news & trends

Workplace Wellness

Happy business colleagues having lunch on table at office cafete

Do you wish you had more energy at work? Do you find it tough to eat well on the job or during shift work? Do you want to be more efficient in using your talents to produce outstanding results? You’re not alone. These were just some of the challenges we heard from the attendees at this year’s Partners in Prevention Conference and Trade Show. As exhibitors for Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists, we were delighted to share our most popular presentation at the Healthy Living stage – “Top 5 Ways to Eat Better” – and had the chance to connect with workplace wellness leaders about food, nutrition, improved concentration and productivity.

Many of us spend eight hours a day – and probably more – at work, so let’s make them count for health and wellness!

Why Promote Wellness in the Workplace?*
Did you know that 57% of employees in Canada are living with at least one chronic condition such as high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol?** Good food builds healthier people and a healthier workplace. Worksite health promotion is an investment in your most important asset: your employees. Studies have shown that employees are more likely to be on the job and performing well when they are in optimal health. Benefits of implementing a wellness program include:
• Lower health care costs, due to a healthier workforce and improved disease management
• Enhanced recruiting by attracting the most talented workers
• Reduced absenteeism and improved productivity
• Improved on-the-job time utilization, decision-making and productivity
• Improved employee morale
• Reduction in turnover

As dietitians, we LOVE food! We’re credible experts who translate the science of nutrition and unlock the potential of food to support healthy living for Canadians. Book us for your next Lunch and Learn or Wellness Fair. Contact us with your wellness boosting food & menu questions – we can help! info@NutritionForNonNutritionists.com

*Source: Mumby, Workplace Wellness
**Source: Chronic Disease in the Workplace: Focus on Prevention and Support

Unlock the power of protein to keep your muscles strong

protein power pic 2 2018-02-05_11-43-04

When & how much protein we eat are KEY factors in maintaining and building strong muscles. Experts presented the latest research on the power of protein at the Candian Nutrition Society’s 2018 conference in Toronto. We were there and in this posting we translate the science to help support your health and muscle building whether it’s for daily living or sports performance. Read on for our out top tips and best sources of protein to help you build stronger muscles!

WHEN: 

Spread out your protein intake evenly over three to four meals a day. To maximize your muscle strength, include protein rich foods at every meal. The biggest challenge for most Canadians is meeting their protein intake at breakfast so look for ways to pump up the protein in your morning meal. Athletes, remember get some protein into your body just before bedtime to ensure these muscle building nutrients are on board while you sleep!

HOW MUCH:

As dietitians, we love food and are passionate about its power. Protein intake recommendations for most people are to aim for 20-30 grams of protein at every meal.  Athletes Note: A meal containing about 0.3 g protein/kg body mass,  eaten every 3 hours supports the greatest post-exercise muscle synthesis  after resistance exercise! A bedtime protein intake is also recommended for athletes so muscle building proteins are on board while you sleep!

Check out some examples of protein in foods and choose foods from the table below to help increase protein in your diet. Have questions about protein intake? Leave a comment or contact us!

protein booster foods 2018-02-05_12-05-18

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

Top 3 Trends & Winners at Grocery Innovations Canada 2017

Lucia GIC grocery trade show 2017 gic 2017 show pic

Grocery Innovations Canada (GIC) is a ‘must attend’ annual event for professionals in the grocery and specialty food business. This year’s conference and trade show offered tips for growth, innovation, and best ways to connect with consumers.  Here are 3 TOP TRENDS we recognized in some of the award winning products.

  1. Pack it with protein
  2. Make it Fresh
  3. Keep it simple & clean for labels

Pack it with protein
Food makers are adding and highlighting protein in just about every category. It’s true that consumers are looking for protein but many people are confused about how much they need and where are the best sources of this important nutrient. As dietitians, we translate the science and find that Canadian nutrition recommendations encourage people to include plant based proteins and balance their protein intakes throughout the day, especially at breakfast.

