Did you know that what we eat impacts not only our physical health, but our mental wellbeing as well? Dr Megan Lee joins the show to discuss dietary patterns, the latest nutritional research and what food types we should stock up on to improve our mood.

Today I’m joined by Dr Megan Lee, a career researcher, scientist, and academic at Bond University on the Gold Coast in Australia. Among her many accolades, Megan holds a PhD in nutritional psychiatry and has published research on the topics of food and mood, dietary patterns and mental health, body image and disordered eating. This is a great listen for anyone interested in nutrition and psychology. Okay, here we go.

The transcript of this episode has been lightly edited for clarity.

It’s a pleasure to speak with you Megan. Welcome to New Ways.

Megan: Thank you so much for having me.

You’ve made huge contributions to multiple fields of research, but I’d like to take it back to the very beginning. Broadly speaking, what drew you to the fields of nutritional research, body image satisfaction and mental health?

That’s a really good question. When I was younger, I had moments or times of sadness in my life where I would go to the doctor and them that I wasn’t feeling so great and instantly would get prescribed with antidepressant medications and sent off to be on a waiting list to see a psychologist, so, not being able to see psychologist immediately. I also had members of my family who were prescribed certain medications for things that they were misdiagnosed with, which had some really negative side effects.

After all these experiences in my life, I was wondering why didn’t anyone ever asked me about what was going on in my life? How I was eating, whether I exercise, if anything large had happened in my life? I know one of the times I was in a little bit of financial trouble. Another time I had a rather large breakup with the first boy I thought I was going to marry. And these were things that made me feel sad. But, maybe I wasn’t actually clinically diagnosable to be depressed?

I had some really negative side effects from these medications, because I was so small and they made me feel really wired… a little bit like ‘zombie life’ at times. I lost my appetite, lost my sex drive completely, my libido disappeared and I gained weight. I got to a stage in my life where I was thinking that surely there is a better way? Surely these over prescriptions of antidepressant medications could actually be resolved by looking at other factors that could impact depression.

So, looking for better reasoning than just, well, you tick some boxes here, you’re clearly depressed? Or, have some medication that should solve the issue. Looking for a deeper dive into the factors that might have actually brought on that depression or anxiety or whatever it was at the time?

Yeah, that’s exactly right. And I’m not saying that antidepressants are bad for everybody. They are so useful and helpful for many people in society. But what the research is showing is that maybe the serotonin theory of depression, where there’s a lack of serotonin in our brains that need to be replenished or the body is unable to replenish its serotonin levels, maybe that’s only the case for about a third of the people who do have depression. And for those people, antidepressant medications work really well.

We’re starting to find that there are maybe other factors involved in mental health issues like depression. Maybe it’s not always about the lack of serotonin in our system.

But we’re starting to find that there are maybe other factors involved in mental health issues like depression. Some of the biological mechanisms that we’re starting to find are like the gut brain connection. So, what’s happening in the gut is happening in the brain. The HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis… There is a real relationship going on there. Shrinking of the hippocampus and neuronal damage from, usually ultra-processed foods, stress, things like that. All these things in the gut, microbiome as well, that are influencing depression. On top of that, we’ve also got our factors, like potential childhood trauma and other things that have happened in people’s lives that could be influencing these symptoms. So, maybe it’s not always about the lack of serotonin in our system.

Interesting. And is that, in a nutshell, what nutritional psychiatry is? Having a look at your nutritional intake and the relationship between food and the mind?

Yeah, that’s right. When we talk about the biological mechanisms that may influence depressive symptoms, then things like nutrition, physical activity, sunlight exposure, sleep patterns and social connection can really help potentially improve people who are experiencing the symptoms of depression. But what we are finding in our research is that potentially this is something that could help in a preventative way, maybe not as much as a treatment for those who are clinically diagnosed. The research hasn’t really gotten to that stage yet where we can firmly say that we can use nutrition as a treatment. It’s more along the lines of, those people who are trying to prevent getting depression in the first place, it’s more effective.

So, taking more of a wellness approach? As in, preventative or positive psychology?

I teach positive psychology at Bond University, and that’s one thing that we look at. Psychology has focused far too long on this deficit model of health, where we are trying to help people who already have symptoms of negative mental health, and it has always been disorder and illness focused. What my focus is, is on how to get people who are, say we’ve got a continuum between zero, that’s the worst you could ever feel, and ten, that’s the best you could ever feel. If we’ve got people who are, like, sitting at a five, getting them up to an eight, rather than getting people who are at a zero up to a three or a four. So, this whole positive psychology, preventative medicine, lifestyle medicine type of focus.

