18 January 2018
A USC academic who is working to bust myths around nutrition and food fads has won a national award for her witty, no-nonsense healthy eating blog.
Associate Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics Tara Leong’s blog, The Nutrition Guru and The Chef, was recently announced as the winner of the Healthy Eating category in the Bupa Blog Awards.
The national healthcare group recognised the blog, which Ms Leong developed with her chef husband Jeff, as a leading influencer platform improving the health and happiness of their online community.
“It is that time of year when people are motivated to make lifestyle changes, and crazy diets and supplements are promoted that have little or no scientific evidence behind them,” Ms Leong said.
“Social media is a way of reaching as many people as possible to fight the ridiculous amount of nutrition information online that is incorrect, and can be dangerous,” said the former personal trainer, who began the blog in 2013 while completing USC’s Nutrition and Dietetics degree.
The couple now has more than 70,000 followers across their social media sites, including the blog and a website by the same name.
They are regular guests on the ABC, have published a cookbook, and had recipes selected in The Great Australian Cookbook, which features 100 of Australia’s leading chefs, cooks and bakers.
“I am passionate about speaking out against food fads and encouraging people to just calm down when it comes to nutrition,” Ms Leong said.
"Social media and the internet have a strong influence on people's health choices, and unfortunately many social media accounts in the health space are run by those with no qualifications in nutrition.”
More than 800 blogs were nominated for the Bupa Award, with each blog reviewed by a team of advisers for scientific accuracy.
“Our blog was chosen on its ability to provide evidence-based nutrition information. My degree from USC has given me the knowledge and skills to be able to do this.”
The duo will join Bupa’s Influencer Program and receive opportunities to work on health campaigns throughout the year.
Ms Leong previously ran a successful health business on the Sunshine Coast before taking up a role at USC teaching students the practical skills required for menu and recipe development.
She was recently presented with an award for her outstanding contribution as a teacher of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- Clare McKay