Watch the video!
For those of you who didn't see the Dragons' Den episode from last night. (Warning: have tissues close by, as you may tear up). These children are unbelievable and congratulations to Dietitian Jesse Jollymore!
Watch the video!
You have likely heard the news by now about Sun-Rype Fruit Bites and the Health Check Symbol. Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, medical director of the Bariatric Medical Institute in Ottawa uses social media to show the public his opinions on many products used by Canadian families. This week he launched a YouTube challenge against the Health Check program's nutritional stamp of approval on SunRype Fruit Source Bites comparing them to a Twix bar!
I often watch and share the YouTube videos that Dr. Freedhoff posts and agree wholeheartedly with him but in this case I would like to discuss a few things that bother me. I will start by saying that Dr. Freedhoff did not state any facts in this video that aren’t true. Seventeen pieces of Sun-Rype Fruit Bytes do indeed contain 23g of sugar, 2g of fibre and 210mg of pottasium.
My issues are more with the facts Dr. Freedhoff left out of his video. First he makes light of the Sun-Rype label stating that these products are a source of potassium and fibre. As you can see below, the company is following the labeling regulations set out by Health Canada. A food that contains 2g or more of fibre can claim “source of fibre” and a product that contains at least 200mg of potassium can claim “source of potassium.
Secondly Dr. Freedhoff only discusses the nutrition facts table without making reference to the ingredients list which can mislead viewers as to where the sugar in the product comes from. The ingredients for the Mixed Berry Bites are listed below.
Mixed Berry Ingredients
Apple puree concentrate, apple and elderberry juice concentrates, wildberry concentrate (concentrated cherry, raspberry, blueberry, cranberry and boysenberry juices, natural flavour), citrus pectin, natural flavour, lemon juice concentrate, apple powder.
As you can see these snacks are indeed made from real fruit with no added sugars. A far cry from most “gummies”, such as Ocean Spray Fruit Shaped Gummies which include both corn syrup and sugar in their ingredients list.
Thirdly Dr. Freedhoff compares these snacks to a Twix bar by stating that children are getting the same amount of sugar in a serving of these as they do in a Twix bar. I don’t this is a fair comparison. Twix bars do contain a comparable 24gram of sugar but it is all added sugar along with ingredients like palm oil and 250cal vs. 100cal in the Fruit Bites.
Since Sun-Rype Fruit Source Bites claim to be equivalent to two fruit servings I feel a better comparison would have been to piece of fruit, not a Twix bar!! Since the first ingredient in Fruit Bites is apple puree I thought I would compare the Fruit Bites nutrition facts to an average size apple.
As you can see the Sun-Rype Fruit Bites and the apple are comparable in calories. However, the fruit bites are higher in sugar at 23grams versus 19grams in the apple (a difference of 1 teaspoon) and lower in fibre than the apple at 2grams vs. 4.4grams. After looking at this comparison I think that Sun-Rype should only be claiming that a serving of fruit bites contains the "equivalent" of one serving of fruit not two.
As a Dietitian am I appalled that Sun-Rype Fruit Bites bear the Heart and Stroke Health Check?
The answer is No!
If these can not bear the Health Check Symbol neither should 100% fruit juice!! Much like 100% fruit juice is the best choice when buying a juice, 100% fruit gummies are the best choice if you are going to buy gummies. As Dietitians we always encourage to eat whole fruit rather than drink juice and these gummies fall in the same category. The Health Check is designed to guide people in making better decisions, but people need to take responsibility for what they purchase. If I had children these Fruit Bites would not be used instead of fruit but would be a great alternative to candy. Why not give your kids the 2-3 servings of whole fruit they require daily and keep these on hand as a treat. In fact, maybe you can trade some of their Halloween candy that is full of artificial flavours and colors for these 100% real fruit TREATS!
As I was driving to work with the radio on this morning the announcers started discussing the latest diet trend...adding butter to your morning coffee. I had to listen closely because I couldn't possibly have heard that correctly. The idea of adding butter to my coffee grosses me out (although I do like both coffee and butter) and it has been on my mind all day. Those of you who know me are very aware that it doesn't take much more than a nagging thought to get me started on a nutrition related rant so I decided to do a little digging and share my findings with you.
