Last week my colleague Jon Gravel published an article with Maaike DeVries on the website Healthy Debate, arguing that Canada should move to ban trans fats. The article was well written and persuasive, and since it was published using a creative commons licence I have decided to republish it here so that our readers can benefit from it. Enjoy!
On November 7th 2013, the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced their proposed measures “to completely eliminate artificially produced trans fatty acids (TFAs) from the American food supply”. This measure would prevent food manufacturers from selling products containing artificial TFAs. Just as many Americans made their own New Year’s resolutions, their government has proposed quite a respectable one indeed.
There is an overwhelming volume of scientific literature demonstrating that consumption of partially hydrogenated oils (primary source for artificially produced TFAs) adversely affect multiple cardiovascular risk factors. Scientists from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that complete elimination of TFAs could prevent 10,000 to 20,000 coronary events and 3,000 to 7,000 coronary deaths each year in the United States. TFAs are not essential to the human diet, provide no health benefit and their complete elimination from the global food supply has been called for by the World Health Organization (WHO). Continue reading »
Today I am pleased to post the video from last week’s debate titled “Does Canada’s Food Guide Promote Weight Gain?”. The debate featured two heavy hitters: Dr Hasan Hutchinson (Director General of the Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion within the Health Products and Food Branch of Health Canada – the office responsible for the Guide) and Dr Yoni Freedhoff (Medical Director of the Bariatric Medical Institute, and an outspoken critic of the Food Guide).
The debate video was recorded and expertly edited by Mr David Baker, and is available below (email subscribers can view the videos on the blog). You can find out more about David’s production company here. I watched all the videos except the Q&A this afternoon, and both presenters were fantastic. For those interested in seeing how people reacted to the debate in real-time, I have also embeded a Storify of the event, created by Dr Zach Ferraro.
Before watching the videos I was inclined to side with Yoni, and that hasn’t necessarily changed now that I’ve seen the debate. That being said, I think it’s great that Dr Hutchinson was able and willing to promote the Guide in person. One of my personal take-home messages from the debate was that the Guide itself is pretty good; it’s the messaging that sometimes confuses people (e.g with respect to serving sizes, juice intake, chocolate milk, etc). I think that more knowledge translation events like this debate would go a long way to clarifying some of those issues.
The Chapman’s “Sport Lolly” is a popsicle. It calls itself “frozen hydration”. But it is a popsicle.
I hope this goes without saying, but “sport popsicle” is an unnecessary food category. According to the nutritional info on the Chapman’s website, the Wild Berry Blast is nutritionally almost identical to No Name Brand Ice Pops (which I assume most people would regard as dessert, rather than a tool for improving sport performance). They both have 60 kcals, and the Sport Lolly actually contains more sugar (13 grams vs 11 in the Ice Pops). The only difference that I can see (aside from the branding) is that the “electrolyte enhanced” Sport Lolly has 35 mg of sodium, while the No Name Brand Ice Pops have just 20 mg.
I listen to them almost everyday during my walk to/from the lab, while I’m working out, and while I’m making supper. Peter and I have been doing an Obesity Panacea podcast intermittently over the years, and I have always wanted to make it a regular feature. Given that I’ve recently transitioned to a new job and a new city, I thought this would be a good time to make the podcast a more regular feature.
My goal is for the podcast to feature interesting conversations with obesity/health researchers. There are lots of podcasts/shows that interview researchers about specific new findings (e.g. the wonderful Quirks and Quarks). So I’m hoping to instead focus a bit more on the bigger picture; why people were drawn to their area of research, what their research program tells us as a whole (as opposed to focusing only on the latest study), etc. Continue reading »
It is exceptionally rare for me to miss breakfast, and when I do, I am in a prickly mood most of the day, ravenous by mid-morning, and making poor food choices by lunch.
And it’s not just me.
Research has shown that breakfast skippers have an overall poor diet quality and make lousy food choices throughout the day compared with breakfast consumers. Not surprisingly, breakfast skipping is strongly associated with an increased likelihood of weight gain.
Thus, one could argue, breakfast may very well be the most important meal of the day.
While simply having breakfast is great, what you have for breakfast can make a big difference.
Here are the top 3 ways to ensure you get your day off to a good start.
1. Load up on fiber
I’ve previously discussed how having a breakfast high in fiber may be more satiating for a smaller number of calories, and thus may be one important way to help manage hunger and thus caloric intake. I’ve also discussed another study showing that a breakfast high in fiber and with a low glycemic index (the degree to which an ingested food causes a spike in blood glucose levels) may enhance fat oxidation during a subsequent bout of exercise. Continue reading »
Today’s guest post comes from friend and colleague Dr Katya Herman, and describes her recent paper in the journal Preventive Medicine. This study was done using the QUALITY cohort, which is a very useful dataset for studying the relationships between sedentary behaviour/physical activity and health in the pediatric age group (this is the same dataset that we used for my recent paper on the health impact of breaks in sedentary time). You can find more on Katya at the bottom of this post.
Travis Saunders has a PhD in Human Kinetics from the University of Ottawa. His research focuses on the relationship between sedentary time (e.g. sitting) and chronic disease risk in both children and adults. He is also a Certified Exercise Physiologist and competitive distance runner. You can connect with Travis on Twitter and Google+.
Peter Janiszewski has a PhD in clinical exercise physiology. He's a medical writer/editor, a published obesity researcher, university lecturer, and an avid traveler. You can connect with Peter on Twitter. For more information please visit his website.
The opinions expressed here belong only to Peter and Travis and do not reflect the views of any organization. Any medical discussion on this page is intended to be of a general nature only. This page is not designed to give specific medical advice. If you have a medical problem you should consult your own physician for advice specific to your own situation.