- We thought we were making progress on obesity rates but discouraging data suggests that the average waist circumference (perhaps a better indicator of health than BMI or weight) has increased between 1999 and 2012, at least among US adults. It is still unclear why waist circumferences is increasing beyond what would be expected from the BMI data; however, some suggestions include: lack of sleep, hormonal imbalances, and certain medications. Regardless, it certainly makes the case for including waist circumference as part of a general health check-up and highlights the concerns with focusing solely on weight or BMI as indicators of health.
- Your sweet tooth doesn’t know what’s good for it! It has been suggested that “free sugars” should make-up no more than 3% of total energy intakes in order to reduce tooth decay. Free sugars are defined by the World Health Organization as “monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates.” This recommendation is lower than the current 5%, which was a reduction from 10%. We don’t argue with the evidence but the reality suggest that society is going to need drastic changes in order to get anywhere near this recommendation. Current estimates are that the average Canadian consumes 21% of their total calories from sugar. Importantly, that estimate includes all forms of sugar, not just free sugar BUT fruit juices, soft drinks, fruit drinks and confectionery items ranked high on this list of sources of sugar intake. For the full data set you can check out Health Canada’s Report.
- Parents, please persist – with the veggies and fruits that is! Infants who consume greater amounts of vegetables and fruits are more likely to eat these foods as the get older. If at first you can’t succeed try and try again (and then seven more times). Research suggest babies may need to be exposed to new foods at least 10 times before they will “learn” to like it. They also find that breastfeeding can increase fruit and vegetable intake.
- The role of milk and milk products in weight-loss remains controversial; and indeed many question their importance in the diet. As always, arguments can be made for and against. On the “for” side, researchers found that diary consumption was correlated with improved metabolic health in French-Canadians (thank goodness, you can’t take butter and cheese from the French!). This particular study suggests that the benefits may be due to a natural form of trans-fat found in dairy called trans-palmitoleic acid. They found dairy intake was associated with lower blood glucose and lower blood pressure. The study is limited however, in that it looks at associations between dietary intakes and metabolic risk factors in a cross-sectional manner and cannot be used to determine cause and effect.
- What it’s like to live with an eating disorder – a brief insight into the “self-talk” and mental cycle of someone living with an eating disorder.