Flavour of the Week


  • More evidence against eating for two! Modest caloric restriction and exercise are effective and safe for obese women during pregnancy, helping to reduce excessive weight gain and risk of preterm births, gestational diabetes and hypertension.
  • TGIFAnd if risk of preterm birth wasn’t enough, new evidence suggests fetuses born to obese mothers exhibit abnormal brain development, including altered gene expression and decreased apoptosis (programmed cell death).
  • In women taking folic acid supplements from 4-weeks pre-conception to 8-weeks gestation, risk of childhood autism was half of those not taking folic acid or starting later in pregnancy. While only associative data, interesting that adequate folic acid may do more than just prevent neural tube defects. Our opinion? Just like we were taught in undergrad, all women of child-bearing age, regardless of their intention to get pregnant, should be taking 400 mcg supplemental folic acid *just in case*; not-coincidentally, most women’s formulations of multivitamin-minerals have just this dose.
  • In an updated Cochrane Review, authors conclude that vitamin C supplementation seems to reduce risk of the common cold and its duration, though these beneficial effects are only significant for those undergoing significant physical stress, like elite-level athletes and soldiers. And you don’t need a Linus Pauling-esque dose or intravenous vitamin C – oral supplementation of 1,000 mg per day seems to do the trick and is within the current DRIs for all healthy people.
  • Now more data on calcium intake and disease risk in older women. A longitudinal study out of Sweden (read: correlation, not causation) links both low (< 600 mg per day) and high (> 1,400 mg per day) calcium intakes with greater risk of all-cause death; those with high intakes due to supplements had the highest risk of CVD and death. Our advice? Always go with food first and avoid excessive supplement use. Not sure how much calcium is in different foods? Here’s a short list from the National Institute of Health, and a huge list from the USDA, ordered from most to least.
  • Wondering about Wheat Belly, a New York Times Bestseller about wheat and health? We bought an e-version BUT only because it was 25 cents. We didn’t get through it but Yoni Feedhoff did; check out his book review. If you are strapped for time – there’s not much to the premise; skip the book and know that eating wheat-free is going to solve all of your problems. Avoid wheat if you have a medical reason to do so, otherwise there are plenty of other established health hazards higher up on the list.
  • Do vitamin supplements contain the doses the claim? Possibly not according to a report in the Globe and Mail based on a US study published in JAMA Internal Medicine! They found considerable variation in the potency of vitamin D supplements.  The Globe also interviewed an executive of a Canadian supplement manufacturer who admitted that the same may be happening here at home.

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