Anthony Albanese may have added years to his life by overhauling his diet and reducing his alcohol intake during his incredible weight loss journey.
The Prime Minister embarked on a quest to get fit after being in a scary car accident in January 2021, losing 18kg in less than a year by cutting out carbs, increasing his exercise and giving up alcohol for three months.
In March, the Labor leader had reduced his target to less than 80kg, meaning he is no longer considered obese according to body mass index measurements.
Mr Albanese’s incredible transformation was used as a political weapon by Scott Morrison in the federal election in May, but the new Prime Minister may have had the last laugh – in more ways than one.
Nutritionist Susie Burrell told Daily Mail Australia that Mr Albanese’s weight loss would have reduced his risk of a number of serious conditions including heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, high cholesterol, low blood pressure and blood sugar.
Anthony Albanese cuts a fine figure with girlfriend Jodie Haydon as he arrives in Spain for the NATO leaders’ summit on June 27
Mr Albanese (pictured in 2017) lost 18kg in less than a year by cutting out carbs, increasing his exercise and giving up alcohol for three months
“It would have significantly reduced his risk of lifestyle diseases, which overweight men in Australia are at risk of,” she said.
“We know that Australian men drink too much alcohol and the consumption of processed foods in Australia is high, especially after the pandemic. We also live sedentary lives.
“So we eat too many bad things and don’t move. That’s why men with beer bellies are the norm in Australia.
About 67% of Australians are overweight or obese, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2018 National Health Survey, with lifestyle-related diseases a major health concern for both men and women.
Experts predict that more than 18 million Australians will be overweight or obese by 2030 if the trend continues.
Ms Burrell, who holds two honors degrees in nutrition, dietetics and psychology, said sedentary lifestyles are becoming the “norm” is concerning for healthcare professionals.
She said that for people who fall into the obese or overweight categories, weight loss — as long as it’s done in a healthy way — offers long-term benefits.
Mr Albanese is pictured in 2013 (left) and 2022 (right) after losing 18kg in less than a year
Anthony Albanese (pictured) embarked on a health journey last year after being involved in a car crash He is pictured in 2013
But while higher weights pose greater risks of disease, Ms Burrell cautioned against using BMI – which marks weight – as an indicator of health.
“The risk increases with the degree of weight and obesity. There is a genetic component, but lifestyle is the factor over which we have control,” she said.
“BMI takes into account overall mass, which may include muscle mass. However, body fat is a better measure of health risks. For men, it is the amount of abdominal fat they have, which becomes problematic beyond 90cm (circumference).
“Losing weight too quickly leads to loss of muscle mass, which is not good for the heart. The key is not so much weight, but waist circumference as an overall indicator of health.
Mr Albanese revealed to Daily Mail Australia in September that he had lost 15kg, before announcing six months later that he had lost a further three.
Speaking about his fitness on Triple M Perth in March, Mr Albanese said he cut the alcohol after a serious car accident mid last year when his Toyota was hit by a Range Rover and that he was rushed to hospital for x-rays but escaped serious injury. .
“In January last year I had a near death experience in the car,” Mr Albanese said.
Susie Burrell, who holds two honors degrees in nutrition, dietetics and psychology, said weight loss among overweight or obese Australians reduces the risk of lifestyle-related diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.
“I had a frontal car accident and it really forces you to sit down and think. I was taking pretty heavy painkillers, so I didn’t have to drink alcohol.
“And I just thought I’d see how long I could hold out. I left for five months. So now I have the occasional beer. I had a nice little creature last night.
During the federal election campaign, Mr Morrison took aim at his competitor’s weight loss, suggesting Mr Albanese was ‘pretending’ to be someone he was not.
“You cannot present yourself to the Australian people as something you are not,” the former prime minister said.
“Leopards don’t change their spots. Even though they change their glasses and costumes, they are still the same.
Mr Morrison later dismissed criticism that his comment was a low blow, including in a viral LinkedIn post from Troy Mansell, co-founder of employee wellness app Benny Button.
“This week, our Prime Minister called Anthony Albanese’s improving health an identity insecurity. He doesn’t know who he is. It’s like he’s trying to be someone else,’ Mr Mansell wrote in March.
Mr Albanese pictured in April with partner Jodie Haydon, who praised his online wellness journey
“Anthony Albanese made a conscious decision to improve his relationship with food, alcohol and exercise. He is happy and proud of his efforts. It should be celebrated by everyone. Not politicized.
Mr Albanese’s partner, Jodie Haydon, shared the post, adding gushing praise of her boyfriend’s inspiring health journey.
“I am so proud of Anthony’s discipline and drive to improve his health. It was a decision made some time ago after a near death experience to get the most out of life and to give every chance to be healthy and happy.
“As a partner I have seen how grueling a politician’s life can be, it’s completely exhausting mentally and physically.”
Ms Haydon said she hoped Australians were all looking to take care of themselves as best they could and that Mr Albanese’s lifestyle changes could motivate others to follow suit.
“The past two years have shown us, during a pandemic, how important our health is and how much we need to value it,” she said.
“I hope his actions can inspire others to do the same.”
SUSIE BURRELL’S TOP FIVE TIPS FOR REDUCING THE RISK OF LIFESTYLE DISEASES
1. Reduce your alcohol consumption – maximum 10 standard drinks per week!
2. Cut out refined carbs = white bread, pastry, white rice, soft drinks.
3. Cut portions of meat – 150g max cooked 3-4 times per week or less than 350g per week with some meat free days
4. Fast 12 hours a day – cut out late night snacks.
5. More vegetables – vegetables protect against disease and less than 1 in 10 Australians come close enough. Drink vegetable juice and get vegetables with every meal. Aim for 1-2 vegetarian meals per week, eg. red beans, vegetable soup or lasagna