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Non-Essential (NEEDNT) Food List? A New Tool Against Obesity

Source: University of Otago (New Zealand) Publication Date: 2/24/2012 Link to source article

The “NEEDNT” foods list, developed by the University of Otago, helps people identify 49 foods to avoid or eat sparingly. The list is comprised of foods that are high in calories but low in nutritional value. “This list of 49 common foods is designed as a therapeutic intervention to be used by health professionals with obese or overweight people wanting to lose weight," says lead researcher and dietician Jane Elmslie. "It’s aimed at differentiating nutritious foods from those that are just high in calories.” The list also provides some suggestions for replacements for foods that should be limited but not for foods that should be avoided altogether. For example, rather than eating cream or crème fraiche, eat yogurt; rather than drinking fruit juice, have a whole piece of fruit and a drink. Some foods that do not have good substitutions and should be avoided include muesli bars, ice cream, cakes, chocolate, doughnuts, jam, honey, pies, and pastries. “Muesli bars are a classic example of how overweight people can be misled into thinking they’re eating healthy food,” Elmslie says. “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.” Although weight loss efforts will likely require more than simply avoiding foods on the NEEDNT list, it helps people recognize when they are eating nutritious food and when they are eating recreationally.

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