An Edith Cowan study from a rural mine site in Western Australia found 83% of workers were overweight or obese. The Public Health Association conference in Perth we're told that FIFO workers had excessive levels of salt and saturated fat in their diet.

The workers also ate fewer vegetables, fruit, dairy and grain foods than recommended, while consuming more meat and discretionary foods. The discretionary foods, also known as junk food, were readily available in the mining community, being on display regularly and in prominent positions within the dining area, which may promote the intake of these foods every day.

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 are extremely active, it is unlikely that you can eat a lot of these foods and also be a healthy weight.

 What are discretionary foods?

*         Lollies  just 100grams of jelly babies has the equivalent of about ten teaspoons of sugar

-          swap to sugar free chewing gum and save your teeth and kilojoules

*         Sugar sweetened drinks, including sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit juices and cordial

-          swap to diet drinks or soda water, or better still drink water

*         Potato chips or crisps, twisters and corn chips

-          swap to air-popped popcorn

*         Biscuits, two cream-filled biscuits need at least an hour of walking exercise to burn up

-          swap to fruit

*         Ice cream , packaged cakes and desserts

-          swap to fruit


If you are trying to lose weight, it is unlikely that you will be able to fit these type of foods into your lower kilojoules target. Occasionally and in small amounts they can add variety and enjoyment to eating, hence their label as being "discretionary" choices


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