Speaking test vocabulary


You need to know how to talk about food and health in both the Speaking and the Writing test. It is important to develop your vocabulary around the topic of health and diet. Let’s start with a few basics.

 How much food?

Calories or Kilojoules are the basic units of energy that are in food. Australians tend to talk in calories, even though we are officially metric, so I am going with that.

Children should eat 1600-200 per day depending on their activity level and other factors.

Adults should eat 2000 calories per day depending on their activity level and other factors.

If you eat more calories than you need, they are stored in the body as fat. If this becomes a habit, than the body will be overweight. When the body becomes seriously overweight, then the person is described as obese.

Calories are not the only thing to consider when choosing healthy food.


Components of food.

Your food is made up of carbohydrate (carbs), fat, protein and micro nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Part of your carbs are fibre, (the American spelling is fiber) which is found in vegetables, fruit, and whole grains like rice and wheat. Fat is found in meat, nuts and food like olives, coconut and other plants, protein is found in meat, fish, beans, dairy, nuts and lentils. Vitamins and minerals are found in wholefoods.

Dairy is food from a cow, sheep, buffalo or goat, and includes milk, cheese, yoghurt, cream and butter. Dairy is a whole food unless it is processed into ice cream or sweetened yoghurt or some other high-sugar, additive-laden ingredient.


Wholefoods vs refined foods

Wholefoods are foods that aren’t overly processed, for example fruit, vegetables, brown rice, whole grain bread, meat (not processed meats like sausage or ham).  They don’t have too much added salt or sugar or any other additives, which include preservatives, artificial colours and flavour enhancers. Wholefoods contain fibre and nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, and they usually have a high water content.

Refined foods are processed foods, usually made in factories. Examples are frozen pizza, canned goods, like baked beans, sauces, snack food like potato chips, corn chips and crackers, sweet biscuits (cookies) and sugary drinks like coke and other soft drinks. They are usually high in sugar, salt or fat, or all of these together, as well as being high in calories. They often have a low water content and are low in nutrients, like vitamins and minerals.

Let’s compare a wholefood to a refined food.

1 orange

1 small bowl of potato chips


On hundred grams of oranges (1 large orange) has 47 calories, almost no fat (0.1g), no sodium (salt), 89 per cent of the daily vitamin C requirement and 2.4 g of fibre.

One hundred grams of potato chips has 536 calories, 35 grams of fat, 8mg sodium (salt). 51 per cent daily vitamin C, and 4.8 g fibre.


Which snack is better for a child? Which one is a child more likely to choose? Why?

Why are people in many countries becoming obese?

Well, I know that children in Australia are becoming obese because of diet and lifestyle factors. Personally I think diet is the main culprit. In Australia and many other countries, people eat a lot of refined food, and it’s not just take-away from places like McDonald’s. Pre-packaged food from supermarkets is also highly refined. People are eating food prepared from cans, jars and packets instead of wholefoods.  These foods are high in calories and salt and sugar, as well as low in nutrients.

Is there an obesity problem in your country? What is the cause?






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