Two of the 2017 Grocery Innovation award winners featured a protein claim.
•     EGGbakes (Burnbrae Farms Ltd.) with about 13 grams protein per 95 g serving.
•     PrOATein Premium Nutritional Bar (PrOATein) 15 grams protein per 50g bar.

gic 2017 egg burnbrae

Grocery Innovation 2017 Proatein

 

 


Make it Fresh
Demand for fresh food is on the rise (Euromonitor). We saw many packages inviting us to eat with our eyes first, using windows to let fresh food peek through and beautiful fresh food images on pack. Adding a story about where the food was grown and who cared for it makes packaged fresh food a consumer attraction. One of the top 10 winners of the 2017 Grocery Innovations Awards captured this trend: Ready-To-Eat Fresh Fruits & Vegetables (Nature Knows Inc.) showcasing fresh grape tomatoes, blueberries or grapes.

gic 2017 nature knows

Keep it Simple – the food label that is.
Consumers are looking for a clean label which may be interpreted as a combination of ‘free from’ features as well as an ingredient list that is easy to read, understand and not too long. Simply Simple Kefir+ Overnight Oats (A&M Gourmet Foods Inc.) was voted as one of the top 10 most innovative products.
gic 2017 kefir overnight oats

food labelling changes n4nn

You already know Canadian packaged foods are preparing to update their labels to comply with new Ingredient list and Nutrition Facts Table regulations.  Are you working with food brands and rethinking your food offerings? If you have questions about food and health contact us. As Registered Dietitians we are Canada’s trusted experts who translate the science of nutrition into terms everyone can understand. We unlock food’s potential and support healthy living for all Canadians. Reach us for reliable advice at info@NutritionForNonNutritionists.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food Waste – How you can reduce it, save money and eat better.

We love food and as dietitians, it’s our passion and calling. At the 95th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair’s Nutrition Forum, we joined chefs, farmers and scientists to discover more about food’s farm to table journey. We even had the chance to meet the Federal Minister of Agriculture Hon. Lawrence MacAulay on opening day!

Royal winter failr 2017-11-06_19-46-03
The Food and Nutrition Annual Forum was organized by members of Dietitians of Canada. Featured speaker Dr. Mike von Massow, from the University of Guelph highlighted why we waste so much food both at home and in food service/grocery business and what we can do about it. Here are 5 takeaways from his presentation:

  1. Food waste awareness is increasing in the public eye. Canadians are starting to take notice of the amount of food that goes in the green bin or garbage. Some people may even feel guilt or shame when talking about their food waste.
  2. Fact: 50% of food waste comes from homes! Researchers say that simply thinking about food waste helps you throw out less. Be especially mindful of fruit and vegetables as produce makes up almost 70% of total food waste!
  3. ‘Best Before Date’ does not necessarily mean ‘Bad After’. Do you know how to interpret and apply ‘Best Before Dates’ shown on pack without compromising food safety? Send us your questions!
  4. Choose what you can use and don’t buy too much at once. Not only does this cut food waste, but it also helps save money. Menu planning, pantry checks and correct food storage practices will also help reduce food waste.
  5. Foodservice and Grocery are not immune to food waste and customers may form judgements around the amount of food left uneaten on a plate or thrown away by businesses. In restaurants, a plate waste assessment can help start a discussion about serving food differently to reduce waste. Registered Dietitians can help with this work!

What’s your plan to save food from the green bin? Contact us for credible & doable tips that can help you cut waste, save money and eat well.

5 Nutrition Myths – Busted!

hosts + Sue - 2

Test your nutrition IQ with this fun 5-question quiz!

Watch Sue’s interview clip on CTV Your Morning!


1) TRUE or FALSE: Brown eggs are more nutritious than white eggs.

Answer: FALSE

There really is no nutritional difference between brown eggs and white eggs. The main difference is in the hens. Generally speaking, white eggs come from hens with white feathers, and brown eggs come from hens with brown feathers!

Brown hens are slightly larger birds and need more food, so that may be a reason why brown eggs usually cost more than white eggs.


2) TRUE or FALSE: You need to drink 8 cups of water every day.

Answer: FALSE

Actually, it’s recommended that women get 9 cups of FLUID every day and men get 12 cups of FLUID every day. If you’re exercising, or if the weather is hot and humid, you may even need more fluid.

Fluid comes from the food you eat and the beverages that you drink – so milk, soup, coffee, tea, watermelon, grapes – all of that counts towards your fluid intake for the day. So the actual amount of water you need really depends on what you’re eating and drinking.

