news & trends

The Future of Food – Five Trends with a Big Impact

future of food bill gates notes 2018-06-01_1-08-23

 

At the recent Food and Beverage Ontario Annual General Meeting in Toronto, we shared top trends that will have a big impact on the future of food – both in retail and foodservice. Here’s a snapshot of our expert dietitian insights.

1. Eating healthier is a universal goal for all Canadians

Food that tastes great and nourishes the body rank high on Canadians’ wish list. In designing menus, especially where calories are now displayed, foodservice teams and food makers can help make the calories count for health and wellness! To unlock the potential of food, consider a perfect pairing of a chef and registered dietitian for your next menu update.

2. Demographics

Kids, millennials and seniors all have unique nutritional needs. Schools and retirement/nursing homes are also regulated for the kinds of foods they can sell. Workplace wellness is catching up with guidelines on how to achieve better eating habits that can result in more productive workforce. Have you seen the ‘sell more’ and ‘sell less’ lists? Give us a shout – we can help!

3. Plant based eating

Pant foods are the mega trend. ‘Plan based diet” is one of the top google searches by Canadians 2017! Consumers are looking for more plant based menu items in foodservice as well. Don’t make the mistake of just removing the meat from your menu! Vegetarian meals should also be well balanced and include a minimum 20g protein per meal. Registered Dietitians have the tools and tips to help chefs make the switch to balanced vegetarian menu items.

4. New food regulations influence food choices

You may wonder who reads food labels anyway. Research shows that more than 2/3 of Canadians read food labels to help them decide which foods to buy and eat. Labels also provide highly credible & prominent information on foods. The New Nutrition Facts Label and proposed new Canada’s Food Guide focus on limiting saturated fat, salt and sugars. These tools are the foundation for nutrition communication and menu development in many institutions. What’s your plan to leverage the power of the label in marketing?

5. Grand designs & food halls

Foodservice is embracing showcase exhibition food prep to capture the excitement of cooking “onstage.” Open kitchens are transparent and underscore the consumers’ desire for fresh food. New grocery stores and food halls delight consumers with a mix of hot-food stations, ‘grab’n go’ items and ‘do it yourself bowls’. The future of eating out is personalized and tech savvy.

(Image Source: GatesNotes)

International Trends

Food regulations are changing all around the globe and we’re keeping an eye on international policies that may impact your business. Click here to discover more about 3 impactful changes – USA Menu Labelling, Ireland Sugar Tax and WHO Marketing to Kids. Contact us to discuss more about these emerging trends and the connection to your business and health and wellness.

  1. USA Menu labelling goes national
Menu labelling usa N4NN news May 2018
(Image source: FDA.GOV)

USDA’s menu labelling has reached the compliance deadline.  As of May 7, 2018 USA consumers now have access to calorie and nutrition information in restaurants and similar retail food establishments that are part of a chain with 20 or more locations. This information inspired competition among producers to formulate food in ways that make it more healthful. In 2017, Ontario became the first province in Canada to include mandatory menu labelling of calories. What’s your plan to leverage the power of food? Are you using science-based attributes to make your foods healthier? We are Registered Dietitians who can help!

Source: US Food & Drug Administration, Menu Labeling Requirements and Marion Nestle PhD www.foodpolitics.com

  1. Ireland’s new sugar tax on soft drinks takes effect May 1st.
sugar tax N4NN news May 2018
(Image source Independent ie Newsdesk)

 

Irish consumers are now seeing that high-sugar drinks have become more expensive under the Sugar Sweetened Drinks Tax. The 16c tax applies to water or juice-based drinks with between 5-8g of sugar per 100ml. The soft drinks tax rises to 24c per litre for varieties with more than 8g of sugar.

The tax only applies to water and juice-based drinks with added sugar. Fruit juices and dairy products are exempt from the tax on the ground that they offer some nutritional value.

Regulators expect soft drinks companies will reformulate their products in order to avoid the tax. The move has been welcomed by the Irish Heart Foundation.  It is hoped the sugar tax will play an important role in tackling Ireland’s obesity crisis, with one in four Irish children currently overweight or obese.

Back here at home, the North West Territories is considering a sugary drink tax in 2018-2019.

