Flavour of the Week


  • Will including nutritional information on menus help combat the obesity epidemic? An evaluation of the effects of menu labeling from one of the first jurisdictions to implement such a policy finds some positive changes. After the policy was implemented, restaurants did decrease the calories, saturated fat and sodium in their food products, and there was a trend towards healthier alternatives in sit-down restaurants. Unfortunately, most of the meals still failed to meet healthy eating recommendations.
  • And restaurants are not the only one’s falling short of recommendations – hospital meals regularly exceed the UL for sodium, containing an average of 3,000 mg of sodium! With greater privatization of food delivery in health care institutions, less in-house food preparation and a greater reliance on processed products, we can’t say we’re surprised…
  • Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSB) are not replacing milk. Sounds promising, but unfortunately a recent study finds that the reverse is also not true. It appears that as milk consumption increases, so does the intake of other beverages (read: consuming extra calories). This is significant as the calories in beverages are often not well recognized by the body. Without proper release of satiety hormones, this can lead to excessive energy intakes and, consequently, obesity.
  • Beyond BMI! We’ve have the ability to measure weight, height and waist circumference, so why not combine them all? Especially when we know the limitations of using BMI as a stand-alone measurement of health. Well, it’s been done and they’re calling it “A Body Shape Index” (ABSI). Ultimately, if you have a high ABSI it means your waist circumference is higher than expected for your height/weight, thus indicative of central obesity. The authors support their formula and conclusions by correlating their new ABSI to risk of death.
  • New estimates suggest that physical inactivity is responsible for over 5 million deaths per year. Take inspiration from the upcoming Olympic Games and get moving!
  • Our usual refrain of “go with food first” does not apply to vitamin D and supplements are likely even more important in those with higher body fat. Researchers suggest that the combination of vitamin D insufficiency (typically identified as serum levels of 25OHD < 50 nmnol/L) and obesity increases risk of diabetes more than either risk factor alone. Why might this be? As a fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin D is stored in adipose tissue and may be “locked away” in those with an abundance of body fat.
  • Doctor’s visits are more frequent in obese individuals than in healthy-body-weight smokers. With rising rates of obesity and its associated conditions like diabetes, pressures on the Canadian health care system will likely continue to worsen.
  • What a difference a week makes! Another new weight loss drug – Qysmia – has been approved for obesity management in the US. For more about this medication and those that have come and gone since 2000, check out Monday’s Flavour of the Week – part 2 of our look at pharmaceutical management of obesity.

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