After a quick Google search of "butter in coffee diet" I came up with the following "facts". This trend is called The Bulletproof Diet and is essentially based on following a paleo diet with the addition of Bulletproof coffee for breakfast. Bulletproof coffee to put it simply is coffee with butter and coconut oil added to it. Here's the catch- the author claims you should use "good coffee", special butter and MCT oil rather than coconut oil. He has created and sells his own version of coffee and MCT oil that he claims can promote brain function, memory and energy levels, as well as serve as a massive source of antioxidants and is associated with all sorts of positive health outcomes.
The author on the website goes on to claim that with this diet you can "lose up to 100lbs of belly fat with minimal exercise", "upgrade your IQ by more than 20pts", "get healthier by sleeping less than 4hrs per night", and "learn to be perfectly focused in any situation- in one week". These are just a few of the claims on the site and lets just say that they are pretty big claims. So I decided to do some research into the author's credentials
The website states that his name is David Asprey and he calls himself the Biohacker (if you have never heard of biohacking check out wikipedia....it's actually quite scary) he is a "Silicon Valley investor, computer security expert, and entrepreneur who spent 15 years and $250,000 to hack his own biology. He upgraded his brain by >20 IQ points, lowered his biological age, and lost 100 lbs without using calories or exercise." All that tells me is that this guy supposedly spent a ridiculous amount of money to come up with a scam to waste people's money on yet another diet. Digging a little further I can not find anywhere that this man has any medical or nutrition education to back his claims, he is an invester and computer expert (oh and a millionaire at the age of 26!).
David supposedly invented Bulletproof coffee after learning about the power of butter at 18,000 feet elevation near Mt. Kailash in Tibet when he staggered into a guest house from the -10 degree weather and was literally rejuvenated by a creamy cup of yak butter tea. Yak butter tea has a total of 2T of butter in an entire pot and is hiking in Tibet really considered minimal exercise??
This picture from the website looks to be David hiking in Tibet...shouldn't he be 100lbs heavier??
So now that I have determined from the very vague details on the website that this guy has no right to be pushing any sort of dietary advice let alone the advice he gives on mind, body, sleep and sex (that's right he even talks about Bulletproof Sex!) it's time to look at the diet.
The recipe for Bulletproof Coffee is as follows:
1 Tablespoon of butter contains 100 calories and 14.2 grams of fat while a tablespoon of Bulletproof MCT oil contains 128cal and 14.2g of fat. David likes his coffee with 6T of butter and 2T of oil bringing the grand total of his morning coffee to 968 calories and 94.4g of fat. The average man needs 1800-2000 calories and 60-90g of fat for weight loss while the average woman needs 1500-1800 calories and 40-60g of fat for weight loss. I will let you do the math!
The Bulletproof diet consists of drinking Bulletproof Coffee, eliminating sugar, dairy, gluten, synthetic additives and legumes, while eating raw or barely cooked organic vegetables no more than two servings of organic fruit and excessive amounts of grass fed protein. Like I mentioned at the beginning this diet is nothing new, it is simply another version of the paleo diet (Christina Warinner has already Debunked the Paleo Diet so I will save my rant on that topic.)
I have no aversion to coffee, butter, coconut oil or any other foods endorsed by the Bulletproof diet, and certainly no issue with removing synthetic additives and other processed foods. However, do you actually believe that Cavemen ate butter and coffee? and do you think they just sat around all day at a desk or watching TV? We are not cavemen folks, stop trying to eat like one!
It’s Nutrition and this year’s theme is Best Food Forward: Plan Shop Cook Enjoy!
Healthy eating starts with the choices you make at the grocery store. Selecting healthy ingredients that are easy to prepare makes healthy eating a breeze. Here are some practical tips help you put healthy food on the table!
Make a List
You can save time and money by writing down the things you need to buy. Look through the flyers for deals and stock up on necessary items while they are on sale. Wandering the aisles is time consuming and you often get home with a cart load of things you don’t need and have to go back to the store for the items you do. Staying focused on the list may also keep you from wandering down the treat aisle!
Don’t Shop Hungry
An empty stomach is always bound to lead to a cart full of unnecessary snacks and drinks!
Shop the perimeter
Start in the produce aisle and stock up on seasonal vegetables, then move on to the bakery and grab some whole grains, next the meat department where you can pick out lean cuts of meat, then wander on to pick up eggs and dairy. Up next is the freezer where you can grab some frozen veggies- they are always good to have on hand! Now head through the aisles and pick up the things you need to stock up on like cereal, canned legumes/vegetables, cooking oils, flour etc. Always check for products that have whole grains, no added salt and are limited in added sugars.
