We first need to establish a measuring unit for how much energy we get from each of the three macronutrients. The pie shows the proportion of calories from each source not the total number of calories. Note that the proportion of daily calories from protein and fat is much higher as a result of the reduction in carbohydrate.
This pie has a dangerously high protein content, like some weight loss meal replacement drinks that have “use under medical supervision” on the label. Although the fat content is lower than the usual Western diet, it is still very high by international standards, and the protein content is higher because of the emphasis on low fat meat and dairy products. We consider that this balance of macronutrients is close to optimal for preventing obesity, diabetes and heart disease and keeping you feeling your best.
There are alternative whole foods plant based diets that include a lot of nuts and seeds giving them a higher fat content, higher protein content and lower carbohydrate content. Lack of appreciation of the counterbalancing effects of carbohydrates, proteins and fats can result in your diet not being what you think it is. If only the Australian community had a better understanding of “the daily energy pie” then people would realise that their “low carb” diets are actually dangerously high in animal protein and fats.
For links to further information on low carbohydrate diets go to the Low carbohydrate diets page.
AboutThe purpose of this website is to promote and support whole foods plant based nutrition in Australia. Daniel Tan receives funding from the Cotton and Grains Research and Development Corporations. The way we currently produce food around the world contributes up to 20-30% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and accounts for 70% of all human water use.
The Australian Guide To Healthy Eating recommends eating a variety of nutritious foods including vegetables, fruit, grain and lean meat to achieve a balanced healthy diet.
This guide indicates the need to increase the consumption of cereals, legumes, vegetables and fruit, while consuming meat, fish and dairy products in lesser quantities. Meat is an important source of protein and certain micro-nutrients, including iron, zinc and vitamins and milk is a rich source of protein and calcium. Protein intake is important for a balanced diet, as insufficient protein intake can lead to obesity due to excessive carbohydrate and fat intake to meet energy requirements. Plant foods – including grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes – are also vital for keeping us healthy. Those diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations.
In developed countries like Australia and the UK, people tend to consume more meat and operate at a higher trophic level in the food chain. At the lowest level of the food chain (trophic level 1) are primary producers such as plants, followed by plant-eating animals such as cows, goats, horses and kangaroos.
The rearing of livestock for meat, eggs and dairy also generates 14.5% of total global greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from methane produced during digestion in grazing animals such as cattle and sheep.


The double pyramid, showing which foods are best for us as individuals and for the environment. The Double Pyramid developed by the Barilla Centre for Food and Nutrition in Italy shows the synergies between food that is good for our health and environment. This model consists of two pyramids: one is the traditional food pyramid similar to the Australian guide, while the other is an upside-down pyramid ranking the environmental impacts of the same foods. Legumes such as chickpea and lentil have less than half of the greenhouse emissions of other cereal crops, as they are able to fix nitrogen naturally from the air and do not require any nitrogen fertilisers.
Even a modest replacement of energy-intensive animal products with less-energy-intensive grains, fruits and vegetables would be significant at the global scale. Given that fewer than 3% of people in Australia and the UK are vegetarian, it’s unrealistic to suggest a meat-free diet for everyone. Instead, it may be more realistic to encourage people to replace quantities of red meat and processed meat with lean, less environmentally-harmful meat options such as chicken, and plant-based proteins such as legumes. In Australia and New Zealand, grazing animals are mainly grass-fed rather than grain-fed (more common in the US), which may play an important role in soil carbon sequestration in grasslands, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions. If a healthy and sustainable plant-based diet is better for our health and environment, why is it that consumption of plant foods in many developed countries does not meet recommended levels?
In Victoria, for example, fewer than 8% of adults consume the recommended daily intake of five or more serves of vegetables, and fewer than 46% eat the recommended daily intake of two or more serves of fruit.
The recent Australian Health Survey found that one in four adults were eating no vegetables on an average day and only 7% were eating the recommended five servings.
An energy-dense diet made up of refined grains, added sugars and added fats may also be more affordable than a healthy and sustainable diet based on fruits and vegetables and lean meats.
Australian governments could help promote a healthier diet by considering educational and policy measures, such as reinstating the healthy-food star rating systems and restricting junk food promotion.
Given the rapidly rising costs to all Australians of our growing waistlines – 25% of us are now obese, one of the highest rates in the world – failing to act is already proving extremely expensive, in both personal and economic terms. It’s also up to each of us to make healthier choices, for our own sake, as well as for the environment that our children will inherit from us – and that starts with the food we eat today.
Tensions between cattle herders and crop-farming communities in Nigeria have escalated in the past few months. Australian and New Zealand dairy farmers need to get used to the low prices for milk as they represent the new norm in global markets. Grams of each per day will not do because fat has more than twice the calories per gram as either protein or carbohydrate.
Remember that the updated daily energy pie represents the proportion of calories from each macronutrient so it’s still a whole pie that adds up to 100% even if your total day’s calorie intake is bigger or smaller. For example, an endurance athlete trying to eat a high carbohydrate diet to maximise performance may unwittingly add cheese (fat and protein) and margarine (fat) to their pasta and bread. We provide links to evidence based information and practical advice for those wanting to follow a plant-based diet.
I have lots more energy and fewer cravings for sweets''Honestly, I have never felt so great.


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That’s why the Australian Guide recommends two daily serves of milk and dairy products, along with two serves of meat, fish and eggs.
That’s why the Australian Guide To Healthy Eating recommends a higher consumption of plant foods each day, along the lines of seven serves of cereals, five serves of vegetables and legumes, and two serves of fruit. Then come animals that eat other animals, and then the apex or super predators at the top of the food chain (including carnivores like crocodiles, lions and killer whales). That’s why, for example, production of livestock, on average, may require 4 kg of cereal grain for the production of 1 kg of meat.
If people consumed more crops directly, rather than their processing through livestock, there will be a positive environmental impact. In general, foods at the base of the food pyramid are also those with the lowest environmental impact. Most emissions associated with vegetable production come from fertiliser use, electricity use and post-harvest refrigeration and transport. The number of calories we get from each source is better but it going to be hard to compare different diets and different people because the daily calorie intakes will vary enormously.
It’s like a seesaw with three arms: when one arm goes down, one or both of the other two must go up. The energy pie would then have bigger fat and protein sections and therefore the carbohydrate section shrinks from high to moderate.
Although we share the environmental, ethical and world food supply concerns of others, the focus of this website is health and wellbeing through improved nutrition. With Sam's plan, it's different.'Plus it's easy to get motivation from the private Facebook group.
Doing that can reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer, and increase life expectancy. All of your calories for the day derive from these three energy sources (and perhaps alcohol).
Therefore, we shall measure each macronutrient in terms of its percentage contribution to daily calorie intake. This seems simple enough but the interaction between the macronutrients is more complex and often misunderstood.
The percentage of calories from carbohydrate, protein and fat can be applied to a whole day’s food intake, a long term diet or even a single food item. The following discussion uses the concept of your daily “energy pie” to explain what it really means to eat “low carb”, “low fat” or “high protein”.



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