Source: Independent.ie Newsdesk

  1. UN WHO weighs in against Marketing to kids

WHO M2K N4NN news May 2018 M2K N4NN news May 2018
(Image source:WHO.org & Nutrition for NON Nutritionists)

UN health officials consider plan to ‘outlaw’ fast food giants from charitable work with kids says a memo reported in the news. UK media says WHO calls for ‘stringent regulation’ to block firms, such as KFC and McDonalds from marketing fast food to under the age of 18. This report is consistent with published WHO workplan to end childhood obesity. This implementation plan included tackling the marketing of unhealthy foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children. The Commission advised to adopt, and implement effective measures, such as legislation or regulation, to restrict the marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children and thereby reduce the exposure of children and adolescents to such marketing.

Marketing to Kids (M2K) is a key issue in Canada too. On May 1, 2018, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health proposed to reduce the age of restriction to under age 13 (from under age 17). Final regulations are expected to be released in June.

Source: WHO Executive Board 140th session, Steve Hawkes, Deputy Political Editor The SUN(UK)

3 Tips to Overcoming Weight Bias

Did you know that weight bias and discrimination are real and rampant? A recent study looking at news stories in media found that 72% of images and 77% of videos stigmatized  people with obesity[1].  With so much weight bias in our society, what can we do to help?  As dietitians we reviewed the science and bring you these 3 tips to help stop the weight bias, with hopes that we can all make lasting positive change in response to weight shaming, stigma and discrimination. 

N4nn weight bias 2017 2017-11-26_20-25-57

  1. BECOME AWARE – Do you have a weight bias? A first step in addressing weight stigma is to become aware of our own potential attitudes and assumptions about body weight. What do you think and say about people with obesity? Did you know being called “fat” is the most common reason children are bullied?[2] A Harvard University survey reveals many people have an automatic preference for ‘thin people’ relative to ‘fat people’.[3] This survey is based on an Implicit-Association Test (IAT) that anyone can take, and measures the implicit attitudes and beliefs that people are either unwilling or unable to report. The WEIGHT-IAT asks you to distinguish images of people who are described as ‘obese’ or ‘fat’ and people who are ‘thin’. Try the IAT here: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/selectatest.html – and select the Weight IAT to discover whether you have a hidden weight bias.
  1. SPEAK WITH COMPASSION Use words that hurt less. At a recent nutrition symposium, we learned about research that shows the choice of words we use can have different impacts on people with obesity. [4]

words we use obesity bias N4NN 2017 11-27_14-57-23

  • Body weight should not be a topic of social conversation. It’s a deeply personal subject for most people. Even as a health professional, ask permission to speak about body weight.
  • Use person first language rather than describe people by their disease. ex. Saying “a person with obesity” is person first langauge. Saying “an obese person” is not person first language. It’s the same way you would say a person “has a broken leg” rather than say they “are a broken leg.”
  1. SHOW RESPECT – Every body deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. Are YOU ready to help STOP the weight bias? Here are some tips:
  • Notice weight shaming and speak up when you hear inappropriate comments or jokes. Talk about someone’s performance, enthusiasm or other positive attributes rather than talking about their weight. If you notice someone blaming a person for their weight, remind yourself and others “We don’t know their story, so don’t blame them for their size.”
  • Shift the focus from weight to health and well-being.
  • Adjust your attitude – if you change your thoughts, your feelings and actions will follow.[5]

The journey toward well-being starts with how we eat and dietitians have the knowledge, compassion and flexibility to help Canadians achieve their goals. If you have questions about food and health contact a Registered Dietitian for reliable, life-changing advice.

[1] Heuer C, Puhl R.  Obesity stigma in online news: A visual content analysis.   Journal of Health Communication.   2011

[2] Puhl, R. et.al Cross-national perspectives about weight-based bullying in youth: nature, extent and remedies. Pediatric Obesity, 2016

[3] Harvard University, Project Implicit Sourced Nov 2017 https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/selectatest.html

[4] Adapted from Puhl, Peterson, Luedicke 2013

[5] Michael Vallis, Canadian Obesity Network Presentation 2011

Free Exclusive Webinar – News in Nutrition Labelling!

N4NN DC webinar postcard

Eleven million Canadians are living with diabetes or prediabetes. The Glycemic Index (GI) may be useful to assist people with diabetes, or at risk of developing diabetes, pick foods that help them manage their blood sugar levels.

We’ve partnered with Diabetes Canada for an exclusive free webinar on nutrition labelling.