It is important to know how to read a label and any Dietitian can teach you. Start by reading the ingredient list- you should be able to pronounce the words! Now check the serving size on the nutrition facts label and find products without excessive amounts of calorie, fat, sugar, or sodium.
Save money, skip the meat
Protein is important at meals and snacks but meat can get expensive. Try meatless meals a few times a week by substituting with eggs, lentils, beans, chickpeas or other legumes. Canned legumes are convenient; you can purchase them without added salt or rinse regular canned versions.
Ask for help
Dietitians are regulated care health professionals trained to give you the best advice about food and nutrition. Ask a Dietitian to take you on a tour of your local grocery store and help take the guesswork out of healthy eating!
Take a cooking class
Many grocery stores offer healthy cooking classes with great tips and ideas for preparing healthy meals. Purchasing a healthy cookbook or searching for healthy recipes on the internet can also be a great tool.
Nutrition Month is a great time to get motivated and start making small maintainable changes to your eating habits. The best place to start is right at the grocery store.
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. According to the Canadian Diabetes Association more than 9 million Canadians are living with diabetes or prediabetes. In my experience with counseling clients who have been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes there is a lot of confusion around what diabetes is, how it is caused and how to treat it. I have seen everything from the people who choose to ignore the disease to those who go to the extreme trying to manage it. Let’s set the facts straight on Diabetes!
To put it simply diabetes is a disease in which the body does not make or properly use insulin. It is not caused by eating too many sweets or drinking excessive amounts of sugary drinks. Instead, it is a complex disease with many risk factors including but not limited to: age, ethnicity, weight status and family history. Diabetes is often dubbed as a “silent killer”, because many people don’t feel sick. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to severe complications including: heart disease, kidney disease, eye disease, nerve damage and erectile dysfunction.
What is insulin?
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that controls the amount of sugar in our bloodstream.
In a person without diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes- occurs when the body produces little or no insulin; it is often diagnosed in adolescents but can occur at any age. A person with Type 1 Diabetes therefore requires insulin or is “insulin dependant”. 10% of diabetics have Type 1 Diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes- is a progressive disease that occurs when the body is unable to use the insulin produced. It is often diagnosed in adults, but as childhood obesity becomes more prominent so does the diagnoses of Type 2 Diabetes in children. A person in the early stages of Type 2 Diabetes can often manage their blood sugar through diet, exercise and weight loss. As the disease progresses there are many different types of medications and insulin to help manage blood sugars. 90% of diabetics have Type 2 diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes- is a temporary condition in which blood sugars are impaired during pregnancy. If left untreated, high blood sugars can lead to complications during pregnancy including: birth defects, increased risk of miscarriage, high birth weight, pre-term delivery, respiratory distress syndrome, hypoglycemia and jaundice. Approximately two to four percent of pregnancies are affected by gestational diabetes, putting both the mother and child at higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life.
What is Prediabetes?
A normal fasting blood sugar ranges between 4.0-6.0mmol/L. Diabetes is diagnosed when a fasting blood sugar is 7.0mmol/L or greater. If fasting blood sugar is running between 6.1 and 6.9mmol/L a diagnosis of prediabetes is made. At this point a healthy diet and exercise are prescribed to help manage blood sugars. Many people who are diagnosed with prediabetes go on to develop Type 2 Diabetes.
How can a healthy diet and exercise help treat diabetes?
If people with diabetes are overweight, a modest weight loss of five to ten percent of your body weight results in a significant improvement in blood sugars. A healthy diet along with at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week is recommended.
Healthy eating for diabetes is no different than healthy eating for people without diabetes. Eating 3 balanced meals per day every 4-6hours plus a healthy bedtime snack will help keep your sugars under control. Limit sweets to special occasions and keep the portion size small. Fill half of your plate with non starchy vegetables, ¼ of your plate with grains or starches and ¼ of your plate with protein. A bedtime snack with 1 serving of starch and 1 serving of protein (such as: 4 whole grain crackers and 1oz of cheese) will prevent the liver from overproducing sugar while you sleep; resulting in lower morning blood sugars. If your schedule makes it hard to fit meals in at regular times just remember to eat a healthy meal or snack every 4-6hours while you are awake. A registered Dietitian can help you get on the right track!