People who ate a diet that was rich in fruits, veg, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains and water had a decreased risk of depression.

And with regard to the findings of your research, what are the most influential outcomes that you found which could help get someone to a five… or even a ten?

I did my PhD on diet and depression across the general population. And what we found during my PhD, the four years of my PhD, was that people who ate a diet that was rich in fruits, veg, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains and water had a decreased risk of depression, while people who ate ultra-processed, refined and sugary foods, common in a Western style dietary pattern, had higher risk of increased depressive symptoms.

It does make sense, if you take care of your body, you could also be taking care of your mind at the same time. So, I take it that there’s a lot of happy vegetarians, vegans, and people eating a Mediterranean diet out there?

Well, that’s the interesting thing. When I did finish my PhD, I was like, I get up and I do all these presentations, and I go to conferences, and I tell everybody, these are the foods you should eat. You should eat fruits, veg, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, water, probiotics, fermented foods, some omega threes, lots of antioxidants, all these things. And I’m like, hang on a second. These are all plant foods, right? Yeah.

So, then I looked into the research on people who eat plant-based diets, so, vegans and vegetarians, and actually the research shows that they have higher rates of depressive symptoms. And I was like, what? This is weird. And I’m currently right now conducting an umbrella review of all of the research on vegan and vegetarian diets and depressive symptoms. And we’re finding some really interesting findings there around the quality of the research that’s been done. It may or may not actually be the case. So ,stay tuned for that one. When we finish that analysis, we’ll have a little bit more of an idea. Keep an eye out on the socials when that paper gets published.

That would be a very interesting metanalysis to read. So, you think it’s more of a qualitative issue (of the research) than the actual diet that people are consuming?

Yeah, that’s right. And what we actually have done since my PhD is we’ve looked at the plant-based diet and depressive symptoms. And, rather than looking at whether or not vegans and vegetarians are more depressed or less depressed, we actually looked at diet quality. And we have a look at those who are eating this really high-quality vegan/vegetarian diet like I just explained, or low quality. There are quite a few vegans and vegetarians out there who don’t eat fruits, veg, nuts, seeds, legumes. They eat highly processed meat replacement products, cakes, pastries, pizza. They just don’t include meat.

And just like the general population, we can split vegans and vegetarians into the two as well. These unhealthy dietary patterns and these healthy dietary patterns. And when we run the data on those, we find exactly the same thing as we find in the general population. Plant based dietary followers who eat those ultra-processed foods, have a higher risk of depression. Those who eat the more fresh fruits, veg, nuts, seeds, have a lower risk of depression.

If you have eaten quite a highly processed western dietary pattern, normally your taste buds are attuned to that hyper sweet, hyper salty flavours. It takes about 64 days for your taste buds to adjust.

So, getting away from, say, being a junk food vegan, or I suppose the idea of just because you’re technically vegan or vegetarian, that does not necessarily mean that what you’re eating is of the highest quality. Because, essentially beer and chips, that’s plant based, right?

Exactly. And the unfortunate thing that’s happening for vegans and vegetarians at the moment, in Australia in particular, because that’s where I’m from, is they are highly marketed these ultra-processed foods. And I know we are in the general population as well. But all these Beyond meats and plant-based things that are coming out now… Marketers are like, wow, this is becoming quite popular to become a plant-based dietary follower, people are becoming more in tune to the environment. They care more about animals, they care more about things that are external to themselves. So, the marketers have jumped on this and they’re like, right, let’s start marketing these super ultra-processed foods to these vegans and vegetarians.

That can be a problem, especially when you start out, when you convert from omnivore to vegan or vegetarian, your taste buds, especially if you have eaten quite a highly processed western dietary pattern, normally your taste buds are attuned to that hyper sweet, hyper salty flavours. And these fresh foods taste boring or bland to people. It takes about 64 days for your taste buds to adjust. And then after those 64 days, eating this healthy dietary pattern, you won’t ever want to turn back and go back to ultra-processed foods again. You just got to get through that 64 days.

Very interesting that you can put a number on that. I can speak from personal experience, transitioning to plant-based and a vegan diet. There was definitely a period of adjustment. I made the error of swapping out white meat, primarily the only meat I ate, to tofu, 1-to-1. I had no knowledge, didn’t know what I was doing. And there was just a shock campaign my body went through. But then, as you pointed out, there came a time where I never missed anything super sweet or super salty. I’ve actually found that I’m not trying to make that up with sauces or additives or anything like that. It’s almost like you get your taste buds back.

