Understanding barriers to increasing legume consumption

While the evidence on the health benefits of plant based diets and legumes increases, consumption remains low. Increasing consumption of legumes is likely to have important health benefits, and as an alternative source of protein may have an important role in decreasing reliance on meat consumption while maintaining protein intakes. Many population groups consume excess protein but inadequate vegetable consumption. Research is required to understand how to move Australians towards more plant based diets. Increasing legume consumption is one particular strategy but current Australian patterns are not conducive to this.

The specific research questions and research issues of interest for this project may include:

  • What are the current intakes of legumes, the characteristics of consumers, the types of meals consumed that contain legumes, trends in consumption over time and associations with health outcomes?
  • What are the predictors, attitudes and barriers to legume consumption among different population groups?
  • What are aspects of food literacy such as cooking skills and knowledge that determine regular use and consumption of legumes?
  • Examining the acceptability of meals and dishes to understand the factors that influence the acceptability of legume-based meals and dishes.
  • Examining nutrition communication resources and media reporting of legumes to examine how issues are framed for consumers?
  • Testing messages and strategies focusing on food literacy to increase consumption and use in cooking including testing of intervention materials


Applications are invited to work with Professor Sarah McNaughton and other members of the Dietary Patterns group at the Institute for Physical Activity Nutrition (IPAN), Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.


Applicants will have previous studies in a relevant discipline, such as nutrition, dietetics and public health. Interested students must be eligible for enrolment in a PhD program at Deakin University and eligible to apply for an Australian Postgraduate Award or equivalent. Applicants must meet Deakin’s PhD entry requirements. Please refer to the entry pathways to higher degrees by research for further information. We will work with suitably qualified applicants to apply for scholarship funding.

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