Food & Nutrition

The most Googled food questions

According to Google, these are the most common queries about nutrition that we ask Dr google. Now our experts give the real answers.
Published 17 April 2017

Top Googled food questions


1. Can you overdose on carbs?

Expert answer: “Too much vitamin C will actually kill you quicker than too many carbs will!” says registered nutritionist Kate Freeman. However, she says if carbohydrates are consumed in excess of the body’s needs from habitual overeating, over time an individual may gain weight. Carrying excess weight may lead to other problems such as chronic disease. Freeman says it’s important to seek expert help, particularly if you are overweight, to understand what your body’s carbohydrate needs are and to ensure you consume foods that offer good-quality sources, such as whole grains, starchy vegetables, legumes and fruit, as these are important sources of dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals. When considering your total carbohydrate intake, the best place to start is by minimising your intake of highly processed carbohydrates found in cakes, biscuits, lollies and chocolate.


2. How many kilojoules should I eat a day?

Expert answer: Aloysa Hourigan from Nutrition Australia says to maintain your weight you need to aim for your energy intake to equal your energy output. The amount of energy an individual requires each day depends on their gender, activity levels, body composition, state of health, age, weight and height. For example, the National Health and Medical Research Council says the average woman aged 19-30 years, who is 170cm tall and weighs 63.3kg, needs an estimated 8400 kilojoules a day. However, the same woman aged 31-50 years could need 400 kilojoules less a day. The Eat for Health online calculator ( is a good tool for working out your estimated daily energy requirements.


3. How much water should I drink a day?

Expert answer: The average estimated daily fluid requirement for women is 2.1L. “Ideally, most of our fluid intake should come from water, apart from milk and a small amount of fruit juice (125ml a day),” says Hourigan. For every hour of strenuous exercise, she says you’ll need an extra 500ml to 800ml of water, but the exact amount will depend on the individual and the climate.


4. Is coffee bad for you?

Expert answer: You don’t have to give up your morning latte – numerous recent studies have found coffee has a host of health benefits, from lowering rates of type 2 diabetes and some cancers to protecting against Parkinson’s disease. However, the benefits don’t extend to flavoured coffees or those with lots of sugar. Pregnant women are advised to limit their intake as there is a small correlation between coffee consumption and miscarriage. And if you’re drinking so much you can’t sleep or your heart is racing, you may need to cut down.


5. What is gluten?

Expert answer: Gluten is the protein component of cereal grains such as wheat. Clare Wolski, accredited practising dietitian with The Healthy Eating Hub, says it’s a mixture of two smaller proteins that act like glue when kneaded together, and it isn’t bad for you unless you have coeliac disease or an intolerance to gluten.


WARNING! The dangers of Dr Google

With UK research showing 50 per cent of women self-medicate after researching their symptoms online, and a survey from Epilepsy Action Australia revealing that 62 per cent of people would rather look online than go to a GP, the dangers of relying on Dr Google for health information are all too real. The UK report found one in four of the women surveyed had misdiagnosed themselves and one in 10 had experienced unpleasant side effects from taking the wrong medication. Make sure you see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. If you do look online, make sure it’s a reputable source, such as the Victorian government’s Better Health Channel ( and the government-supported Health Direct (