news & trends

MYTHBUSTING Carbs & Whole Grains

whole-grains-n4nn-2016Carbs vs Whole Grains. What’s the difference? Carb confusion is ongoing and we’re often asked about what are the best carbs for health. Whole grains are healthy carbohydrates (carbs) and a terrific choice but many people struggle to find or cook with whole grain foods.

Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel, and the benefits of whole grain carbs go beyond energy to include nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron and fibre, as well as phytochemicals and antioxidants. Research shows that whole grains lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity.

Whole grain refers to the seed of a plant that has all 3 edible parts – the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. You’ve heard that going for whole grains is good for you and Health Canada recommends making at least half your grain choices whole grains.

Here are 5 ways to get more whole grains in your day:

  1. When shopping for food, look for the word ‘whole grain’ on the ingredient list. Best bets are foods where whole grain is the main ingredient and appears as first on the ingredient list.
  2. Don’t be fooled by ‘multigrain’ claims because these simply mean more than one grain is in the food. Check the ingredient list to be sure that you’re getting a whole grain.
  3. In Canada, whole wheat flour may have much of the germ removed. Therefore ‘100% whole wheat’ doesn’t mean it’s also whole grain. Check the ingredient list for the words ‘whole grain whole wheat’.
  4. When cooking or eating out, try different kinds of whole grains for variety of taste and texture. What better way to boost health than switching up your whole grain picks.
  5. Here are some the of whole grains chefs and consumers are trying, and we encourage you to test some of these terrific carbs too: amaranth, barley, bulgur, brown rice, buckwheat, farro, freekah, kamut, millet, oatmeal, quinoa, sorghum, spelt, teff, and triticale.

    Bon Appétit!

Sports Nutrition – top tips for athletes

running sports nutrition July 2016 flickr image
[Image source: Flickr]

The Rio Olympics are ON! We’re amazed at the commitment and performance of the athletes. You may know that sporting activities are enhanced by well-chosen nutrition strategies. Did you ever wonder what the top evidence-based nutrition tips are for athletes that help drive their best performance? Earlier this year, Dietitians of Canada published a summary of the latest scientific evidence in sports nutrition.[1] Whether you are a ‘weekend’ athlete or training for challenging events, here are our top tips that could help your performance be at its best.

Top tips for sports nutrition

  • Carboydrates are the key fuel for energy and eating them in balanced amounts is important to perform at your best. Studies show that during exercise that lasts longer than one hour eating carbohydrates increase endurance capacity which means you can cycle, run or play hockey longer and not run out of steam.
    Dietitians Tip: carbohydrate intake is not necessary if you exercise for less than 45 minutes. However, if you exercise with intensity for more than an hour but less than 2.5 hours in one duration, do consume about 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour. Many athletes use sports drinks or gels to top up their carbs during performance. It’s important for athletes to identify a personal plan that best meets their individual needs for energy, hydration and stomach comfort.
  • Protein builds muscle and performance. Eating the right amount of protein at the right time has critical implications for athletes. There is strong evidence that among athletes and recreationally active adults, eating protein (examples are egg, milk, casein, whey, lean meat) within the first two hours after exercise will boost the body’s muscle building capacity.
    Dietitian’s Tip: to build muscle eat 0.25-0.3 g protein/kg body weight (equivalent to 15-25 g of protein for most athletes) within the first two hours after exercise and as part of meals every three to five hours. If you are interested in protein supplements, whey is best since it’s a fast absorbing high quality protein. Very high protein intakes (ex. more than 40 grams per meal) after exercise will not boost muscle building further.
  • Hydration is important because during exercise your body loses extra water through sweat and could become de-hydrated. In sweat your body also loses minerals such as sodium and some potassium, calcium, and magnesium.  Depending on the sport or exercise you do, you could lose anywhere from 0.3 to 2.4 L (about 1¼ to 10 cups) of sweat per hour! Dehydration places strain on your body and you could get over-heated tired and hurt your performance.  Be sure to top up on fluids when you’re feeling thirsty and look for signs of dehydration such as dizziness, headache and muscle cramps.  The ‘pee test’ is a good way to check your hydration before exercise.  Aim for urine that is a pale yellow colour.
    Dietitian’s Tip: To stay well hydrated plan strategies for your fluid management before, during, and after exercise.  For example, drink water throughout the day and before exercise, drink 1-2 cups of fluid. Studies show that during exercise beverages with added flavour or sports drinks (which have added flavour, carbohydrate and electrolytes like sodium and potassium), generally result greater consumption and therefore better maintenance of hydration during intense exercise than plain water.[2]
  • Registered Dietitians are the most trusted nutrition experts to help you with your personalized nutrition plan that’s needed for top performance.  If you would like help with your eating pattern, a Registered Dietitian can assess your diet and give you recommendations  ‘for the appropriate type, amount, and timing of intake of food, fluids, and supplements to promote your optimal health and performance across different scenarios of training and competitive sport.’  You can access the position paper on Nutrition and Athletic Performance at: www.dietitians.ca/sports

