There are some foods that don’t fit into any of the 5 food groups. This is because they’re not required for good health and when over eaten can actually contribute to a number of health risk factors. These foods are commonly too high in saturated fats and trans fats, processed sugar, salt or alcohol and low in fibre. They are usually high in kilojoules, and low in nutrients so are considered “energy dense and nutrient poor”. Foods from this category are usually highly processed packaged foods like potato chips or sweet biscuits or bottled or canned beverages. The following list gives you an idea of the types of things that would be considered discretionary foods.
It’s very easy to over consume these types of food and drinks. All these types of food tend to be very energy dense with little nutrient value, so people who consume food from this category on a daily basis will be displacing good nutritious food. This can lead to deficiencies in essential nutrients. The higher levels of kilojoules, saturated fat, added sugars, added salt and/or alcohol that these foods contain are associated with increased risk of obesity and chronic disease such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. That’s a good enough reason to limit the amount of food from this category. I like to call these foods “sometimes foods”! The saying “save party foods for parties” sums it up! In other words, I’m not saying not to eat these foods but limiting them to special occasions is definitely a good idea.
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