Water is always an excellent choice because it’s calorie-free and very refreshing. And here’s the best tip – take a look at your urine. If it’s light or clear, then it usually means that you’re getting enough fluids. But if it’s dark yellow, then it’s a sign of dehydration and you need more fluids.


3) TRUE or FALSE: Sea salt has the same amount of sodium as table salt.

Answer: TRUE

By weight, sea salt and table salt have the same amount of sodium. By volume though, sea salt does contain a little less sodium because sea salt crystals are larger.

The biggest differences between sea salt and table salt are: taste, texture and source.
Sea salt is made by evaporating seawater and tastes different depending on where it’s from. Sea salt does contain very small amounts of trace minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Table salt is mined from dried-up ancient salt lakes. Some table salts include iodine, a nutrient that helps prevent thyroid disease (goiter).

4) TRUE or FALSE: Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning is a good way to detox your body.

Answer: FALSE

There is nothing magical about lemon water. Drinking lemon water in the morning actually adds extra acid into your empty stomach and this can give you a stomachache.
Another problem with lemon water is that the acid from the lemon can erode / wear down your tooth enamel. If you really love to drink lemon water, try to have a plain glass of water afterwards, and wait at least 15 minutes before brushing your teeth.

5) TRUE or FALSE: Energy drinks give you energy.

Answer: TRUE

Energy can mean calories. A bottle of energy drink can have about 100 calories, so in that sense, yes, you’re getting energy!

Energy can also mean physical energy. Energy drinks typically contain caffeine which is a stimulant. One cup of an average energy drink has almost as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. So in that sense, energy drinks will make you feel energized and alert.

The problem is that energy drinks also contain added sugar – up to 7 teaspoons in a serving- yikes! And there’s also herbal ingredients. Energy drinks are a no-no for kids, teens and pregnant/breastfeeding women.

What’s the best way to feel energized? Eat well, be active, stay hydrated and get enough sleep!

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

Take the fight out of food! How to spot credible nutrition info!

Nutrition month 2017 Sue & Lucia Pledge

Eating should be joyful and pleasurable, but it can also be frustrating and confusing. Take the online pledge to take the fight out of food. Find accurate information to help you make better decisions about food and take the fight out of your food struggles.

Did you know that almost half of Canadians (49%) get their food and nutrition information from the Internet, social media or blogs? Unfortunately, not all online information can be trusted. Here’s how to spot the most credible nutrition info.

1. Talk to a dietitian – the most credible food and nutrition experts. According to the Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research, Tracking Nutrition Trends 2015 report, only 20% of Canadians get their information from a dietitian. Yet, most Canadians (88%) say dietitians are credible sources of information. Contact us with your food and nutrition questions.

2. Ask questions. Evaluate online nutrition advice by asking:
• Who runs the website?
• Is the website trying to sell something?
• Does it sound too good to be true?
• Where does the information come from?
• Is the information based on more than one clinical study?
• Was the study done in animals or humans?
• Was the information / study reviewed by an editorial board?

3. Go to these trusted websites.
Some of our favourite information sources are:
Weiler Nutrition Communications Inc.
Nutrition Solutions Inc.
Dietitians of Canada
Eat Right Ontario
Healthy Canadians

4. Look for the Dietitians of Canada Member Blog badge
. We’ve met the blog criteria from our professional organization, and are proud to share our expert, credible, evidence-based insights!

DC member blog badge


This post has been adapted from Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month campaign materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at www.NutritionMonth2017.ca

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!

Dare to Compare: Coconut Water versus Sports Drink

Athletes of all ages are turning to these beverages for hydration. What’s the difference?

coconut-water-vs-sports-drink

Overall, unsweetened coconut water has fewer calories, carbohydrates and sodium than a typical sports drink. For general hydration, coconut water is fine. Look for the brands with no added sugar.

However compared to sports drinks, coconut water has too much potassium and not enough sodium or carbohydrates for optimal hydration during and after exercise / competitions.

According to the Dietitians of Canada, sports drinks may be beneficial if you:
– exercise hard for at least 1 hour
– exercise at high intensity (e.g. soccer, hockey, basketball)
– sweat a lot / have salty sweat
– wear a lot of protective gear or equipment such as for hockey or football
– train or exercise in the heat and humidity
– need to replace fluids and energy quickly such as during hockey tournaments
– train or exercise more than once a day.