[1] Dietitians of Canada (2016) Nutrition for Athletic Performance,  www.dietitians.ca/sports

[2] Dietitians of Canada (2014) Sports Hydration  http://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Sports-Nutrition-(Adult)/Sports-Hydration.aspx

 

Dare to Compare… Ice cream vs Gelato

gelato ice cream 2016 JuneWith the start of summer, ice cream treats are a staple and gelato is becoming more popular. Do you know the difference between ice cream and gelato? Does gelato contain less dairy or have fewer calories than ice cream? Here’s the scoop!

Ice cream and gelato may look similar but are made quite differently and also have unique textures and different nutritional qualities.

How they’re made:  Ice cream’s first ingredient is cream, followed by added sugar. Ice cream is churned fast, whipping in a lot of air. This is makes ice cream fluffy and light.

Gelato on the other hand is made primarily with milk and added sugar. Gelato is churned very slowly, limiting the amount of air that’s mixed in. This gives gelato a thick and dense texture.

Nutritional qualities:  Gelato is denser than ice cream so a scoop of gelato weighs a bit more than the same size scoop of ice cream. (See chart below.) Calories in gelato are similar to those in ice cream and depend on the type of ingredients used. If you are concerned about fat content, gelato usually has less fat than regular ice cream because it is made with milk rather than cream.  Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar and the major carbohydrate in milk. Both ice cream and gelato contain lactose at about 3-6 grams/125 ml serving. [1]  Overall, gelato has more added sugar than ice cream resulting in higher carbohydrate content compared to ice cream.

Dietitian’s Tip:  Both ice cream and gelato are high calorie treats so stick to a small portion (1/2 cup or 125 mL) per serving.  Where possible, check the ingredient list and nutrition label to help you make informed decisions.

 

Characteristics Ice Cream[2] Gelato[3]
Key Ingredients Cream, sugar Milk, sugar
Churning Fast Slow
Density Fluffier, more air
(serving size weighs less per volume)
Denser, less air
(serving size weighs more per volume)
Serving size ½ cup (125 ml) 90  grams ½ cup (125 ml) 100 grams
Calories 200 200
Fat 12 g  9 g
Carbohydrate 20 g 25 g
Protein 4 g 4 g
Calcium 12 % DV 15 % DV

 

 

[1] Dietitians of Canada, Food Sources of Lactose (2013)

[2] Health Canada, Canadian Nutrient File Vanilla Ice Cream Food Code # 4158

[3] Vanilla Gelato Nutrition Facts Label

Senate Report on Obesity

Senate-report-Obesity-in-Canada-p1-normal

Almost 2/3 of adults and 1/3 of kids are overweight or obese. The obesity crisis is a complex issue. What can be done?

