Want to stack the nutrition odds in your favour? The key is good food so here are five things to never let into your shopping trolley: lollies, biscuits, sugar-sweetened drinks, potato crisps and processed meats.
Known as discretionary foods, all five are high in either added sugars, saturated fat or salt. Discretionary foods provide kilojoules but not many nutrients.
Consuming a lot of discretionary foods and drinks increases your risks of weight gain, obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Unless you’re extremely active, it is unlikely that you can eat a lot of these foods and also be a healthy weight.
Dental caries or cavities (holes in your teeth) are the most common and expensive preventable diet-related problem. It’s bad enough that one in five adults rate their oral health as fair or poor, the prevalence of dental caries in children is also increasing. If you or your kids are lolly addicts, the best way to avoid dental disease is to give up grazing on confectionery.
Sugar and other fermentable carbohydrates from highly processed foods are major risk factors for both the start and progress of dental disease. The more lollies you eat, and the more often you eat them, the bigger the risk.
What’s more, they’ll make you fat. Just 100 grams of jelly babies has over 1,400 kilojoules and over 50 grams of sugar, which is about ten teaspoons. Dump the lolly bag and swap to sugar-free chewing gum to save the kilojoules and your teeth.
Sugar-sweetened beverages include sweetened soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit juice drinks and cordial.
In a trial of over 15,000 adults who were followed up for 15 years, researchers found drinking one or more cups of soft drink a day increased the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 29%, compared to drinking less than one glass a month. And a US study estimated drinking one can of soft drink a day could contribute to over six kilograms of weight gain in just a year, if the kilojoules were not offset by increasing physical activity or by cutting back on food intake.