It’s 100% how it works. And the 64 days comes from research that shows that it takes 28 days to form a habit, it takes 64 days to create a lifestyle. It’s around that time, it’s around that two-month mark where your taste buds adjust. And when you do have hyper salty or hyper sweet foods, you’re like, wow, that is too much.

Portrait of Dr Megan Lee, who is smiling.
Dr Megan Lee specialises in nutritional psychiatry, mental health and body image.

What you’re saying, it’s not something that we haven’t heard before. It’s the tale as old as time; just eat your vegetables. Although now, it’s not only will that help your body, that will help your mind, which is quite an interesting finding. How do you find that message is received when you go on your speaking engagements or teaching? How does that land with audiences?

Well, it depends on the type of people who are listening. Most people love the message, but I did one time have a radio station ring me and ask for an interview and they’re like, can you tell us about your research? And I told them and they’re like, oh, that sounds boring. And they hung up on me! And I was like, really? Wow. But you’re right. The whole thing about this is a tale as old as time. We’ve been told for years, decades, that healthy dietary patterns are good for our physical health. They prevent chronic illness like cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes. They decrease the obesity epidemic. But it’s only been since around 2008 that researchers have actually looked at, well, what about mental health? So, Felice Jacker at the Food and Mood Centre in Australia, she is one of the pioneers of the field. She wrote the first paper on diet and depression in 2008. But now there’s hundreds of papers in the field and we’re starting to look at that gut microbiome relationship with the brain and how that’s impacting or influencing mood. So that’s really exciting and interesting as well.

Especially in the current climate, where we’ve got issues with equity of access to mental health services. Not that this would be a replacement. Eating an apple a day doesn’t necessarily keep the shrink away, right? But it’s good to know that there are other lifestyle changes people could make that may help alleviate depressive symptoms or even avoid it altogether.

Yeah, and like I said, the research is so new, which it is exciting for us who are in research, because we get to do all the fun stuff and find all the new things. But we also have to keep in mind that the research that has been done is very much observational. Lots of cross-sectional surveys, a little bit of longitudinal data, and there’s currently four randomised control trials that have looked at this. But the exciting thing with those randomised control trials is they all showed the same thing.

People in the intervention group who had changed to the Mediterranean style dietary pattern, 32% of them had decreased their symptoms so dramatically that they no longer were diagnosable clinically.

Felice Jacker did the SMILES trial and Natalie Parletta did a trial in both in 2017, where they took two groups of people. One was given nutritional counselling for six weeks, I think it was twelve weeks, and told to change to a Mediterranean style dietary pattern from their Western style dietary pattern. The control group had a similar social support control, but did not change their dietary pattern, and they were all diagnosed with depression (self-report). And the people in the intervention group who had changed to the Mediterranean style dietary pattern, 32% of them had decreased their symptoms so dramatically that they no longer were diagnosable clinically, compared to 8% in the control. They’re massive numbers for any study on depression.

Natalie Parletta found a similar thing. She was looking at extra virgin olive oil, adding that and nuts as well. And then more recently, Jessica Bayes, who is now at Southern Cross University, did one on young men, found the same thing. What is being done experimentally is showing some really good things, but the field is still quite young and we can’t make these big calls, particularly in a clinical setting. So, we’re not advising patients to stop taking their medicine and start changing their diet.

Five, ten, fifteen years down the line, how long do you think before this becomes a clinical intervention?

Well, I’m not sure. What I’ve been told is that it takes 17 years from the time you start your research until the time that it starts making impact in policy and practise. But we’re already seeing changes. The International Society of Nutritional Psychiatry Research had their conference in Cairns last month and we are already starting to see changes in policy and practise and especially government policy documents, which is really exciting to see nutrition starting to be included as a complementary or an adjunct.

Congratulations on your recent appointment as Secretary of the ISNPR. With that, and your teaching engagements and ongoing research and everything else that you’ve got on your plate, how do you find the time to make sure that own your nutrition is a priority?

That’s a really good question! I read this book called Atomic Habits by James Clear a few years ago, and that really opened my eyes to how you can stop and move away from trying to create habits. Because it’s like a New Year’s resolution, right? You make a resolution, and you never stick to it. Habits are kind of like that and it really stuck with me, his thing about making a lifestyle change is about building it into your identity. You’re not trying to ‘do a habit’, you’re trying to change your identity, so you’re the type of person who does a certain thing.

