Progression of me

from eighty four to now…

Discretionary Food and Drinks

on April 14, 2015

As I am now almost a week down on my “Detox Challenge” I thought I might try to provide some information which could surprise you (or at least make you think again about having that extra slice of cake!)

Chocolate, as most people should know is a discretionary food.  It does not fall into any of the five food groups.  The reason for this is that a discretionary food is not necessary for a healthy diet and it is too high in saturated fat and/or sugars, added salt or alcohol and low in fibre.  In the majority of cases these foods (or drinks) are also very high in kilojoules, whilst they contain little or no nutritional value.

A diet high in these types of foods/drinks can lead to obesity, diabetes and many other illnesses.

Now here’s the scary part….

A serving of a discretionary food (because of the high amount of kilojoules) is generally much smaller than that of one of the other food groups (for example fruit/vegetables).  So take a look at some examples of ONE serving of discretionary food/drink:

  • 2 scoops (75g) regular ice cream
  • ¼ cup condensed milk
  • 50-60g (about two slices) processed meats, salami, mettwurst
  • 1 ½ thick or 2 thinner higher fat/salt sausages
  • 30g salty crackers (a small individual serve packet)
  • 2-3 sweet biscuits
  • 1 (40 g) doughnut
  • 1 slice (40 g) plain cake or small cake-type muffin
  • 40g sugar confectionary (about 5-6 small lollies)
  • 60g jam/honey (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 small bar (25 g) chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons (40 g) cream
  • 1 tablespoon (20 g) butter or hard margarine
  • 200 mL wine (2 standard drinks (note this is often 1 glass for many Australian wines)
  • 60 mL spirits (2 standard drinks)
  • 600 mL light beer (1½ standard drinks)
  • 400 mL regular beer (1½ standard drinks)
  • 1 can (375 mL) soft drink
  • 1/3 (60 g) commercial meat pie or pastie
  • 12 (60 g) fried hot chips

When I look at this and think back to the last time I ate some hot chips or had a “few” biscuits…and the time I ate that Easter bunny, I dread to think just how many servings I was actually having….

It may also surprise you to see one or two of the items listed above categorised as discretionary.  The meat perhaps?

And we wonder why our society is getting more and more unhealthy.  Maybe foods need to be packaged differently?  In a serving sized portion perhaps?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  And if you weren’t aware of this or think someone would benefit from the above, please feel free to share.

Note: Most of the information in this post was sourced from the Eat for Health website.

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