Join us on Wednesday October 11, 2017 @ 1-2 pm ET for a FREE Exclusive Webinar and be the first to learn about:
– Consumer behaviour trends related to nutrition labelling
– Diabetes Canada’s healthy eating strategy
– New research on Canadians’ understanding and perceptions of Glycemic Index and carbohydrates
– Glycemic Index labelling – an opportunity to influence consumer behaviour

Speakers:
Sue Mah, MHSc, RD, PHEc – Co-Founder, Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists
Lucia Weiler, BSc. RD, PHEc – Co-Founder, Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists
Joanne Lewis, RD, CDE – Director of Nutrition & Healthy Eating, Diabetes Canada
Seema Nagpal, BSc Pharm, MSc, PhD – Senior Leader Public Policy, Epidemiologist, Diabetes Canada

REGISTER NOW as spaces are limited! The webinar will be recorded and available to registrants.

 

3 out of 5 adults have a chronic disease! Are you one of them?

chronic disease apr 2017

Did you know that 4 out of 5 Canadian adults are at risk for chronic disease, and 3 out of 5 Canadian adults actually live with a chronic disease? [1]  The top 4 chronic diseases in Canada are Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes and Chronic Respiratory disease. The good news is that 40% of cancers, 80% of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and respiratory disease are preventable by reducing common risk factors such as:

  • poor nutrition
  • lack of physical activity
  • smoking
  • harmful use of alcohol.

According to the World Health Organization, an unhealthy diet is one of the primary risk factors for chronic disease. Research shows that diet counselling makes a difference. For example, structured and intensive lifestyle interventions delivered by dietitians can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 60% in clients at risk.[2]

What can you do? 

  • Eat a nutritious and healthy diet, including lots of fruit and vegetables
  • Don’t smoke or use other forms of tobacco
  • Limit your alcohol consumption to Canada’s LOW risk drinking guidelines
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Get regular physical activity

How do you know which nutrition information to trust?

There is so much nutrition information out there that Canadians don’t know what to believe. It can be challenging to know which online nutrition information is credible and which is not. [3] For your food and nutrition questions – ask a Registered Dietitian. Registered Dietitians are the most trusted food and nutrition experts who are committed to helping Canadians enjoy safe, nutritious, affordable and healthy eating.  As nutrition experts, dietitians can help you decide on and find factual information that’s relevant to your health and wellness needs. Contact us or check out the ‘Your Health’ section at www.dietitians.ca.

 

[1] Chronic Disease Alliance Prevention Canada (2016)  http://www.cdpac.ca/media.php?mid=1411
[2] Dietitians of Canada, The impact of diet counselling (2015) https://www.dietitians.ca/Downloads/Public/Chronic-Disease-2-pager.aspx
[3] Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month (2017) www.dietitians.ca

New Nutrition Labels are Coming!

nutrition-labels-old-vs-new-bigger

After two years of public consultations, Health Canada has finalized the changes to the Nutrition Facts table and ingredients list on packaged foods. On December 14th, 2016, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health announced that these changes are all part of the strategy to help make healthy food choices the easy choice for all Canadians.

Here’s a quick at-a-glance comparison of the old versus the new Nutrition Facts table as well as Ingredients lists.

The new Nutrition Facts table places a greater emphasis on calories, potassium, calcium and iron. For the first time ever, total sugars will have a % Daily Value (%DV) set at 100 grams:

nutrition-labels-old-vs-new-bigger


All food colours will now be listed by their name rather than collectively listed as “colours”:

ingreds-list-new


Different types of sugars will still be individually identified, and will now also be grouped together as “Sugars”:

ingreds-list-sugars

The food industry has 5 years (until 2021) to make these changes, but you may start seeing new labels as early as next year.

Contact us at: Info@NutritionForNonNutritionists.com for more information about these label changes and to discuss how the proposed regulatory changes to front-of-package labelling will impact your business.

New food guide consultations are open!

food-guide-consultationYou may have heard the big announcement that Health Canada is revising the Food Guide (CFG) and consultations are open for only 45 days until December 8th.  The last time CFG was changed was over 10 years ago so don’t miss this chance to let your voice be heard!

Why is CFG important?

CFG was, and will remain a key document that shapes the approach to healthy eating recommendations and policies in Canada, including nutrition education and menu planning. You know that nutrition science has evolved in the last 13 years.  We moved from ‘no fat’ or ‘low fat’ to good fat, from ‘low carb’ to high quality carbs, and at the end of the day more and more scientists agree that the overall dietary pattern is more important than any one food or nutrient. Of course, it’s a real challenge to translate complex science about nutrition into specific recommendations that meets the diverse needs of the Canadian population, but the new Food Guide revision set out to do just that. Let your voice be heard on how CFG can help you benefit from nutrition.