With nutrition, it’s always been my passion. I’ve always loved food and I’ve always loved taking those types of comfort foods that you loved from your childhood and making healthy swaps into them.

I always struggled with going to the gym, and now I’m able to do that every day because it’s just part of who I am. I am the type of person who goes to the gym. But with nutrition, it’s always been my passion. I’ve always loved food and I’ve always loved taking those types of comfort foods that you loved from your childhood and making healthy swaps into them. It’s just like one of the things that I love. So, ensuring that my nutrition is always, not always, my nutrition, is I look after myself in that way. It’s not hard because I really enjoy creating meals and things and new ideas. But yeah, I don’t always eat healthy.

I also do a lot of research in intuitive eating. So, intuitive eating is a philosophy where you eat when you want, how you want, what you want, as long as you’ve got some form of education about what is good for your body or you’re listening to your body’s cues to tell you whether or not those foods make you feel well or not well. My research in nutritional psychiatry actually started with intuitive eating after I had my son, and I couldn’t lose the weight that I had gained from having my son. And I felt bad about myself. And I looked into research, I’m like, surely other women feel this way? And they do. I was not the only woman who felt this way. And intuitive eating is always really about being gentle with yourself, moving for enjoyment and removing weight focused thinking.

All of my research is about health focus. There is no weight focus. And quite often I will get people ask me to present or go on an interview talking about how to lose weight or how healthy diet is good for your mental health and you can lose weight. And I’m like, I never will go on and speak about weight centric types of topics.

It’s such a broad measurement, isn’t it? Weight. I mean, you can have a shower and gain half a kilo in water weight. So, what does that actually represent? And to your early point about intuitive eating, I think outside of the mindfulness factor, I think most people probably ascribe to intuitive eating. Eating what they want, when they want, but then the key to what you’ve said there is then actually self-regulating and going, well, how did I feel? What did this do or not do for me? And I think that’s absolutely massive to the whole experience of eating and life in general.

And a lot of people say to me when I talk to them about intuitive eating, they’re like, yeah, I love McDonald’s. I’m going to go eat McDonald’s every day. And I’m like, but that’s not how intuitive eating works. After you eat that McDonald’s burger, sit down half an hour later and really be in tune with how your body feels and your brain and all the symptoms that you’re feeling from eating that McDonald’s, then go and have a nice roast veggie salad. Or this morning I had a dragon fruit and pineapple smoothie. Like, try one of those and then in 30 minutes, cheque in with yourself and see how you’re feeling. How are your energy levels? How is your mood and your brain? Is it foggy? Is it clear? How does your body feel? So that’s intuitive eating.

You need to build your nutrition. Think about what you can add. Take away this deficit like idea. What it’s really about is, what can I add?

100%, we used to call back in the day, we called that KFC depression because we would have KFC and it’s yum and it’s got all the salt and the fat and all this, and then you just feel like crap. 30 minutes later, you’re just like, regretting it. And it’s almost like being hungover.

Yeah. And you know what, like I said before, I don’t always eat healthy. Every now and again, I will eat food that would be classified in my research to be unhealthy. I love a doughnut, I really do. I love cheese. Cheese is healthy. Probably not at the level that I eat it. So things like that.

It’s not about always feeling like you’re depriving yourself of the things that you love. You need to build your nutrition. And I always say, think about what you can add. Take away this deficit like idea. When we put ourselves into self-deprivation, we’re just constantly thinking about all the things that we can’t have. And then when you get past that point in time where you’ve told yourself you’re going to deprive, then you binge. What it’s really about is, what can I add? What more things can I have? Every time I cook, I’m like, how can I add one more plant to this every time? How can I put one more plant in?

I imagine you’ve just got a wok that’s, like, two metres tall with every type of plant in there, and it’s just growing and growing? It’s the tower of vegetables over there. And this probably is different for each person, but broadly speaking, what are the top three foods in terms of helping your overall mental health and well-being?

