contact us at any stage. There’s a lot of information in the media by unqualified food self-proclaimed experts in this field telling people to cut out grains and even legumes. So if you really want that science-based evidence, then we’re here for you as a resource.

W: Yes, there is an endless supply of experts expressing a few about what particular ins and outs in your diet will all of a sudden make you slim, young and incredibly attractive.

M: That’s right.

W: I haven’t found them myself yet, but I’m looking. I am looking.

M: (Chuckle)

W: What’s the greatest misconception that you find amongst your I guess, clients and customers and the consumers? Michelle what’s the greatest misconception you find that drive you nuts and keep you awake at night?

M: Well the existing one Wayne, we run a consumption study every 2 years. And what we do is ask people, we have a nationally representative group people and ask them what type of grains and legumes are they eating and why might they’re not be eating enough to get a balanced diet. And what the most recent one showed us was a bit strange and we’re worried about is that people don’t think that they’re part of a healthy diet anymore. So it’s really this concept of people used to know what healthy diet was, they just weren’t quite getting there. Now people are just so confused, they’re cutting out grains completely, because they think all that got in them are carbohydrates. And that’s a real concern for us because that means that people’s diets are not balanced and they’re really missing out on a lot of the key nutrients that grains provide. And we know that people that eat good quality high fiber, whole grain food are the ones that are less likely get heart disease and they’re less likely get diabetes, and less likely they to be obese. So we need people to be eating a balanced diet including those foods.

W: I can understand why that particular misconception be of concern to you. And I had no idea that that trendiness in diet had swung that far that set that level of confusion about what constitutes a healthy diet.

M: Absolutely, I think that as I’ve said before there so much information out there and conflicting information that people are just confused.

W: Now Michelle, you did mention your website but I didn’t stop you at the time to get the URL, is it

M: That’s correct.

W: So I’m always getting into trouble for mentioning websites without giving people enough time to get their pencils ready. So pencils ready listeners, that stands for Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council. And there you can find all the information that Michelle’s been talking about. Michelle it’s been a pleasure having you with us, thank you for your time. I realize you’re a busy person. And it is always an imposition to have someone want to ring you up and chat about things, thank you very much.

M: Oh you’re very welcome, thank you Wayne.

W: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. If you just missed my conversation with Michelle Broom General Manager of Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council, then the good news is we have transcript on our website. You can get it on and there’s a transcript of my interview with Michelle. You can also listen to the interview again, both on YouTube and SoundCloud and there are also links to that on our website at This is Health Professional Radio.