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What not to eat AKA You Stupid Fat People

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.)


1. Alcoholic drinks Water/diet soft drinks
2. Biscuits *
3. Butter, lard, dripping or similar fat (used as a spread or in baking/cooking etc.) Lite margarine or similar spread or omit
4. Cakes *
5. Chocolate *
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) *
12. Desserts/puddings *
13. Doughnuts *
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)
23. Honey *
24. Hot chips *
25. Ice cream *
26. Jam *
27. Marmalade *
28. Mayonnaise Lite dressings/lite mayonnaise
29. Muesli bars *
30. Muffins *
31. Nuts roasted in fat or oil Dry roasted or raw nuts (≤ 1 handful per day)
32. Pastries *
33. Pies *
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
45. Sweets/lollies *
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)


11 Responses

  1. Wow this is awful. They are trying to replace healthy natural fats with low fat and/or hydrogenated monstrosities that are inflammatory and really bad for you. Yeah that will really improve public health.

  2. This is just the same advice all over again. Don’t eat regular food! Regular food is bad for you! Eat artificial sweeteners, pretend butter, and regular foods with the fat removed! Here, we have made this list of foods you CAN eat! You’ll never find any of them at the farmer’s market, but we’ve conveniently branded them for you so they’re easy to find!

    Also, I find it boggling that they can conscionably say that artificial sweeteners are more nutritionally redeeming than regular sugar, and that MARGARINE is more nutritionally redeeming than BUTTER.

    Also, “non-essential, energy dense and nutritionally deficient”? I think only the central part is true. The assumption is that macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fat… well, except for proteins) don’t count as valid nutrition. They also completely ignore the fact that a lot of their alternatives do a very “deficient” job of delivering nutrients.


  3. It’s interesting to see how ‘artificial sweetners’ are supposed to be healthy alternatives when studies show people who use them tend to weigh more than people who don’t. Once again people are being misled into believing something that isn’t healthy is.

  4. My 1st thought when I clicked through to the article was who on earth eats a granola bar, honey sandwich and fruit juice as a combo for lunch….

    Honestly, if you avoided every food someone claimed harmed you, you couldn’t eat.

    I grew up on margarine because it was cheaper than butter, but also at the time, it was supposed to be healthier than butter — it was made from vegetable fats rather than animal fats. That was before they discovered how bad trans-fats were. I look at the ingredient list on low-fat mayo versus the real, and I’m not sure what half the ingredients are. I honestly believe I’m better off eating modest amounts of sugar and butter than the manufactured concoctions.

  5. My pet hate – the way foods that have been consumed since the dawn of agriculture and civilisation are vilifed. Full fat dairy is GOOD FOR YOU. They may not be aware that the nineteenth century disease rickets is emerging again in Britain, affecting middle class children. The why is not completely understood, but it may be a combination of slathering sun block on the kids all the time, plus only allowing them skim milk – vitamin D is soluble in fat and the kids may not be getting enough fat in their diet. Anyway, we don’t really know what effect processing milk into skim milk has – there is some evidence it’s not completely benign. And margarine instead of butter? Margarine is made in a factory! As for alcoholic drinks… sod off. Hypocrites. The same people who created that list probably went home and had a beer, or opened a bottle of wine. They can keep their artificial sweeteners as well.

    • Interesting point about the milk… When I was in hospital a few years back I got into a conversation with the tea lady about skim milk. Her husband worked at the plant that produced it and she said he had told her they shouldn’t drink it, that the process took away all it’s goodness.

  6. Water, plain yoghurt, artificial sweetner, low fat milk, fruit, dry roasted or raw nuts, low fat meat products……

    Someone who really likes and understands food then.

  7. Anytime someone argues that eating artificial sweetener is a better option than natural sweets, you know they are not talking about health. A lot of evidence exists that artificial sweeteners cause a myriad of health problems.

    Crap, crap and more crap! Thanks for an enlightening post.

  8. I eat and cook a very healthy diet by most standards. I avoid transfat, HCFS, artificial colors and sweeteners. Mostly, we eat our food as whole as possible. I probably eat more than eight servings of fruits and vegetables most days. I use only olive oil for cooking. I spread butter on my bread. I love bread and butter.

    I would never follow those recommendation. Never. First, I don’t like yogurt. Second, if I want a little sweetness in my food, I add real sugar. Artificial sweetener is bad for your health. To me, it taste weird, too sweet. It gives me headaches, belly aches. I don’t need to know it’s there so it isn’t a nocebo effect.

    I find that food that has as little processing as possible tastes better. It’s cheap and fast if one knows a little about cooking. I can make an inexpensive, healthy meal in ten to fifteen minutes. Groceries for my bf and I cost me about sixty a week American. When the kids were younger, I could feed a family a four easily on three hundred a month on fresh, homecooked food.

  9. I think #21 is my favourite. Because not only are we fatties clearly just drinking waaaaaay too much fruit juice, but we’re obviously just scarfing down straight glucose day in, day out.

  10. I’m always amazed people actually get paid to do this sort of “research” Thank God these folk exist to tell thickos like me how to live.
    Gee, who woulda thunk that steamin’ a piece ‘o chookin’ wus beta fur me thun than deep fryin’ ut?..do’h

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