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!

Chia Breakfast for Champions

chia seed yogo cropped 2016Get this all star easy to follow Chia Seed Pudding recipe we love for breakfast! Make it the night before and boost it with your favourite fruit and nuts. Recipe adapted from The Food Network, courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis. [1]


Ingredients

1 cup milk or vanilla-flavored unsweetened almond milk
1 cup plain low-fat (2 percent) Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons maple syrup, plus 2-4 teaspoons for serving
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 pint strawberries, hulled and chopped
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)

Directions

In a medium bowl, gently whisk the milk (or almond milk), yogurt, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, the vanilla and 1/8 teaspoon salt until just blended. Whisk in the chia seeds; let stand 30 minutes. Stir to distribute the seeds if they have settled. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, in a medium bowl, toss the berries with the remaining 2-4 teaspoons maple syrup. Mix in the almonds.

Spoon the pudding into 4 bowls or glasses; mound the berry mixture on top and serve.

Nutrition Information per serving:

Calories 201; Fat 8g; Protein 8g; Carbohydrate 25g; Sugar 16g

[1] http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/chia-seed-pudding.html?soc=socialsharingtw

 

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

 

Bridging the Gap between Nutrition Science and Culinary Arts

ambition nutrition June 2016

We recently attended the AMBITION NUTRITION conference  at George Brown College in Toronto where academic professionals, dietitians, culinary experts, and industry leaders joined for an interactive day to examine the gaps and opportunities that exist between research, education, nutrition, diet, and culinary arts. Here are some of the top insights posted on twitter by thought leaders at #AmbitionNutrition…

  • “Public is confused about #nutrition says @Dmozaffarian” @SueMahRD
  • “@davidludwigmd advice is to replace highly processed casrbs we healthy fats #weightloss” by @SueMahRD
  • “Lets fall in love with food again! @MichaelMossC” by @SueMahRD
  • “Nutrition is emotional & personal – 1 person 1 meal at a time struggle” by @LuciaWeilerRD
  • “Food is #1 cause of poor health in the world-yet NOT on e-health record-pay more attention 2 diet 4 health @Dmozaffarian” by ‏@LuciaWeilerRD
  • “Diet quality is the driving force behind obesity” @Dmozaffarian by @JenniferSygo
  •  “Eat less and move more” advice (is too simple and) does not work!…” by‏ @JarRraSummer
  •  “Let’s not vilify foods & stop focusing on the bad ~ let’s flip this & add more good “back to basics” food to our day.” ‏@MairlynSmith
  • “Your diet is like dating. You have to get to know your diet or it will never last.” @DougMcNish
  • “It’s not the “bad” in the diet that causes problems. It’s too little of the “good” – Eat veg fish beans @Dmozaffarian” ‏@CaraRosenbloom
  • “It is all about the quality of your diet not calories in/out when it comes to wt loss & risk of disease @Dmozaffarian” by @ShaunaLindzonRD
  • “Villifying any food may be the gateway to orthorexia @JennSygo” by ‏@TrishBitesLife
  • “Creating a healthy and positive food environment has to come from the policy level, not the individual level.” @ConfessionsRD
  • “Good point re: menu labelling – may cause people to choose lower cal options regardless of their quality @Dmozaffarian” ‏by @chelseaallenrd
  • “Cilantro haters is not your fault! Blame the Soapy taste on your genes!” @elsohemy by @LuciaWeilerRD
  • “ Chefs make nutrition recos come to life! Dietitian says pick your fave veg oil!” by @LuciaWeilerRD

 

 

 

 

FDA introduces new Nutrition Facts Table

The Nutrition Facts Table (NFT) in the USA is over 20 years old. On May 20, 2016, the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) introduced the new label to help consumers south of our border make informed choices about the food they buy and eat.

NFT old versus new 2016 v2

Here’s a brief summary of the key changes that will take effect by July 2018 on USA food labels:

1. Serving size and servings per container – are now highlighted in larger font and/or bold. Serving sizes have been updated.
LIKE: This underscores the importance of portion sizes.
DISLIKE: The serving sizes are based on the amounts of food and beverages that people are actually eating, not on the amounts that they should be eating. For example, the serving size of ice cream was previously ½ cup but is changing to 2/3 cup.

