Category: Innovation

What’s the truth about Coconut Oil?

coconut oil N4NN newsletter

At our 10th annual N4NN course this year, participants asked many questions that you may be wondering about too. We’ve busted some myths that are worth sharing – for example, the facts about Coconut Oil!

A lot of information is out there about coconut oil, leaving consumers confused about the truth. Since coconut oil comes from coconuts, it could have a nutty flavour and appear as liquid or semi-solid at room temperature. You may wish to use it in your cooking for its flavour or texture, but remember it’s still 100% fat so use in moderation!

The scientific research does not hold up sufficient evidence to say that coconut oil has health benefits. For heart health, studies show canola and olive oils are better for you.  Enjoy a small amount of healthy oils – 30 to 45 mL (2 to 3 Tbsp) – each day.

Do you have nutrition questions? Let us know and we’ll answer it in a future newsletter or in our social media postings. Follow us @NutritionTraining @SueMahRD  @LuciaWeilerRD

 

Free Exclusive Webinar – News in Nutrition Labelling!

N4NN Diabetes Canada Webinar flyerEleven 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 webinar on nutrition labelling. Many professionals joined us on Oct 11, 2017 and were 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

The webinar will be recorded and available to registrants. Contact us for more information and availability.

n4nn logo jpeg    

 

A well fed brain is more likely to lead to good mood, behaviour and learning.

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(Photo Credit  PENNUTRITION https://twitter.com/pennutrition)

Nutrition is important for the brain as well as the body. As the school year is off to a start, we reviewed a research summary on diet, behaviour and learning in children. Here are our top 3 tips for unlocking food’s potential to support your child’s learning. The key areas of focus are the overall nutritional balance of regularly timed meals, and adequate intake of some essential nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids.

  1. Mind the overall nutritional balance!

Enjoying a variety of foods help the body and the brain get what they need to function best. The brains and bodies of children need a regular supply of energy so that they can think effectively.  Studies show that most children would benefit from more fruit and vegetables, and fewer sugary drinks, high-fat and high-sugar snacks.  Although the brain prefers glucose (sugars) for energy, in the long run it doesn’t cope well with major swings in blood sugar. Emerging evidence shows that foods that are digested more slowly and provide long lasting energy may be better choices.

DIETITIAN’S TIP: To moderate blood sugar swings, choose whole grains more often, and balance carbohydrate intake with some protein in each meal.

  1. Eat regularly – especially breakfast.

When children go without food for too long they may lose concentration and / or they may get in a bad mood.  Researchers find that eating breakfast leads to better learning compared to skipping breakfast. Encourage your kids to eat breakfast. Any breakfast or lunch meal is better than nothing, however including some fibre and protein in your child’s breakfast (and lunch) may be helpful for the brain.

DIETITIAN’S TIP: Try some of these great breakfast ideas:

  • A boiled egg with wholegrain toast and sliced peppers or tomato
  • Cooked oats or other whole grain cereal with milk and a sliced apple or banana
  • Yogurt berry smoothie with nuts and seeds
  1. Eat a variety of foods to get key nutrient for the brain.

One of the most important areas of research into the relationship between foods and brain health focuses on oily fish that are rich in omega-3 fats.  There is also some evidence that omega-3 fats help with attention. Iron, zinc and magnesium are also thought to be particularly important for the brain. Low iron levels are strongly linked to poor mood and concentration. Low magnesium may be linked to anxiety, and low zinc may lead to poor attention and poor sleep.

Oily fish is the best source of omega-3 fats. Red meat, poultry and pulses (beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas) are examples of good sources of iron and zinc. Green vegetables, nuts and seeds are all a good source of magnesium. For some children who are not getting enough, increasing their intake of foods containing one or more of these nutrients could make a difference to their mood, behaviour and learning. Talk to a dietitian if you’re concerned about these nutrients for your child.

DIETITIAN’S TIP:  A varied and nutritious diet is the most reliable way to help your child’s developing brain and body get the nutrients it needs. Children (and adults) should eat two servings of fatty fish a week. Choose fish high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, mackerel, sardines or herring. Plant based sources of Omega-3 include enriched eggs, walnuts & flaxseeds.

Bottom line: Giving your child regular meals and a healthy, well-balanced diet helps their development, mental well-being and physical health. Your child might also benefit from reducing their intake of foods that are low in nutritional value.  If you have questions, or for more information contact us or a Resisted Dietitian in your community. Factsheets on selected topics are also available on Dietitians of Canada website.

