According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2013) it is recommended to limit our intake of food containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugar and alcohol. Limiting these foods does not mean completely eliminating them but rather, reducing the intake to small and infrequent amounts.
Foods most likely to contain these ingredients include commercial burgers, meat pies, processed meats, fried hot chips, doughnuts, biscuits, cakes, confectionery, jam, butter, cream, palm oil, soft drink, fruit drink, wine, beer etc.
These foods are more likely to be high in kilojules (energy) even in small serves and if you’re anything like everyone else, you’ll probably eat more than the one recommended serving size. These foods are also more likely to be ‘empty’ and are without nutritients as they have been removed in the manufacturing process. Therefore, these foods are not essential or beneficial for health. If anything, they are more likely to increase cholesterol, blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.
To make healthier choices when shopping read labels and nutrient claims on manufactured products. Nutrient claims can include ‘low salt’, ‘low fat’ and ‘low sugar’ information. However, it is better to read the nutrient table and ingredient list for greater detail as these claims may be lower in one area such as, low in fat (less than 3g/p100g) but high in sugar.
Alternatively, purchase wholefoods or healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocado and salmon or choose natural sweeteners such as stevia. Lastly, avoid adding salt to foods in cooking or at the table during meal time – I know this is a habit for a lot of australian families but there’s no harm in giving it a go!
National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). Australian Dietary Guidelines Summary.