Well, the good news is that there isn’t, like, three particular foods that you need to focus on. So, all my research is about whole of diet patterns. We don’t single out certain foods or certain nutrients, because that’s not how we eat. We eat, like, these big, wide diet patterns and they change all the time. What I would recommend, instead of, like, the three foods, I would recommend eating as close to the Mediterranean style diet as possible. Lots of fruits, veg, nuts, seeds, all of those things that I said before. If you do eat meat, meat should be a seasoning. Not the star of the plate. It should be a seasoning. It’s the umami that you are trying to get from the meat to flavour the food. It’s like lemon, salt, sugar. It shouldn’t be the big star on the plate anyway. Mediterranean style dietary pattern, high in legumes. So that’s one of the things that we don’t do so well in the Western diet, is we don’t eat enough legumes. So high in legumes. Little bit of red wine, a little bit of dark chocolate is okay. High in extra virgin olive oil. That’s kind of what I would recommend.

Every time I do diet quality markers, vegans and vegetarians always far outweigh the omnivores.

Changing the way that you look at meat consumption is really important. From all my research that I’m doing at the moment, it does show that vegans and vegetarians have greater diet quality, despite the fact that I get into fights with lots of people on Twitter about the nutritional deficiencies that are common in vegetarians. Every time I do diet quality markers, vegans and vegetarians always far outweigh the omnivores.

So much so that someone yesterday was arguing with me about my research, and then they turned around and said that my two populations, my omnivore and my plant-based populations, weren’t even enough. And they wanted me to go out and find more healthier omnivores to compare to my vegans and vegetarians. I’m like, you just proved my point! They’re more obese, they’re less educated, they smoke more, they drink more, they eat more ultra-processed foods. I’m like, I know…. this is a randomly selected group of vegans, vegetarians and omnivores. They just happen, the vegans and vegetarians, just happen to be healthier in all aspects. So, yeah, it’s very interesting.

It’s just playing out in the data, isn’t it? So, what are your views then on going all in on meat? That’s one of the most recent diets, gaining popularity on social media, which is just purely eating meat. It’s almost as a replacement for every other type of food in the diet. I can only imagine the effect that must have on mental health?

Well, when I talk about people who I get into arguments with on Twitter, they are usually, always, carnivores. They do not like my research, they do not like my rhetoric. They argue with me constantly about it. My opinion on eating one food type, it would be just like if you ate only broccoli forever. Eating meat by itself is just like eating one plant forever or just cruciferous vegetables forever. It’s the same thing. You’re missing out on all those nutritional elements of all the other foods.

There was an interesting paper written by Felice Jacker 2012 on meat consumption and depressive symptoms. And what she found is this really interesting U-shaped relationship. she found. The recommendations in Australia are 150 grams of red meat, three times a week. That’s the recommendation, for health. What she found when she applied that to her data was that people who ate the 150 grams, three times a week, had decreased risk of depressive symptoms, but those who ate any more than that had increased risk of depression, but any less than that also had increased risk of depression. So that was really interesting, this real weird U-shaped curve with meat consumption. And it just so happened to be right on what the Australian government recommend.

Interesting that it aligned perfectly with those numbers. Speaking of perfect alignment, congratulations on finishing your recent fitness challenge. Could you speak to how this unique and very worthwhile challenge came about?

At Bond University, I work in the faculty of Society and Design, and we decided as a faculty that we wanted to raise a certain amount of money for breast cancer research. Because most of us are researchers and we know how hard it is to get money to fund your research. So, if we could help by fundraising, we would do that. We all entered the National Breast Cancer Research Fund, 57 Squat (Challenge). Now, the reason for the number 57 is because that’s how many women are diagnosed in Australia every day with breast cancer. 57 squats every day, for the women who have been diagnosed. We raised $3,000. And overall, the National Breast Cancer Fund raised 1.5 million in the last month.

If you get up in the morning and you do some form of action or exercise, that will snowball into other healthy choices during the day.

That’s awesome to hear. 57 days of continuous training… how did that impact your nutrition? Did you have to change what you ate or how much you ate or anything like that?

Interestingly, no. But what I find, and again, going back to James Clear’s Atomic Habits book, this habit stacking that he talks about works really well for nutrition because if you get up in the morning and you do some form of action or exercise, that will snowball into other healthy choices during the day. If you get up and you get out for a walk even, and you get the sunlight into your eyeballs immediately… Andrew Huberman is always talking about getting the sunlight into your eyeballs first thing in the morning. You’re out there, you’re getting sunlight exposure. You potentially go to call a friend and be like, let’s go for a walk, or let’s go for a jog together. You’ve got that social connection as well. You’re doing the physical activity, you come home, then you’re more likely to choose a healthier food for breakfast, lunch and dinner because you’ve started your day out with a health-related activity. You’re then more likely to take the stairs at work or park a little further away and do these incidental exercise activities during the day, so it really stacks. And at nighttime you’re then more likely to have better sleeping patterns and better sleep hygiene because you’ve done that activity in the morning, and you’ve done the healthy, choices during the day.

