Spoons may hold the secret to sustainable weight loss.

Forget calorie counting, meal replacement shakes or juice cleanses – losing weight is as simple as spoons, say dietitians Justine Hawke and Sally Johnston, authors of new healthy-eating book Spoons for Thought.

With over 250 foods listed, Johnston says the book is an easy way to monitor consumption and improve nutritional education.

“It’s not about cutting anything out totally – it’s about looking at what you’re currently eating, where the fat and sugar is coming from in your diet, and where you can make simple changes to reduce that fat and sugar.”

Spoons for Thought uses simple graphic representations to show how many teaspoons of fat and sugar are in common food items.

“We used very detailed dietary analysis software that involved us putting in different types and serve sizes of food, working out the teaspoons of fat and sugar in them, and then translating that into pictures,” says Johnston. “It’s quite a simple tool and anyone can use it. We’ve even found that showing children the pictures and how to make simple swaps works.”

The premise originated from a common confusion among clients about what foods to eat or avoid.
“We listened to our clients and what foods they chose that were hurdles in their diets and made sure we included those.”

Johnston says that reducing five teaspoons of fat or ten teaspoons of sugar a day can result in a weight loss of about a kilogram a month.

“I think that people often think to lose weight they’re going to have to eat a warm chicken salad but it’s often not such a drastic change,” she says. “There are really simple changes people can make. You can halve your teaspoons of fat by ordering a grilled steak and chips rather than chicken schnitzel and chips.”

She adds that so-called ‘healthy’ options might have huge amounts of hidden sugar or fat and people need to be careful of the choices they’re making.

“Classic areas are things like the ‘no added sugar’ fruit juices,” she says. “People hear those words and think ‘Well that must be good for me’, but a typical bottle of 600ml juice might contain ten or more teaspoons of natural sugar.

“It can really add up in people’s diets when they’re doing that every day.”