How to let your voice be heard!

We completed Canada’s Food Guide Workbook on line, which did not take very long, and we have a few tips for your consideration so you know what to expect when you participate.

The first question separates members of the general public from professionals who work in health, teaching or are representing an organization.  After a few more qualifying questions about who you are, the survey asks you to select 3 types of activities where you use healthy eating recommendations most often. The next set of questions are based on the 3 activities you just identified. They explore the type of guidance you find most valuable and the ways you would like recommendations presented. The final questions request you to rate the importance of a variety of topics related to healthy eating, including food enjoyment, eating patterns, security, environment, level of processing and sugars.

We encourage you to take the time and complete Canada’s Food Guide Workbook by December 8th. It’s your chance to influence the way Canadians will eat well for many years to come.

If you have any questions or comments on completing Canada’s Food Guide Workbook we’d be happy to hear from you!

Feeding kids a vegan diet in Italy could be a crime

vegan-kid

The buzz:
Late last month, Italian Parliamentarian Elvira Savino proposed a bill that would hold parents legally responsible for feeding a vegan diet to children who are under the age of 16. A vegan diet excludes all animal products such as meat, fish, poultry, dairy and eggs.

The bill was proposed after multiple cases of Italian infants were hospitalized for malnourishment presumably due to eating vegan diets. If the bill passes, parents who restrict their children to a vegan diet would face a year-long jail sentence. Should the child fall ill because of the diet, the sentence would increase to four years; and if the child dies, the jail term would rise to six years.

The Italian government has not been shy to step into people’s kitchens. Last year, an Italian court reportedly ordered a vegan mother to feed her son meat at least once a week after her divorced husband complained that the son wasn’t getting adequate nourishment. In 2015, a father was sentenced to nine months in prison after forcing his teen daughters to diet only on whole grains, cereals and veggies because he deemed them to be too fat.

Savino’s proposed bill will be debated later this year.

The science:

According to the Dietitians of Canada, vegan diets can lower your risk of many conditions including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. A healthy vegan diet includes a variety of grains, vegetables, fruit, legumes (dried peas, peas and lentils), seeds and nuts.

However, because a vegan diet excludes meat, fish, poultry, dairy and eggs, it may take some planning to get enough protein, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fats from foods and/or supplements.

Our expert POV:
A vegan diet may be appropriate for toddlers to teens with careful planning. The most important consideration at these ages is to ensure that they are getting the nutrients they need to grow and develop well.

Talk to a dietitian about vegan food sources for nutrients such as protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B12 (which are typically found in meat, fish, poultry and eggs). Calcium and vitamin D are also essential for the development of strong bones and teeth, while omega-3 fats are essential for brain development and eye health.

With our training and experience in health promotion, we wonder if nutrition education for parents / caregivers would be more effective than this punitive legislation.

Dare to Compare: Chia Seeds versus Flax Seeds

Ever wonder what the difference is between these two tiny seeds?

What are they:

chia seeds
[Image source: Flickr]

Chia seeds are tiny white or black seeds that look like poppy seeds. They were first cultivated by the Aztec tribes in Mexico.

flax seed 2
[Image source: Flickr]

Flax seeds are flat, yellow or brown, oval shaped seeds that are about the size of a sesame seed. Brown flax seeds are grown right here in Canada, mainly in the western Prairies.


Nutrition and health benefits:

Chia seeds are filled with insoluble fibre. When mixed with water or fluids, chia seeds expand and swell to form a gel. Chia seeds are a source of heart-healthy plant-based omega-3 fats, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. When it comes to fibre, calcium and selenium, chia seeds win over flax seeds. (See comparison chart below.) Studies show many benefits to including chia seeds as part of a healthy diet, such as a reduction in blood cholesterol levels and the prevention of constipation.

Note: Chia seeds can thin your blood, as well as interact with medications and blood thinners such as Warfarin/Coumadin. If you are taking any types of these medications or any type of blood pressure medications, then please avoid chia seeds and talk to you doctor.

Flax seeds are hailed as a super source of plant-based omega-3 fats which is an important nutrient to help lower the risk of heart disease. With a similar nutrition profile to that of chia seeds, flax seeds are also a source of zinc and selenium, and a good source of magnesium. Flax seeds are one of the best food sources of lignans, which are a type of plant-based estrogen. Research suggests that these lignans may play a role in protecting against breast cancer.

chia vs flax chart BIGGER REV


How to include in a healthy diet:

Both chia seeds and flax seeds have a nutty flavour and can be easily added to your favourite dishes.