When should you test blood sugar?
If your doctor has provided you with a glucometer you need to know what numbers to aim for. When testing your blood sugars first thing in the morning or before meals you should aim for a fasting blood sugar of less than 7.0mmol/L. It is also important to know if your sugars are staying too high after you eat. You can monitor this by testing your sugar 2 hours after a meal and aiming for a result of 10.0mmol/L or less. If you are not on certain medications or insulin there is no need to test daily. Try testing before and 2hours after the same meal a few times a week (alternate between breakfast, lunch and supper). If you are not reaching these targets consistently you should talk to your healthcare team.
Although testing your sugars at home helps to monitor your diabetes, it is still important to get regular blood work done. Every 3-6 months you should have your fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1C tested. Hemoglobin A1C measures your average blood sugar over a three month period and should be less than 7.0%. On a yearly basis you should have complete blood work to monitor your cholesterol, kidneys, thyroid, and urine. This is also a good time to have your home glucose meter tested for accuracy. It is also important to tell both your dentist and eye doctor that you have diabetes and make regular visits.
Diabetes is a disease that you can take control of! Start by choosing a healthy lifestyle, maintaining a healthy body weight and taking any medications (if prescribed) on a proper schedule. If you would like to learn more about diabetes, visit the Canadian Diabetes Association Website at www.diabetes.ca.
Summer is almost officially here which means shorts, tank tops and bathing suits. This is the time of year when we all like to look our best for summer fun at the beach, parties and barbecues. However, many of us start diving into copious amounts of tempting food and beverages instead. This summer why not stick close to your healthy eating and exercise routine. It may take a bit of work but you can barbecue healthy foods instead of high fat greasy foods and there are tons of fresh fruits and vegetable to choose from. Thinking about that bathing suit may get you motivated but don’t let that motivation start to wane by keeping these 5 things in mind.
1. Hungry or Bored?? Before you reach for that unnecessary treat ask yourself if you are hungry or bored. Try brushing your teeth and entertaining yourself for 20minutes by going for a walk or dancing to your favorite song. (This is also a great opportunity to put in a load of laundry or do the dishes). If you are still hungry after 20 minutes then prepare yourself something healthy to munch on. This will keep you from taking in extra calories due to feelings of boredom, insecurity, fear or cravings.
2. Toss the Junk. Everyone knows their vices! If you can’t stay away from chocolate, potato chips or ice cream, keep them out of the house! I always tell my clients if they really want a treat they can take a walk to the nearest store and pick a single serving of their favorite treat. Many people admit they don’t feel tempted if the food isn’t in the house.
3. Drink Up! Believe it or not, the first sign of thirst is hunger. If you are not properly hydrated you may be eating extra calories when all your body requires is a glass of water. If your aren’t a fan of plain water, try adding sliced citrus fruit, a handful of berries or even slices of cucumber for flavour. For a nice refreshing beverage brew your favorite herbal tea and pour over ice.
4. Think Positive. Plan ahead and quit making excuses. “I don’t have time to cook a meal.” “I don’t have time to work out.” Do these phrases sound familiar? If you plan healthy eating and activity into your day then you won’t have a reason to skip your workout or pick up take-out.
5. Plan for emergencies. Make sure you always have healthy portable snacks on hand such as fruit leather, 100cal granola bars, yogurt, and cut up fruits and veggies. There is a good chance that on certain days you’ll be running behind and won’t have time to make a healthy, nutritious meal; so plan for it!
I consider myself lucky…when my head hits the pillow it is just moments before I am off to dreamland. Unfortunately, over 3 million Canadians are not so lucky and suffer from insomnia. People with insomnia have one or more of the following symptoms: difficulty falling or remaining asleep, waking up too early or non-restorative sleep. It is hard to pin point why people have trouble sleeping due to many contributing factors including: dietary habits, activity levels, weight status, stress, chronic disease/pain, and alcohol/drug use just to name a few. Before you reach for those sleeping pills, you may want to take a look at your lifestyle.
Eat Well and Play Well
Proper diet and exercise lowers stress, prevents chronic disease, increases your energy levels and helps you achieve or maintain a healthy body weight. Here are some tips for healthy living:
Many people are afraid they will gain weight if they eat a night snack. In fact, weight gain is caused by consuming more calories than you are burning throughout the day. As long as you are not exceeding your caloric needs, you can eat a healthy bedtime snack and still maintain a healthy weight. The best night snack consists of protein and carbohydrate and this may explain why!
