Tag Archives: Lucia Weiler

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

pennutrition back to school 2017 DHSN1OYXsAAiJZp
(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.

Sugar Sugar Everywhere – What’s healthy to eat?

sugar meter N4NN 2017

Sugar, especially added sugar has been under fire for its association with health issues including heart disease, diabetes, dental cavities and obesity. Added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages. The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends limiting added sugars to a maximum of 10% of total calories in a day. For an average 2,000 calorie diet, 10% is about 48 grams or 12 teaspoons of added sugars a day.  Health Canada has set the % Daily Value (%DV) at 100 grams for total sugars per day which includes all added sugars plus naturally occurring sugars.

Here’s our expert dietitian advice:

1. Read the Nutrition Facts table.
Foods with 5 grams or less sugar per serving would be considered to have “a little” sugar whereas foods with 15 grams or more sugar per serving would be considered to have “a lot” of sugar.

2. Read the ingredients list.
Look for ingredients that indicate sugar  such as molasses, agave, fruit juice concentrate, honey, syrup, or end in ‘ose’ (e.g. dextrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, sucrose). By 2021, different sugars will be shown individually and grouped together as “Sugars”.

3. Look at the whole food.
Natural or added sugars are still sugars & contain 4 calories per gram. Just because a food has little or no sugar doesn’t mean that it is a healthy or nutritious choice. Choose wholesome, foods for maximum overall nutrition.

Questions? Contact us 
to discuss how the new sugar labelling laws impact your health and wellness or business communication.

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 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.

Dare to Compare… Ice cream vs Gelato

gelato ice cream 2016 June

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

[1] Dietitians of Canada, Food Sources of Lactose (2013)
[2] Health Canada, Canadian Nutrient File Vanilla Ice Cream Food Code # 4158
[3] Vanilla Gelato Nutrition Facts Label