Chia seeds – Sprinkle into smoothies, cereal, yogurt, soups and salads. Try our yummy Chia Seed Pudding recipe or mix some chia seeds into muffin batter. Store chia seeds in a dark, cool place for a few months.

Flax seeds – Sprinkle over cereal or yogurt, or add them to pancake batter and meatballs. Whole flax seeds can be stored at room temperature for up to one year. Ground flax seeds are easier to digest. Grind your own flax seeds in a coffee grinder or food processor. Store ground flax seeds in an opaque container for up to three months.

Dietitian’s Tip: Enjoy a variety of foods and include chia seeds and/or flax seeds when you can. Leave us a comment and tell us how you love to use chia and flax!

Does coffee cause cancer?

coffee cup

Nutrition is a relatively young science with new research constantly emerging. The recent headline about coffee and cancer is a good example of this.

Twenty-five years ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) had identified coffee as a possible carcinogen linked to bladder cancer. On June 15, 2016, the WHO updated their advice.

The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is an international working group of 23 scientists, reviewed 1000 scientific studies, and found that drinking coffee and maté (a tea made from the dried leaves of the yerba mate plant) is not linked to cancer. In fact, coffee may be protective against cancers of he liver and uterine endometrium.

The new findings however do see a connection between high-temperature beverages and their potential link to cancer. According to the WHO, drinking beverages (even water) that are very hot – which is defined as anything above 65°C (149°F) – is linked to a higher risk of cancer of the esophagus. It’s thought that the hot temperature scalds the delicate tissue in the esophagus. This damage may then trigger a faster turnover of the cells which in some cases can lead to out of control malignant growth.

Esophageal cancer is the eighth most common cancer worldwide with the highest incidence in Asia, South America, and East Africa where drinking very hot beverages is common. Maté is traditionally consumed at very hot temperatures (70°C). Certain countries such as China and Iran also tend to drink their teas prepared at very high temperatures, above 65°C or 70°C.

It’s likely that your favourite hot drink from the coffee/tea shop is made at very hot temperatures. Here are my tips for enjoying your hot cuppa:
– Allow your hot drink to cool down a bit before taking that first sip.
– Add some milk or cream to lower the temperature of your hot drink.
– Brew your own tea using hot but not scalding hot water.
– Stick to four cups of coffee or less (4 x 8 ounces or 4 x 250 mL) – any more will put you over your daily caffeine limit.

Excise tax recommended on sugar-sweetened beverages

DC sugar tax position paper - 2

On February 9th, the Dietitians of Canada released a position paper recommending that an excise tax of at least 10-20% be applied to sugar-sweetened beverages sold in Canada. Sugar-sweetened beverages are defined as soft drinks/pop, fruit drinks, sports drinks, tea and coffee drinks, energy drinks, sweetened milks/milk alternatives, and any other beverages to which sugar has been added.

According to the position paper, there is moderate evidence linking consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages to excess weight, obesity, and chronic disease in children and adults. An excise tax, unlike a sales tax, is levied before the point of purchase so that the price of the product itself will be higher. Since price is a major factor influencing food choices, it is thought that the excise tax will deter Canadians from purchasing sugar-sweetened beverages and lead to an overall lower consumption of them.

For the greatest impact, the Dietitians of Canada suggest that the taxation measures be combined with other policy interventions such as increasing access to healthy foods while decreasing access to unhealthy foods in schools, daycares, and recreation facilities; restrictions on the marketing of foods and beverages to children; and effective, long-term educational initiatives.

Sugar and sugar taxes are definitely hot nutrition issues. How do these issues affect your personal and business lives? We’ll share our insights and additional research at our upcoming Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists annual course – join us and be a part of the discussion!

Highlights from Grocery Innovations Canada 2015

If you missed this year’s Grocery Innovations show in Toronto, don’t worry. We were there and we have all of the key highlights for you, starting with aloe water, protein water and locally grown quinoa. Here are our top 5 picks on what‘s trending!

1. Water, water everywhere! From alkaline and aloe waters to boxed water and protein water, it’s clear that manufacturers are duking it out to quench Canadians’ thirst!

FLOW alkaline waterAlkaline water –naturally alkaline water with a high pH. A 500 mL serving contains: 0 calories, 0 g fat, 4 mg sodium 0 g carbohydrates, 0 g protein, 4% DV for calcium. (Top 10 Most Innovative Products for 2015.)