In their report Obesity in Canada released earlier this month, the Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology made 21 recommendations to chart a course for a leaner, healthier future. Here are some of the key recommendations which are generating a healthy discussion:

– The federal government assess the options for taxation levers with a view to implementing a new tax on sugar-sweetened as well as artificially-sweetened beverages.
– The Minister of Health:

  • immediately undertake a complete revision of Canada’s food guide in order that it better reflect the current state of scientific evidence.
  • reassess the daily value applied to total carbohydrates based on emerging evidence regarding dietary fat and the fat promoting nature of carbohydrates and require that the daily intake value for protein be included in the Nutrition Facts table.
  • assess whether sugar and starch should be combined under the heading of total carbohydrate within the Nutrition Facts table and report back to this committee by December 2016.
  • encourage nutrition labelling on menus and menu boards in food service establishments.

    Obesity is a multi-factorial issue with no easy solution. Join in our upcoming Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists course (April 20, 2016) to get our in-depth POV on these recommendations and issues, or contact us to discuss how these recommendations will impact your business innovations and communications.

  • Health Canada announces proposed changes to the food label and Nutrition Facts table

    On June 12th, Health Canada shared a proposed Nutrition Facts table aimed to improve nutrition information on food labels. As part of the consultation process you are invited to provide comments in writing to Health Canada by August 26, 2015. This is the right time to get involved let your voice be heard! In general, the proposed changes are as follows:

    • Serving sizes will be regulated to make them consistent and reflect what is typically eaten (e.g. a serving of bread will be 2 slices instead of 1 slice)
    • The information about serving sizes and calories will be more prominent
    • Sugars will have a new % Daily Value (%DV) of 100 grams and sugars will be grouped together in the ingredients list
    • The %DV for carbohydrates will be removed
    • A footnote will appear at the bottom of the Nutrition Facts table to explain that 5% DV or less is a little and 15% DV or more is a lot
    • Food colours will be identified by their common name in the list of ingredients
    • A new health claim will be allowed, “A healthy diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruit may help reduce the risk of heart disease”
    • Vitamins A and C will be removed from the Nutrition Facts table, and potassium will be added
    • The actual amounts in milligrams (mg) of potassium, calcium and iron will now be shown in addition to their % DV

    Contact us if you would like to discuss the interpretation of the proposed label changes and how they may impact your business. We can also assist with your comments to Health Canada during the consultation phase which ends August 26, 2015.

    Advances in Carbohydrates and Fibre in Nutrition Conference, Canadian Nutrient Society (CNS) – January 11, 2014

    On January 11th, 2014 we attended the one-day CNS conference on Advances in Carbohydrates and Fibre in Nutrition at the Hyatt Regency in Toronto. The event drew over 250 attendees including nutrition professionals, dietitians and students with expert updates on functional fibres, claims in Canada and Glycemic Index of foods.

    Dr. Joanne Slavin presented the growing importance of fibre’s beneficial role in health related to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, body weight and satiety, digestive health including microbiota. Fibre is a nutrient of concern because few people consume the recommended daily amounts. As you may know, Health Canada has a New Fibre Policy as of 2012.  The important news on fibre is that there are many fibres with known beneficial health effects, but they are not all equally effective, and may act differently when isolated from intact plant structure. The debate on the way to communicate information about Glycemic Index (GI) continues in Canada. Dr. William Yan discussed Health Canada’s published position on the use of the GI claims on food labels as published in the 2013 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The important concept reinforced by the world renowned speakers Drs. David Jenkins and Thomas Wolever was that GI is an easily misunderstood concept. GI is a measure of carbohydrate quality in a food, and is not an index for glycemic/insulin response in a person. Furthermore glycemic/insulin response in people is determined by the glycemic index of the food and the amount of food eaten. Thus a lower GI food could have a higher glycemic response depending on how much of the food is consumed. It’s certainly a complex topic! Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about carbohydrate nutrition including fibre and glycemic index.