Flavour of the Week


  • Could the Forks vs. Feet debate be over? Unlikely, but new food supply and body weight analysis from 69 countries has found that both body weight and food energy supply (i.e., kcalories available to eat) increased in 81% of countries between 1971 and 2010. In 45 countries, the increase in available calories was enough or more than enough to explain the concurrent increase in body weight.

    In Canada, food energy supply increased by 559 kcalories per person per day between 1971 and 2008. In the USA, it was 768 kcalories per person per day over a similar time period!
  • Are defeated opponents more likely to reach for sweets after a loss? New research from Cornell suggests a negative state of mind influences taste perception. Researchers looked at how emotions arising after college hockey games influenced the perception of sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami. They found foods of a less pleasurable nature (think vegetables) become even more unappealing with defeated emotions whereas preference for sweet taste is greatly enhanced.
  • TGIFLooks like our “safer” plastic alternatives may not be much better than harmful originals. New research out of NYU has found an association between phthalates found in plastic wrap and containers and an increased risk of high blood pressure and diabetes in children and adolescents. Though the research is new, this is the same research group that found original plasticizers were harmful to health.

    What can you do to reduce your exposure? The study authors suggest:

    • not microwaving food in plastic containers or covered by plastic wrap
    • washing plastic food containers by hand instead of putting them in the dishwasher
    • avoid using plastic containers labeled on the bottom with the numbers 3, 6 or 7 (inside the recycle symbol) – this indicates the product contains phthalates
  • If you needed more research to suggest your need to up your veggies and fruits, a large epidemiological study out of Denmark has shown a significant reduction in cardiovascular disease risk based on vegetable and fruit intake. Those with the highest intake of fruit and vegetables had a 15% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 20% lower risk of early death compared with those who very rarely ate fruit and vegetables. Researchers also measured blood levels of vitamin C, which were associated with veggie and fruit intake – those with higher intakes of produce had higher vitamin C levels. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and is also important for building and maintaining connective tissue.
  • Just because you avoid fast food in favour of a sit-down restaurant doesn’t mean you are not over-consuming kcalories. Findings from the University of Illinois suggest consumers get an additional 200 kcalories when they eat away from home rather than preparing their own meal. They also consume more total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium than those who prepare and eat their meals at home.

    Interestingly, the study found that sodium consumption jumped MORE at full-service restaurants than at fast-food establishments (mean intake increase: 412 mg vs. 300 mg).

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