That’s what happens to me if I do make the choice of getting out of bed and going to the gym. It sets me up for the whole day. If I choose to sleep in and hit snooze, I’ll feel sluggish and lethargic, and I won’t make the best decisions during the day.

Momentum carrying through, and not waiting until you feel good, but rather, you’ll feel good after the doing of the thing. 57 days in a row, you certainly had the evidentiary base of doing something and then feeling great.

Yeah, it was really good. And I ended up going to Cannes for the conference and still doing the squats. It wasn’t always in the gym with the racks. It was like in my pyjamas in a hotel room on some days!

So, what’s your next challenge? When you look into the future, what are you most excited about?

I’m really looking forward to working with the International Society of Nutritional Psychiatry Research. I’ve been a member of that for the last four or five years, but I’m really excited about working together with Wolfgang Marks, who is the president, and the rest of the team. Working with Simon Hill, and Tim Crow from Thinking Nutrition along with Lauren Ball and Associate Professor Talitha Best at CQU on all things plant-based and mental health.

So, that’s where I’m going with my research career. We really want to do a prospective study where we follow people who are omnivores, who are about to change to a plant-based diet and get some baseline data for depression, eating disordered behaviours, things like that, and then following them over time.

And a healthy one… The Rail Trail, which is a bike trail along an old railway track that starts in my hometown and goes for 52 kilometres, which has just opened. I would really like to achieve finishing that at some stage.

Quite a lot then, which doesn’t surprise me! The signature question I like to ask everyone that joins us for a chat is, with everything that’s happening in the world and all the challenges that we encounter, both big and small… what would you say is a modern remedy for those issues that we face today?

A modern remedy for the issues that we face for today, related to nutrition psychiatry, I would say, and this might be going way out, but I truly believe that the problems that we have with nutrition are not individual based. I think we’re stuck in a system that doesn’t help us make healthy choices.

Something that I found really interesting the other day, who was I listened to, I think it was Simon on The Proof. He had someone on who was talking about, imagine having a child and you go into the toy store, and in the toy store, the toy man says, all of the toys on the outside of the toy store are okay. They’re not going to kill your child, they’re not going to make them ill. The ones on the inside might, but it’s up to you to decide which ones and whether or not they’re good for your children. So that’s what happens to us in the supermarket, right? We get told, stick to the outside, don’t eat the things on the inside. I’m like, well stop selling the things on the inside. Do you know what I mean?

I think it’s the system that we’re stuck in, and I think that the government could do a lot better, particularly for those who are in lower socioeconomic areas. They could do a lot better in access to healthier foods, access to education around healthier foods. Maybe not completely eliminating everything in the middle of the supermarket, but maybe reducing the amount of choice that we have for those ultra-processed foods. And also making it stricter on the ultra-processed foods not to have these types of branding on them that make them look healthy to trick consumers.

You’re 100% spot on with that. It has changed slightly, over the years, but for the longest time, supermarkets here in Australia would have a single aisle or some part of an aisle dedicated to healthy foods. And it was the ‘strange aisle’, the ‘weird aisle’, and hopefully that can expand to encompass the whole shop, as it were.

Yeah, but even those ‘health food’ aisles, I go down those and, like, I don’t know how many of those are actually healthy. They’re all ultra-processed foods disguised as healthy. They really get to me.

Hopefully, there can be a more systemic change, whether it’s government subsidies or access, as you said, and putting a bit of pressure on even, I suppose, the commercial aspect of it, right? Because you need the buy-in from the shops. They need to have a reason to stock the things, because at the moment, they’re making enough money as it is, selling what they’re selling. So, hopefully there can be a conversation around that, which changes things. And obviously, people like yourself who are putting the research out there to show the facts and the figures that actually back up this argument as well.

Well, thank you so much for your time, Megan. It’s been an absolute pleasure speaking with you. For people that are interested in your research and want to learn more it, where can they find you?

So, my website is meganlovingmegan.com, the same as my handles for Facebook and Instagram, and on Twitter you can find me at MeganLeePhD.

Awesome. Well, it’s been a wonderful chat and thanks again for your time.

Thank you for having me.

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