Protein rich foods such as meat, nuts and dairy contain small amounts of tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that plays a role in the brains production of the sleep agents, serotonin and melatonin. When protein is eaten with carbohydrates the tryptophan is transferred across the blood brain barrier, making it available to be converted into serotonin and melatonin. Therefore, a small night snack such as 3-4 crackers and 1oz of cheese, 3/4cup of cereal with milk or 1 slice of toast with peanut butter may help you achieve a better nights rest!
Welcome to Nutrition Month!! Each year in March, Dietitians work together and make a special effort to promote the importance of healthy eating and nutrition; while focusing on a theme. This year’s theme is an exciting one, “Get the Real Deal on Your Meal”; we are striving to bust common nutrition myths.
“You should avoid carbs if you want to lose weight”
Although low carbohydrate diets may help you lose weight fast, it is not a long-term solution. Low carb diets are hard to stick to, due to the foods they restrict. This puts you at a high risk for failure, and you are likely to gain back the weight you have lost (and sometimes more!). Carbohydrates are your body’s number one source of energy. By cutting them out, or drastically cutting them back, you are missing out on sources of energy and important nutrients including fibre and B vitamins.
To lose weight and keep it off, choose a balanced diet including a variety of healthy carbohydrates (fruits, starchy vegetables, legumes and whole grains). Eat regular meals and follow the plate method – ½ Vegetables (low carb), ¼ grains/starches and ¼ protein. Last but not least...don’t forget to exercise!!
“Late night snacking leads to weight gain”
Weight gain is the result of taking in more calories than you are burning in the run of a day. The reason many people lose weight when they stop eating at night is because they are cutting out high fat, high calorie foods including chips, high fat popcorn and pop. These late night offenders tend to be people who skip meals throughout the day, and therefore overindulge at suppertime, followed by an uncontrolled urge to eat until bedtime. After being neglected all day our bodies are starving for nutrition, and this causes us to give in to the “junk foods” we all love. We are designed to eat regular balanced meals, and should never go longer than 6 hours (during your waking hours) without food. In fact, a small healthy bedtime snack (ideally consisting of protein and carbohydrate) can help keep your blood sugars stable and give you a better nights rest.
“Processed foods have no place in a healthy diet”
Many processed foods are high in fat, salt and sugar and should only be consumed in moderation. However, there are many processed foods that make preparing healthy meals and snacks less stressful and time consuming. The important thing is to read labels, and stock your pantry with healthy choices including: whole wheat pasta and brown rice (try brown Basmati, you will love it!), low-sodium canned meats and fish, salt free canned vegetables, frozen vegetables, and more. If label reading confuses you, consult a Dietitian for a label reading session or grocery store tour, and set the record straight!
This Nutrition Month help Dietitians spread the truth about your food by busting myths with your family and friends. Nutrition can be confusing, if you need help sifting through the facts, remember that Dietitians are your number one source for trusted nutrition information.
Cold temperatures and snowstorms can give us all the winter blues. As a result we often turn to comfort foods that warm us up and bring a smile to our face. Comfort foods are different for everyone; they can range from main dishes like stew or macaroni & cheese to warm desserts like blueberry crisp or hot apple pie. Unfortunately, many “comfort foods” are culprits for being high in fat, calories and sodium; but don’t give up on the recipes your Grandma used to make just yet. With just a few substitutions, many of your favourite recipes can be modified so you can enjoy them guilt free!
My go-to comfort food is a nice hot bowl of baked macaroni and cheese. However, just one cup of traditional baked Mac & Cheese can pack in 836 calories, 53g of fat and 896mg of sodium. The only thing that will comfort is my waistline! Instead, check out this recipe that has been modified to provide just 416 calories, 13.4grams of fat and 551mg of sodium per 1 cup serving. Serve 1 cup along with a side salad or steamed vegetables for a well balanced meal.
Old Fashioned Baked Macaroni and Cheese
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/3 cups homemade or low sodium chicken stock
1 ¼ cups low fat milk
1 ¼ cups light cheddar cheese
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp Dijon mustard
4 cups (cooked) whole wheat elbow macaroni
1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp canola oil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.