2. Calories – are now highlighted in extra large font (how can you miss it?)
LIKE: With a global obesity crisis, calories have become the simple currency of weight. We tend to underestimate the calories that we consume.
BUT…Calories does not tell the whole story. Remember to look at the bigger picture of nutrient density and food quality. A Greek yogurt parfait with nuts and fruit may have more calories that a donut – but which is the healthier choice?

3. Calories from fat – have been removed
LIKE: We know that the quality and type of fat is more important that the amount of fat.

4. Added sugars – makes a debut on the new USA NFT. The %DV (% Daily Value) is set at 50 grams.
LIKE: Consumers are hearing more about sugar and health. According to the FDA, research shows that it is difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within caloric limits if you consume more than 10% of your total calories from added sugars. Disclosing the amount of added sugars on the label will help consumers better distinguish between the natural sugars versus the added sugars in the food.

5. Vitamin D and potassium
– are required to be declared on the USA NFT, along with calcium and iron. For each of these, both the actual amount and the %DV amount are listed. Vitamins A and C are no longer mandatory, and can be listed on a voluntary basis.
LIKE: Since many of us are probably not getting enough Vitamin D, potassium, calcium and iron, these nutrients are of public health significance.

6. Footnote – is added to help put the %DV into context for consumers.
LIKE: The %DV is an easy way for consumers to determine whether the food has a little (less than 5% DV) or a lot (15% DV or more) of a nutrient.

The real question now is – will Health Canada follow suit with our NFT?
We’ll keep you posted as it happens!

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.

“Eat Less, Eat Better”…is it that simple? Rethinking our message about healthy eating and obesity

 

Will we solve the obesity crisis by simply telling people to “eat less and eat better”? A one-day health professional forum was held in Toronto on April 28th to rethink our messages about food and obesity. The event featured key leaders in obesity research/treatment and health communications:

  • Dr. Ayra Sharma (Chair for Obesity Research and Management, University of Alberta)
  • Ted Kyle (Founder, ConscienHealth)
  • Sue Mah (President, Nutrition Solutions and Co-Founder, Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists)

Here’s what these experts were saying…

 

Dr. Ayra Sharma
Chair for Obesity Research and Management, University of Alberta

  • Obesity is a complex chronic disease.
  • Simplistic messages about obesity are misleading, can promote unhealthy weight obsession and promote bias and discrimination.
  • Prevention and intervention strategies should focus on improving health behaviours rather than on just changing body weight.

Ted Kyle
Founder, ConscienHealth

  • Use respectful, people-first language that is free of bias and stigma – e.g. “unhealthy weight” or “high BMI” instead of “fat” or “morbidly obese”.
  • “Obese” is a harmful label. “Obesity” is a disease.
  • Shift the conversation from “being obese” towards health.

 

Sue Mah
President, Nutrition Solutions and Co-Founder, Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists

  • “Eating better” means cooking, eating together and enjoying food.
  • Consumers are bombarded with food/nutrition messages that simply don’t “have the scientific muster to present as fact” (quoting Dr. Oz here!)
  • Health and nutrition communications needs to be creative to capture consumers’ attention.
  • From celebrities and chefs to dietitians and politicians, everyone has a role in being a champion for change.

SIAL Canada 2015

We never miss attending SIAL Canada – it’s one of North America’s most important food tradeshows of the year. With 800 national and international exhibitors from 45 countries, this year’s SIAL event welcomed more than 13,000 buyers including Canada’s major retailers and purchasers from around the world who are seeking innovative and great tasting foods for their customers.

#1 – The winner of SIAL Innovation award went to Malimousse Seafood Dip with Greek Yogurt. The judges liked the dip’s quality, flavour and simple list of ingredients. Right on trend – Congratulations!

 

 

Seven of the ten finalists for this prestigious award were also from Canada.

#2 – Nupasta – Konjac Angel Hair is an innovative pasta product that is high in fibre and has 1/10th the calories of regular pasta. Nupasta’s Stephen Cheung tells us that products made from the konjac plant may be new in Canada but are common in Japan. Nupasta is made with konjac root flour and soy flour and is priced like fresh pasta. NuPasta contains 95% water and 5% fibre, yet it tastes great, appears versatile and is ready in 1 minute. This Chinese/Canadian partnership also declares the product as gluten free and non-GMO. Innovation category: component – recipe.

