Prof Grant Schofield
Schofield is director of the Human Potential Centre at AUT and does ongoing research into physical activity-based research that includes nutrition. Schofield also had a Damascus moment, in the Pacific Islands.
In Vanuatu, the people eat the same way they have for decades - on fresh produce they grow or catch themselves - mainly fish, vegetables and coconuts. The population were healthy and happy.
About 60 per cent of their calories come from fat, more than double the average New Zealand intake. There was very little carbohydrate, just a small amount of rice.
On Kiribati, the islanders survive on a staple of cheap imports such as soft drinks, white rice, flour, sugar, tinned fish and instant noodles.
The people rely heavily on foreign aid, nearly all the adults were overweight or obese. The children were malnourished. Rampant diabetes meant the hospital was amputating up to 20 limbs a week.
"That's when the penny dropped," Schofield said. "Two islands - The difference? The food. Specifically, the amount of carbohydrates. If you ever wanted evidence that processed carbohydrates damage humans, you should go to Kiribati and have a look for yourself.
Schofield co-authored with Caryn Zinn, a book called “What the Fat: Fat's IN: Sugar's OUT,” 2015
and a new one called “What the Fat: Sports Performance,” 2016
Be the best you can be.
Grant Schofield is Professor of Public Health at AUT, and director of the University’s Human Potential Centre.
Grant Schofield talks to RNZ about fat in the diet.
Grant’s career has focused on preventing the diseases of modern times, and seeing what it takes to help people live a long, healthy and happy life.
He lives and breathes the motto “be the best you can be”, and sees this as a game-changer for the health system – capable of transforming the current deficit (sickness) model, to one in which we aspire to be well. He is redefining public health as the science of human potential; the study of what it takes to have a great life.
Grant is well known for thinking outside the box and challenging convention wisdom in nutrition and weight loss, as well as physical activity and exercise.
He is best known for his work in three areas: abandoning rules and embracing risky play in his free range kids work; leading public discussion in flipping the food pyramid, by challenging the low fat nutrition dogma with low carb high fat diets; and developing national accounts of well-being through his Sovereign Well-being Index research.
His fluency across several scientific disciplines – from human physiology, to psychology, to pack performance – allows a new lens to be cast over old problems.