Flavour of the Week


  • Youth exposure to food and beverage advertising seems to be levelling off and may even be on the decline according to the Rudd Report on Trends in Television Food Advertising to Young People 2011 Update. Whether this is a result of changing attitudes or if we are just not capable of watching any more TV is questionable. They report that children between the ages of 2-11 years see 12.8 food and beverage adds per day and adolescents see 16.2 food and beverage advertisements per day. Clearly levels still need to decline, but it is good news and hopefully we’ll see the trend continue.
  • Not to harp on the topic but here’s another study suggesting mother’s habits greatly influence their children’s diet quality. Turns out if you want your children to eat healthy foods, it’s best to model healthy habits yourself rather than use force, rewards or punishments.
  • Don’t like to eat your vegetables? It might not be the taste but rather the smell that’s turning you off. New research looks at the relationship between taste and smell suggests we can exploit this relationship to encourage healthy eating.
  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has taken a lot of flack in the media for ending the “cutting the waist” challenge prematurely. We love Dr. Yoni Freedhoff’s take away message: “Look in the mirror before you cast stones. If we’re going to start vilifying people who struggle with lifestyle change we have to be prepared to heap scorn on everyone. We all struggle with lifestyle change.”

  • Dr. Brian Wansink has the most interesting research lab! Dr. Wansink (who wrote Mindless Eating) has shown that inserting “edible stop signs” in food packages, such as red potato chips, may help to curb overeating.
  • The domino effect of bad habits – change one thing and others will follow. First things to change? Get off the couch and eat more fruits and veggies! Research from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine suggest cutting screen time (TV and computer), as well as upping veggies and fruit, are the most effective behaviour changes to stimulate change in other lifestyle areas.
  • Bananas = sport drinks? Consuming 1/2 banana or 1 cup of sport drink every 15 minutes showed no difference in performance when used in a 75 km cycling challenge. The research was funded by Dole and, we assume, the banana group also had some water, but interesting findings.
  • Eat a clean (read: unprocessed), Mediterranean diet for better physical and mental health. Among 11,000 university students in the Canary Islands and Spain, those with higher intake of vegetables, legumes, fruit, nuts, grains and fish reported better perceived well-being in physical and mental health domains.
  • More vitamin D controversy: serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D above 140 nmol/L linked with increased mortality, as were extremely low levels < 10 nmol/L. Optimal levels are generally agreed upon to be 50 – 90 nmol/L, with most experts agreeing that 80 – 90 nmol/L is the ideal range. How does this translate to dietary and supplemental intake? It appears of minimum of 1000 IU per day is needed.

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