Reference: BDA The Association of UK Dietitians, Food Fact Sheet 2017. Source PENNUTRTITION.

Have you seen the NEW nutrition facts table on foods? Here is an example!

Did you know NEW nutrition facts table formats will be appearing on Canadian packaged foods soon? Since we are experts in developing nutrition facts tables for clients, we wanted to show you what they look like using one of our  veggie recipes, Kohlrabi Soup. In the new Nutrition Facts Table below notice the prominence of calories, a % DV for sugars  and the explanation of  % Daily Values – where 5% or less is a little and 15 % or more is a lot.  Our Kohlrabi soup, per 250ml serving is only 60 calories and gives you 4 grams of fibre (13% of the daily value) making it a good source fibre!  A serving of this soup is also an excellent source of Vitamin A and C. Enjoy it for taste and good health! Consider showing the nutrition information of your foods and recipes through the NEW NFT!  What’s your nutrition facts table question?

kohlrabi NFT Aug 2017

Health Canada Consultations – Let your voice be heard ( NEW OPEN till August 14)

Now is THE time to let your voice be heard about food, nutrition, way of eating and sustainability! We know this comes just before summer vacations, but consider that the policies formed following these three consultations will influence how Canadians hear about food, nutrition and sustainability for years to come.

Health Canada chose Dietitians of Canada annual conference on June 9th to announce the latest federal food and nutrition consultations. As part of the Healthy Eating Strategy, there are 3 public consultations live/on-line now and more are expected in the Fall. Please contact us if you have any questions about what this means to you and your business.

Here is a bird’s eye view of what the consultations are about. We encourage you to let your voice be heard and complete these surveys that will help shape the future of nutrition in Canada.

Canada’s Food Guide Consultation (Phase 2)

Food guide cropped consult'n banner N4NN June 2017

Health Canada is revising Canada’s Food Guide to strengthen its recommendations for healthy eating. This is the second round of consultations that is built on what the government heard from 20,000 Canadians who responded to the first round of consultations in 2016.  If you are using healthy eating recommendations for yourself and others you care about, or to help others through your work, we encourage you to complete the survey and join the discussion. This is your chance to weigh in on key issues related to healthy eating and provide input on the new healthy eating recommendations.

http://www.foodguideconsultation.ca/ EXTENDED open till August 14, 2017.

Marketing to Kids

No ads to kids N4NN June 2017
Image Source Health Canada
Health Canada wants to reduce how much advertising children see or hear about unhealthy food and beverages. “This is a complicated subject so before action can be taken, some questions need to be answered, such as what we mean by unhealthy food and what kind of advertising should be allowed. Your ideas and opinions will help Health Canada decide how to go about restricting advertising for unhealthy food and beverages to children. This consultation document is available online between June 10 and EXTENDED till August 14, 2017.”[1]

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/programs/consultation-restricting-unhealthy-food-and-beverage-marketing-to-children.html

[1] Health Canada (2017) Restricting unhealthy food and beverage marketing to children

Canada’s Food Policy

Food Policy N4NN newsletter June 2017

Food matters to Canadians. We “make choices every day about food that directly impacts our health, environment, and communities.” Agriculture Canada would like to help put more affordable, safe, healthy, food on tables across the country, while protecting the environment. This policy will cover the entire food system and you may have heard of the concept as ‘Farm to Fork’. An online survey is now open at www.canada.ca/food-policy and we encourage you to share your views that will help shape Canada’s food policy. Online consultations is open until July 27, 2017

 

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

What’s HOT in chefs’ kitchens? Our Dietitians’ take of TOP Trends.

2017 chef survey resto canada

Restaurants Canada’s 8th annual Canadian Chefs’ survey tells what’s trending now and what the up and comers are as well. Of the 20 chef trends mentioned in the research, here are our TOP 7 favourites  with insights from our food forward health conscious perspective.