AloeWateAloe water – pulp free and sourced in North America. A 450 mL serving contains: 35 calories, o g fat, 0.015 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrates, 8 g sugars, 0 g protein. (Made with aloe vera inner leaf powder, organic cane sugar, RebA stevia extract.)

Boxed waterBoxed water – why, because as the package says, “Boxed water is better”. The package tells their story – 78% of the box is composed from trees. No nutrition facts information is shown on the box.

Protein2OProtein2O – a protein enhanced water. A 500 mL serving contains: 70 calories, 0 g fat, 120 mg sodium, 70 mg potassium, 2 g carbohydrates, 0 g sugars, 15 g whey protein. (Made with sucralose.)

2. Packaging with a story. Chios Gardens fruit juices uses the front of pack to highlight its fruity ingredients. The journey of the juice is featured on the back panel.

Chios Gardens juice front  Chios Gardens juice back

 

quinoa3. Locally-grown quinoa. Who knew this gluten-free grain could be grown right here in in Ontario? Available in 2016.

Popcornveggie4. Pop Fusion Popcorn. Another local innovation. Popcorn is flavoured with a seasoning blend made from all of the veggies you see in the photo!

5. Winners: Among the winners of the top 10 most innovative products this year were:

  • Coupgon App – no more having to cut out coupons!
  • Natural Delights Date Rolls – soft like a brownie with the sweetness of dates
  • Nordica Smooth Cottage Cheese – cottage cheese without the lumps!
  • Prema Chai Spiced Tea – a blend of black tea with spices
  • Tandoori Lasagna – why choose Indian versus Italian when you can have both!
  • Veggemo – a vegetable based beverage made from pea protein, tapioca and potato

Keeping up with the shopper

Do you have a good understanding of today’s shopper? At this year’s annual BrandSpark conference, marketing and insight leaders shared these top 7 critical shopper factors.

  1. Value – Canadians are active seekers of value for their money. 87% of Canadians are proud to get value.
  2. Enjoyment – For 88% of Canadians, taste is very important when choosing food.
  3. Health – 84% of consumers believe that nutrition can prevent illness and 69% are making changes to live healthier.
  4. Convenience – Products must be simple to use for Canadians. 63% say it’s very important that products save them time.
  5. Trust – When it comes to food and beverages, 60% of consumers feel it’s very important to buy a trusted brand.
  6. Innovation – Canadians are looking for new and improved benefits. 65% will pay more for a better new product.
  7. Multicultural – 70% of immigrants to Canada want cultural food products to taste authentic.

Contact us to learn more critical shopping factors related to social media and millennials.

The Power of Protein

You may already know that protein helps build and repair body tissues as well as build antibodies that fight disease. Last month, the Canadian Nutrition Society in collaboration with Dietitians of Canada, hosted the Conference on Advances in Protein Nutrition Across the Lifespan.  We were there and heard an update from leading researchers in the field. Here are key highlights about the role of protein in exercise, weight loss and chronic disease management.

Athletes: Eating the right amount of protein at the right time has critical implications for athletes.  To build muscle, Dr. Stuart Phillips at McMaster University recommends eating four equally spaced protein containing meals per day, (0.25-0.3 g protein/kg body weight/meal), PLUS a 40 g protein intake at bedtime to ensure muscle building proteins are on board while you sleep. For those interested in protein supplements, whey is best since it’s a fast absorbing high quality protein.

Weight Loss & General Health: Eating enough protein helps you feel fuller. Keep snacking at bay, and include at least 30 g protein with each meal, especially at breakfast.

The quality of protein is an important consideration for meal planning, especially for vegetarian diets. How much protein containing food do you need to eat to meet your requirements for essential amino acids – the building blocks of protein? It depends on the source!  Foods containing high quality proteins require lower calorie intake to meet your essential amino acid requirements, according to Dr. Robert Wolfe, an expert on healthy aging from the University of Arkansas. For example, you may need to eat 6 times as many calories in chickpeas to get the amino acids available in one serving of lean turkey meat.

Aging & Chronic Illness: Muscle building in the body is triggered when enough of the amino acid leucine is present. When people consume small amounts of protein, the threshold of leucine needed to trigger muscle building may not be reached. Researchers including Dr. John Hoffer at the University of McGill recommend at least 30 g protein per meal to stimulate muscle building.  The tip for the ill and elderly patients may be to discourage nibbling, so they are sufficiently hungry at mealtime to eat enough protein to reach the threshold for muscle building to kick in.