#3 – Walter – All-Natural Craft Caesar Mix is a natural handcrafted Bloody Caesar cocktail mix with no monosodium glutamate, isoglucose, colours or artificial flavours. Innovation categories: component – recipe; manufacturing process.

#4 – Fantino & Mondello – Dry Salami. These are gluten-free salami bites in a re-sealable bag and perfect for appetizers. Innovation categories: component – recipe; packaging.

#5 – Fresh Attitude Fraiche – Teriyaki, Stir Fry. An Asian inspired vegetables and noodle mix in a microwaveable and re-sealable bowl. Innovation categories: component –recipe; packaging.

#6 – Haskapa – Haskap Juice Drink is Haskap juice in a slim bottle. Made from 187 haskap berries and lightly sweetened. Innovation categories: component – recipe; packaging.

#7 – Omax – Nutritious and Delicious Bar. A nutrition bar sold chilled or frozen. Preservative-free. Innovation categories: component – recipe; marketing positioning

#8 – Pure – Infused Maple Syrup. Get ready for spice-infused maple syrup in a sophisticated bottle with wooden cap. Innovation categories: component – recipe; packaging.

#9 – Exotico – Sumatra Robusta Green Coffee. Instant green coffee for fitness. Low in calories and can be enjoyed hot or cold. Innovation category: component – recipe.

#10 – Doi Chaang Coffee Company – Organic and fair trade coffee in 90% biodegradable pod. 12 individually wrapped pods. Innovation categories: packaging; manufacturing process; marketing positioning

National Nutrition Month – Eating 9 to 5

According to a poll by Ipsos Reid, 45% of Canadians say that eating healthy meals and snacks while at work is challenging. Are your 9 to 5 eating habits helping or hindering your productivity? Let us show you how healthy eating can boost your concentration, productivity and overall wellness.

Book us now for an energizing Lunch and Learn presentation or an interactive nutrition display to meet your employees’ health and wellness needs.

Consider integrating healthy nutrition approaches into your leadership training programs. We’ll offer strategies and solutions for tackling your everyday workplace challenges, and promote engagement across the organization that leads to an improved corporate health and wellness profile.

We are also available to consult with your HR team to develop a workplace wellness plan and improve the nutrition environment in your workplace. For more information, contact us.

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.

Delicious Food Show

Hands down, the highlight of this year’s Delicious Food Show was meeting Celebrity Chef Chuck Hughes! Featuring hundreds of exhibitors, the show was truly a food-lovers’ event. Here are a few cool things we tried!

Camelina Oil – Extracted from the Camelina sativa oilseed, camelina oil is about 90% unsaturated fat, with 39% omega-3 fat and 18% omega-6 fat. The oil boasts light, nutty and earthy notes. With a high smoke point of 475°F, camelina oil is versatile and can be used in salads, dips, dressings and marinades as well as cooking.

Nu Pasta – This gluten-free pasta is made from the konjac plant. It’s a type of tuber plant, which grows on slopes about 600 to 12,000 m above sea level. The root of the konjac plant is dried and milled into a fine flour which is the main ingredient of the pasta. A 210 g package contains: 25 calories, 1 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 6 g carbohydrates, o g sugar, 6 g fibre, and 1 g sugar. We sampled it in a stir-fry with garlic and pine nuts, which was a nice way to perk up the flavour.

Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream – What do you get when you add milk, cream, sugar and -196°C liquid nitrogen? Ice cream, of course! It’s the coolest and coldest way to make ice cream, and it’s all ready in less than 60 seconds. Liquid nitrogen is simply the harmless nitrogen gas which has been cooled to such a low temperature that it becomes a liquid. We happily sampled the Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream – it was delicious!

Top Trends at Grocery Innovations Canada 2014

Grocery Innovations Canada is the annual “must attend” event for professionals involved in the retail and food service industry. We were there again this year to see what’s hot and what’s not, as well as to check out new food and beverage innovations.

Here are the top five trends that jumped out at us.