  1. Locally sourced foods – eating what’s in season where you live is a terrific way to discover seasonal foods. Local is a perennial favourite of dietitians, chefs and consumers alike.
  2. Sustainable seafood – Eating at least two servings of fish each week is recommended as part of healthy eating for all Canadians. Producing safe, sustainable fish is important for the future of food.
  3. Ancient Grains – Canadians like to explore dishes that showcase authentic food from around the world.  Discover the heritage of ancient grains and try  authentic recipes using kamut, spelt, amaranth and freekeh.
  4. Simplicity / back to basics – Remember family style comfort food meant for sharing? We love the serve-yourself shared dining experience, be it eating out or at home. If you make it yourself  or in-house, you’ll add some authenticity that everyone will appreciate.
  5. Veggie centric cuisune. YAY! Veggies are ON TREND which we find very exciting. Aim to have HALF YOUR PLATE as vegetables. Let’s get creative on making veggies more centre-plate.
  6. Craft beers / microbrews – Alcohol in moderation continues to add enjoyment to meals. Remember to follow Canada’s LOW risk drinking guidelines.
  7. It’s Canada’s 150th Birthday – Let’s celebrate our Canadian food heritage!  Consumers are ready to embrace  this trend. What a great opportunity to boost variety beyond the obvious Canadian foods.

For more foodservice trends and consumer insights, join us at the 10th annual Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists course on April 26, 2017, University of Toronto. Register at www.NutritionForNONNutritionists.com

What’s on new the MENU in Ontario Restaurants? Calorie Labelling!

what's on the menu blog march 2017

Have you noticed the new calorie labelling on Ontario chain restaurant menus? Operators, servers and consumers are coming to grips with the new reality of revealing calories in a serving of food. We are labelling experts who look beyond the fads to deliver reliable food forward advice.  I was honoured to moderate partnership events and engage with stakeholders about the challenges of the new menu labelling in Winter 2017 . Thanks to the leadership of Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals (CAFP), Restaurants Canada and Dietitians of Canada in making these important professional discussions happen. A shout out to fellow dietitian Donna Bottrell who did a terrific job organizing the events, and to Nancy Hewitt President CAFP Toronto for her support.

CAFP lucia moderator event
From left: Donna Bottrell RD, event lead organizer; Nancy Hewitt, CFE, President of the CAFP Toronto Branch; Susan Somerville RD, Dean, Humber College, Jamie Rillet Vice President, Restaurants Canada and Lucia Weiler RD.

Here is a snapshot of what we heard:

  • ‘Medium and small chains are looking for guidance and consistency from the Government.’ Jamie Rilett, Restaurants Canada
  • ‘It’s challenging for a server to explain the calorie range for a serving size. More support and education would be helpful’ K.B.Bose, Shoeless Joe’s
  • ‘There is the nutrient variable to consider and educate about. How to address the fact that milk has more calories than pop but it’s also more nutritious?’ Katie Jessop RD
  • ‘Collaboration is needed between food professionals: chefs, dietitians and nutritionists.  And we are eating foods- not just one food. Food combinations in menus can help create healthier options. Nutrition professionals can assist operators and consumers.’   Lucia Weiler RD
  • ‘A lot of time was spent by Aramark in the initial analysis…they made sure to standardize recipes and then tested and tested which led to a recipe database.’ Karen Williams, Aramark
  • ‘Menu calorie labelling is just the beginning. There is a future importance for all aspects of nutrition and food, especially sustainable processing. Millennial consumers are very conscious about the’ what’ and the ‘how’ of food.’ K.B.Bose, Shoeless Joe’s

For more stakeholder views, participant feedback or restaurant menu labelling guidance please contact us.  We are registered dietitians who love food and our long term vision shapes nutrition and guides the way people eat.  Our expertise in nutrition communication and labelling can help your team formulate unique insights and create menu solutions that both foodservice professionals and consumers can use.

Tummy Troubles & Digestive Woes: What’s causing all this gas*?

gut health 2017

(*Dietitians Of Canada Guest Blog)
It’s a common story. You’re having lunch with friends, and you mention that you’ve been experiencing a health problem. And with that remark, your friend goes into “problem solving mode” by recommending a specific diet or ingredient that they think may help you. Your friend means well, but it’s better to get medical advice from a reputable source to help solve your struggle. Misinformation affects many of my clients, but there is a way to spot your problem and seek reliable facts to solve it. I’m going to walk you through an example of a three-step problem-solving approach that was developed for Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month 2017 campaign Take the Fight out of Food, which works quite well for nutritional concerns.

