Flavour of the Week


  • Lots of vitamin D news this week! Good news for those with fibromyalgia – vitamin D supplements may help relieve chronic pain. In those with low vitamin D levels – not uncommon in Northern latitudes – bringing levels up to optimal levels (80 – 100 nmol/L) with an individualized supplement regimen significantly reduced pain. Interestingly, when supplementation was discontinued, pain returned.
    Raising low vitamin D blood levels to a “sufficient” 50 nmol/L may reduce progression of brain lesions and delay relapse in those with multiple sclerosis. Similarly, a recent cross-sectional study has linked higher vitamin D levels with better cognitive performance in those with Parkinson’s disease.
  • TGIFThis should be interesting… Does Canada’s Food Guide promote excess weight gain? That’s the topic of discussion this Wednesday in Ottawa at a debate hosted by the University of Ottawa and Canadian Obesity Network.
  • More research linking diet soda consumption with increased calorie intake. Researchers from Johns Hopkins reviewed NHANES data (flawed – we know) and found that overweight people who reported drinking diet soda consumed more total food calories than overweight individuals who drank regular sugar-sweetened soda. Put down the diet pop!
  • Both of your parents’ body weight at time of conception – not just mom – influences your later risk of obesity and metabolic disorders. In a mouse model, researchers have found neuronal changes in the hypothalamus of offspring born to mothers consuming a high-fat diet, particularly in the third trimester of pregnancy. Given that the hypothalamus plays a key role in regulating metabolism, perhaps this “brain rewiring” may explain why maternal obesity is such a potent risk factor for childhood and adult obesity.

    But don’t forget about dad! In another animal model, offspring born to obese fathers with high-fat diets and diabetes showed altered gene expression in fat and pancreatic tissue. The affected genes included markers of premature aging, obesity, cancer and chronic degenerative disease.
  • Who’s to blame for the obesity epidemic? Sure fast food is an easy scapegoat (and certainly not complicit), BUT in a survey of 800 individuals most respondents placed responsibility on the individual. When asked the question “Who is primarily to blame for the rise in obesity?” and given seven choices – individuals, parents, farmers, food manufacturers, grocery stores, restaurants, and government policies – individuals and parents received the bulk of the “blame”, whereas farmers and grocery stores were least likely to be deemed responsible. Interestingly, farmers and people who receive food stamps were more likely to blame government policy.

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