  1. Clean ingredient list. Consumers are looking for pronounceable ingredients. What is NOT on the label is as important to consumers as what IS printed on the packaging.  More shoppers are asking for ‘natural’ or unprocessed products. We expect to see more of this “ free of ….“ focus in the future.
  2. Ethnic flavours continue to be a strong trend. Food makers anticipate a growth in Asian, Indian and Latin America cuisine.
  3. Supermarket Chef Showdown!  Canadians eat out often and busy shoppers are looking for help with prepared meals. Supermarket chefs showed their talents on how they create delicious and healthy meals to attract food loving grocery shoppers. In the Globe and Mail, Marina Strauss reports on this fast growing grocery-resto or takeout trend calling it the “Grocerant”
  4. Chocolate, Chia and Coconut were notable ingredient trends. New product innovations with chocolate included baked goods, lactose free chocolate milk (Natrel) and chocolate flavoured peanut butter (Kraft).  Chia seeds were introduced in new yogurts (Olympic), cereals and breads. (Chia seeds are similar to flax seed and contain omega-3 fats and boost fibre.) Coconut was featured in whipped cream from Gay Lea Foods, and in Campbell’s Thai Tomato Coconut Soup.
  5. Go Green theme was evident in several sustainable and environmentally friendly innovations. For example “Green” shopping bags are made of material that resists bacterial growth and the Green Lid bins are completely compostable containers made from recyclable cardboard and newsprint.

Book Review – Unmasking Superfoods by Jennifer Sygo, MSc., RD

It’s not always easy to find a nutrition book that’s easy to read and backed by credible research. But Sygo does just that. In Unmasking Superfoods, Sygo separates the truth from the hype behind some of today’s superfoods such as acai, noni, quinoa and the increasingly popular coconut oil.

She also gives a shout out to kiwi, pistachios and mussels, calling them underappreciated superfoods. In another chapter of the book, Sygo offers a sound perspective on beef, eggs, potatoes and other foods which she feels have been given a bad rap.

For each superfood, you’ll learn about the backstory, the nutrition, the science and finally the bottom line. Unmasking Superfoods is a mini nutrition encyclopedia for consumers and health professionals alike. It’s a keeper on our bookshelf.

Tracking Nutrition Trends 2013 – report released (June 2014)

Established in 1989, Tracking Nutrition Trends (TNT) is the longest standing nutrition study in Canada. The recently released report examines the self-reported knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of adult Canadians with respect to food and nutrition. Also included in the report are key factors that affect consumer food choices.  Here’s a summary of the key findings.

  • Nearly all Canadians say they have done something to improve or change their eating and drinking habits over the past year. The top three improvements/changes are: eating more fruits and vegetables; reducing salt/sodium; and reducing sugar.
  • Only 24% of Canadians follow Canada’s Food Guide.
  • 2/3 of Canadians use supplements. The most popular supplements are vitamin D, multi-vitamins and vitamin C.
  • 63% of Canadians eat breakfast every day (up from 58% in 2008).
  • 97% of Canadians say taste is the most important factor when choosing a food, followed by nutrition and cost.
  • 88% of Canadians say that maintaining good health is a key influence on their food choices.
  • When looking at the nutritional information, the most influential factors of food choices are: source of protein, low in saturated fats, low in salt/sodium, source of fibre, no trans fat, and low in total fat.

For more detailed report findings, and to discuss relevance to your work please contact us.

Men’s health trending

Life expectancy of Canadians has hit an all-time high of 80.7 years, according to the most recent data released by Statistics Canada. However, men lag behind by almost 5 years nationwide with men living on average 78.5 years compared to 83.1 years for women.  Why is there such a difference and what can be done to close the gender gap? One key reason may be that men are less likely to take care of their health compared to women. Although annual medical checkups and timely screenings can find early warning signs of trouble, many men do not take advantage of these treatments that may save their lives. It’s time to encourage conversations about men’s health. The “Movember” campaign has done just that by committing to “changing the face of men’s health.”  Others are also taking a closer look at connecting with men, including the food and grocery industry. Research shows that long gone is the stereotype of a man as the basket-case in the grocery store and “man-style” shopping is gaining recognition. Studies suggest that men appear to do more than one-third of the family grocery shopping, a trend which is likely to continue.

Implications for your business: Look for increasing opportunities to speak to men about healthy food choices and help them connect the dots between what they eat or drink and what matters – taking care of their health and wellness.