For crying out loud this shit has gone too far.
According to my morning paper I – as a Fat Individual – am just far too stupid to know the difference between healthy food and unhealthy food. A group of researchers at Otago University have developed a list of foods that all fatties should avoid. The list, which they’ve published in the latest New Zealand Medical Journal, was apparently designed as tool for a treatment research programme on obesity. According to the group’s press release the list of ‘Neednt’ foods (non-essential, energy dense and nutritionally deficient, geddit?) was:
… developed primarily to help obese people more clearly identify those foods that are best avoided in a healthy diet and only eaten from time to time as a treat, or in some cases avoided altogether.
And from the newspaper story:
Research fellow and dietitian Jane Elmslie admitted many people might be surprised to see items such as muesli bars on the list, because they were often marketed as healthy.
But they were a processed food that was high in fat and sugar – and even more fattening than Toffee Pops, she said.
“Muesli bars are a classic example of how overweight people can be misled into thinking they’re eating healthy food. In fact, most muesli bars are high in calories, and fat and sugar, with minimal nutritional value.
“Essentially, they are just another form of biscuit.”
The study’s co-author, Ria Schroder, said about two-thirds of participants in the two-year project had experienced significant weight loss since eliminating or cutting back on Neednt foods.
“Simply avoiding Neednt foods is unlikely to be an effective weight-reduction strategy on its own. However, knowing which foods to make individual rules for can help people think more carefully about whether what they are eating is nutritious and necessary, or just random recreational grazing.”
Because we fatties are so stupid we think muesli bars are healthy (and I love how Dr. Schroder contradicted herself there! Plus, the ‘study’ was only 2 years long and I’d love to know what ‘significant weight loss’ was… I doubt it wil be long lasting). But to add injury to blatant insult the list includes things like milo, marmalade, pies, quiches and – this was the bit that made me choke the hardest - honey. I understand it may be different in other countries but in New Zealand you are not allowed to add anything to honey before you sell it – when you buy a jar of honey here that is exactly what you get, 100% natural, nothing added. How can that be so bad it needs to be avoided altogether?? And the group that produced this list advocates the use of artificial sweeteners instead. Yeah, sound so much more healthy to me! And milo? Apparently the sugar content is what they’re worried about there because cocoa with - altogether now – artificial sweetener is ok. And what’s this about a blanket ban on pies? I’m assuming it’s a pastry thing because quiches and savouries are also on the list of shame. Naughty naughty!
But what really pisses me off about this kind of crap is that it focuses everyone else’s attention on us fatties. People read this, they believe it, (ie., they believe an avoidance of these foods will make us slim) and they act on it. It’s bad enough when you can’t be seen anywhere near junk food without someone assuming it’s yours and asking you if you really need it. But when I’m going to get that kind of attention for enjoying a piece of marmalade toast or making a mince and vegetable pie for dinner… that makes me angry. Very angry. I have a history of disordered eating and most days it’s a struggle not to return to that in the face of other’s scrutiny of my food choices. To have the range of ‘acceptable’ foods reduced even further… grrrr. And – as much as I usually hate this sentiment – won’t someone think of the children? It was bad enough when my daughter came home from school and sadly informed me that she couldn’t have her favourite jam sandwiches any more because they were unhealthy and she didn’t want to die. But now I supposedly should stop giving my kids pies, sausages, jam, honey, milo and fruit juice, just to name a few.
Screw them and their list! I will continue to feed myself and my children as I see fit. Health is about balance not rules.
(And if you’re interested, here is the ‘List of Shame’, complete with acceptable substitutions as determined by the study’s authors. But I wonder why there was no substitute for hot chips? I would have thought a baked potato would be good… perhaps it’s a casualty of the current War on Carbs.)
|NEEDNT FOOD||REPLACE WITH:|
|1. Alcoholic drinks||Water/diet soft drinks|
|3. Butter, lard, dripping or similar fat (used as a spread or in baking/cooking etc.)||Lite margarine or similar spread or omit|
|6. Coconut cream||Lite coconut milk/coconut flavoured lite evaporated milk|
|7. Condensed milk||*|
|8. Cordial||Water/Sugar free cordial|
|9. Corn chips||*|
|10. Cream (including crème fraiche)||Natural yoghurt (or flavoured yoghurt depending on use)|
|11. Crisps (including vegetable crisps)||*|
|14. Drinking Chocolate, Milo etc.||Cocoa plus artificial sweetener|
|15. Energy drinks||Water|
|16. Flavoured milk/milkshakes||Trim, Calcitrim or Lite Blue Milk|
|17. Fruit tinned in syrup (even lite syrup!)||Fruit tinned in juice/artificially sweetened|
|18. Fried food||Boiled, grilled or baked food|
|19. Frozen yoghurt||Ordinary yoghurt|
|20. Fruit juice (except tomato juice and unsweetened blackcurrant juice)||Fresh fruit (apple, orange, pear etc. + a drink!)|
|21. Glucose||Artificial sweetener|
|22. High fat crackers (≥ 10g fat per 100g)||Lower fat crackers (≤ 10g fat per 110g)|
|24. Hot chips||*|
|25. Ice cream||*|
|28. Mayonnaise||Lite dressings/lite mayonnaise|
|29. Muesli bars||*|
|31. Nuts roasted in fat or oil||Dry roasted or raw nuts (≤ 1 handful per day)|
|34. Popcorn with butter or oil||Air popped popcorn|
|35. Quiches||Crust-less quiches|
|36. Reduced cream||Natural yoghurt|
|37. Regular luncheon sausage||Low fat luncheon sausage|
|38. Regular powdered drinks (e.g. Raro)||Water/Diet/Sugar free powdered drinks|
|39. Regular salami||Low fat salami|
|40. Regular sausages||Low fat sausages|
|41. Regular soft drinks||Water/Diet soft drinks|
|42. Rollups||Fresh fruit|
|43. Sour cream||Natural yoghurt|
|44. Sugar (added to anything including drinks, baking, cooking etc.)||Artificial sweetener|
|46. Syrups such as golden syrup, treacle, maple syrup||Artificial sweetener|
|47. Toasted muesli and any other breakfast cereal with ≥ 15g sugar per 100g cereal||Breakfast cereal with <15g sugar per 100g cereal, > 6g fibre per 100g cereal and <5g fat per 100g cereal (or <10 g fat per 100g cereal if cereal contains nuts and seeds)|
|48. Whole Milk||Trim, Calcitrim or Lite Blue Milk|
|49. Yoghurt type products with ≥ 10g sugar per 100g yoghurt||Yoghurt (not more than one a day)|