Researchers identify useless diet foods
Fri, 24 Feb 2012 6:33a.m.
Otago University obesity researchers have identified a list of 49 foods they say contain lots of energy but are essentially bereft of nutritional benefits.
While the list contains the usual suspects of fatty foods and soft drinks, it also throws up some surprises, such as fruit juice, honey, and even muesli bars which can be more fattening than toffee pops.
The NEEDNT, or non-essential, energy dense, nutritionally deficient, list was published in the New Zealand Medical Journal on Friday, and has been developed primarily to help obese people better identify those foods best avoided.
Lead author Jane Elmslie stressed it was not just another list of high calorie foods, but also showed those low in essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.
The list names the generic food, and suggests a healthier replacement, or none at all for foods such as ice cream, cakes, chocolate, doughnuts, jam, pies and pastries.
"Muesli bars are a classic example of how overweight people can be misled into thinking they're eating healthy food," Dr Elmslie said.
"Most muesli bars are high in calories, and fat and sugar, with minimal nutritional value. Essentially they are just another form of biscuit."
She said people were bombarded with food advertising, and many foods that people believed were healthy were described in glowing terms on the label, but it was hoped the list would help them make better choices about what they ate while trying to lose weight.
The NEEDNT, or non-essential, energy dense, nutritionally deficient, list:
3.Butter, lard, dripping or similar fat (used as a spread or in
10.Cream (including creme fraiche)
11.Crisps (including vegetable crisps)
14.Drinking Chocolate, Milo etc.
17.Fruit tinned in syrup
20.Fruit juice (except tomato juice and unsweetened blackcurrant
22.High fat crackers
31.Nuts roasted in fat or oil
34.Popcorn with butter or oil
37.Regular luncheon sausage
38.Regular powdered drinks
41.Regular soft drinks
44.Sugar (added to anything including drinks, baking, cooking
46.Syrups such as golden syrup, treacle, maple syrup
47.Toasted muesli and any other breakfast cereal with more than 15g
sugar per 100g cereal
49.Yoghurt type products with more than 10g sugar per 100g
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16/10/2012 7:53:25 p.m.
I wonder how healthy these researchers are now. I think the only items they have to eat that are not listed as unhealthy are sawdust and water. By the way chocolate is healthy . . . it gives one a reason to live.
10/06/2012 11:16:29 a.m.
It is surprising what some people interpret as "healthy food". The majority of the foods on this list definitely fall in the not so healthy category! Honey used as a "Condiment" has many nutritional/therapeutic properties, but in excess does contribute to weight gain.
Some parents actually believe fruit Roll Ups are a good alternative to fruit, and substitute them into children's school lunches. I think people need help in learning how to interpret a lot of the advertising hype out there.
And yes muesli bars have been over promoted as "healthy". Yet during a research project I worked on, these were one of the main products purchase for school lunches.
This list is prety true to its claims.
3/03/2012 9:59:43 a.m.
john c. wrote:
Frankly, you have again gone overboard! Most of these foods in moderation are healthy and beneficial. Why must you always try to alarm people?
29/02/2012 5:39:29 a.m.
is there a reason they have to be listed alphabetically instead of in a useful way?
28/02/2012 1:44:46 p.m.
I'm not surprised alcohol is non-essential and nutritionally deficient, but who would possibly think otherwise?
The same could be said for about half that list. Who eats chocolate cake for it's nutritional value???
The list seems to be trying to do two things at once: list food people may think is beneficial, but actually isn't, as well listing foods that are obviously not beneficial...
But perhaps it's partly the article's fault, with "Researchers identify useless diet foods" as the headline. If it was just "useless foods", maybe it would all make more sense...
28/02/2012 8:21:33 a.m.
Quit the complaining! I think that the more we read/watch/listen to evidence-based health-promotion materials in all media, the easier it becomes to adopt better dietary and physical-activity habits into daily life. Slowly, over the years, I have been changing. IN ADDITION, COURT: You point out that "not the whole world is British" and that "Most Americans call (biscuits) cookies." Guess what? Not the whole world is American either! I am e-mailing from Washington, DC. When a New Zealander refers to a "biscuit," I know that of which he or she speaks/writes. Thank you very much.
28/02/2012 6:30:12 a.m.
This research highlights useless researchers and the power advertising and pseudoscience has over so called academics.For years I have stood in line at supermarkets watching morbidly obese people with trolley loads of groceries including diet soft drinks, while I had normal coke and a small armful of food. These researchers promote diet drinks where other researchers have found that diet drinks cause people to eat more. As for honey, that is supposedly on the bad list when people say its good. Ever wondered why honey does not have a preservative added? Besides low water activity, perhaps honey has high levels of naturally occuring benzoic acid from pollen that then has a detrimental effect on blood sugar levels as well as contibuting to cancer risk if it converts to benzene in the presence of some organic acids(http://researchcommons.waikato.ac.nz/handle/10289/2665). Yum, pass me the bee puke!
28/02/2012 4:20:54 a.m.
28/02/2012 3:47:03 a.m.
With respect, this article seems very incomplete. I would not regard most of these as primary components of a balanced diet, although sausages, milk and fruit juice might meet that criterion for some. If one supplements an average healthy balance of vegetables, protein and fresh fruits with moderate amounts of some items on this list, you'll be OK.I would very much like to see the "experts'" list of wholesome, worthwhile foods they feel we should exist on. If quiche (eggs, vegetables/cheese, low-fat milk) is worthless as a food substance, a couple of my diabetes-suffering friends should have starved to death some years ago!
26/02/2012 6:46:38 a.m.
I was not at all surprised to see alcohol as #1, but I, too, was surprised to see some other things on the list. And not the whole world is British, so we don't all know what you mean by some of the terms used, like "biscuits": scones? Most Americans call them cookies.
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