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Researchers identify useless diet foods

Friday 24 Feb 2012 6:29 a.m.

Toasted muesli in whole milk? No good

Toasted muesli in whole milk? No good

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:

1.Alcoholic drinks
2.Biscuits
3.Butter, lard, dripping or similar fat (used as a spread or in baking/cooking etc.)
4.Cakes
5.Chocolate
6.Coconut cream
7.Condensed milk
8.Cordial
9.Corn chips
10.Cream (including creme fraiche)
11.Crisps (including vegetable crisps)
12.Desserts/puddings
13.Doughnuts
14.Drinking Chocolate, Milo etc.
15.Energy drinks
16.Flavoured milk/milkshakes
17.Fruit tinned in syrup
18.Fried food
19.Frozen yoghurt
20.Fruit juice (except tomato juice and unsweetened blackcurrant juice)
21.Glucose
22.High fat crackers
23.Honey
24.Hot chips
25.Ice cream
26.Jam
27.Marmalade
28.Mayonnaise
29.Muesli bars
30 Muffins
31.Nuts roasted in fat or oil
32.Pastries
33.Pies
34.Popcorn with butter or oil
35.Quiches
36.Reduced cream
37.Regular luncheon sausage
38.Regular powdered drinks
39.Regular salami
40.Regular sausages
41.Regular soft drinks
42.Fruit rollups
43.Sour cream
44.Sugar (added to anything including drinks, baking, cooking etc.)
45.Sweets/lollies
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
48.Whole milk
49.Yoghurt type products with more than 10g sugar per 100g yoghurt

NZN

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