Let’s call this client Celeste. She’s fighting with an embarrassing problem – excess gas. Her friend recommended a gluten-free diet, but her friend is not a doctor or dietitian, so Celeste was curious about this recommendation. Was it the right one
for her? Let’s use the three-step approach to solve her struggle with gas and bloating.

  1. Spot the problem: Celeste’s problem was that everything she ate seemed to give her gas. Her friend said to stop eating wheat and gluten, but she wasn’t sure if that was the right advice.
  2. Get the facts: After reading a medical website, Celeste was relieved to learn that gas, bloating and burping are all common and can be normal. She found helpful advice by searching the term “gas” on these trusted websites such as those written by Registered Dietitians: www.dietitians.ca  www.healthlinkbc.ca  www.eatrightontario.ca
    She learned that gas, bloating and burping may be caused by swallowed air, medicines, supplements and certain food or drinks. So, maybe she was not properly digesting her daily chickpea salad or one of her supplements is causing the problem?

    But she also noted that gas and bloating could be the sign of a condition, such as lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome or celiac disease. Celeste was unsure of the reason for her symptoms, and read that it’s important not to self-diagnose. She needed the help of her doctor.

    Celeste wants to learn more about her friend’s suggestion to give up gluten in case she has celiac disease, so she visited the Canadian Celiac Association website. She learned that if she needs to be tested for celiac disease, she needs to be eating gluten (a protein found in wheat and other grains) before the test to get accurate results. If she had taken her friend’s advice to remove gluten from her diet, she could get a “false negative” result. Phew! She’s happy that she looked into it before making any changes to her diet. If she does need to go that route, she now knows to work with a Registered Dietitian before eliminating foods, since they can help her plan a balanced diet and ensure she meets nutrient needs.

  3. Seek support: Now Celeste knows not to self-diagnose or rely solely on advice from websites or well-meaning friends. She will talk to her doctor about her symptoms. If necessary she will see a gastroenterologist (digestive health doctor). She can also reach out to a registered dietitian (like me!) to help her figure out which foods may be causing her discomfort.

Do you have a food fight that you struggle with? Try the three-step approach to Take the Fight out of Food and if you want to get the facts from a dietitian, you can find one at www.dietitians.ca/find.

*Guest Blog was contributed by Dietitians of Canada #Nutritionmonth found on the DC Nutrition Month website. Did you know that Dietitians of Canada has led Nutrition Month Campaign for more than 30 years?

 

Is Your Workplace a 4STAR Eating Environment?

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According to a poll by Ipsos Reid, 45% of Canadians say that eating healthy meals and snacks while at work is challenging. A new healthy eating program called 4STAR offers a free tool kit to help improve food and nutrition choices in the workplace.

The 4STAR program aims to improve employee health and productivity, reduce costs and absenteeism associated with diet-related illness, and improve overall organizational performance. The concept and resources of the 4STAR program were led by Dr. Norm Campbell, who is Chair in Hypertension Prevention and Control Initiative, funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada in partnership with the CIHR Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health.

4STAR is built on the S-T-A-R principles which stand for:
– Staff-led policies – staff engagement and leadership is critical for the success of any workplace program
– Targeted, realistic improvements over time – with the aim to ensure that healthier food is available at the workplace for the long term
– Accessibility of healthy foods and beverages options – improved access to fresh fruits and veggies and reduced reliance on processed foods
– Reinforcement through promotional activities, communications and training – to help employees support and embrace the changes in the food environment

A workplace healthy eating program is a process, not an occurrence. Some of the known challenges of implementing such a program include inconsistent definitions of “healthy food”, large portions sizes and the fact that a positive food environment must be supported with employee education for successful behaviour change.

Not only does a healthy eating program improve employee health and productivity, but it also makes dollars and sense. As part of a workplace wellness program, a healthy eating program can save businesses up to four dollars for every one dollar invested.

Here’s what you can do to create a healthy food environment in your workplace:
– Start by taking the 4STAR quiz about healthy eating in your workplace
– Check out the resources from the 4STAR tool kit
Contact us! Dietitian-led workplace wellness initiatives have been shown to help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 60%, lower heart disease risk by lowering blood pressure, and improve healthy eating behaviours like increasing vegetable, fruit and fibre intake. With our experience in workplace wellness programs and healthy eating campaigns, we can help you at all stages from program planning to implementation and evaluation. Our team building workshops and seminars will complement your workplace policies to improve the health and well-being of your employees.