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Summer time activities keep love!

Many families are wondering what to do with their children during school breaks especially during Summer. Some parents may already have planned trips to travel overseas, whereas others may find it more challenging since they will be spending most of their time with the children at home. Hence, parents question themselves on what to do with their family to enjoy the Summer breaks.

Today, it is very common to see children spending many hours on video games and eating junk food which in turn is linked to obesity and diabetes (1,2,3). Adults with obesity may have more difficulty losing weight if they were also suffering from childhood obesity compared to adults who just gained weight recently (4). Therefore, it is very important to take into consideration those modifiable risk factors during younger age to help prevent those negative health outcomes in your child’s health.

Firstly, it is very important to enjoy your time with your children outside in the sun. One good idea is to do fruit picking such as apples, strawberries or blueberries. Not only are you bringing nutritious food at home, but you are also being an efficient role model when it comes to provide healthy eating advices to your child. Children tend to consume more fruits and vegetables from parents promoting healthy eating habits versus parents not emphasizing on healthy eating habits at early stage (5). 

Spending time outside in the sun also helps provide some vitamin D which is critical for your child’s growth and bone density. Furthermore, low vitamin D levels  are linked to chronic diseases such as certain cancers, autoimmune diseases, type 2 Diabetes and osteoporosis (6). Hence, doing some nutrition activities in the sun will help benefit both of you and your child’s health for a better outcome.

Many families also enjoy doing barbecue near their pool or even public pools. Involving your children at early age in the kitchen will help strengthen parent-child bond and also encourage them preparing home made food instead of buying food elevated in fat and/or sugar.

Since the school breaks are approaching, why not establish a list of outdoor nutrition activities with your children to enjoy your summer at the fullest and make it also memorable for them!

References:

  1. https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.proxy3.library.mcgill.ca/pubmed/23985186
  2. https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.proxy3.library.mcgill.ca/pubmed/22849438
  3. https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.proxy3.library.mcgill.ca/pubmed/28330444
  4. https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.proxy3.library.mcgill.ca/pubmed/28540434
  5. https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.proxy3.library.mcgill.ca/pubmed/26381609
  6. https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.proxy3.library.mcgill.ca/pubmed/28224090

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Artificial sweeteners and Obesity!

Today, the consumption of low-calorie sweeteners has doubled among US children over the past decade (1). Many people try to substitue sugar table with artificial sweeteners to help improve their weight loss. For some, results can be successful, whereas others may be a little more disappointed after realizing an increase in their body weight instead of an efficient weight loss. 

Artificial sweeteners are known for their benefit of providing zero calories in our diet (2). They can be found in many variety of food and beverages such as soft drinks, chewing gums, jellies, candies, yogurts, ice creams and other food sources. They are often labeled as ‘sugar-free’ or ‘diet’.

Although artificial sweeteners provide zero calories in our diet, carbohydrates (glucose) are still the number one fuel of energy to our brain. When you start eliminating all food sources added with sugar from your diet wether it is sugar table, pops, ice cream, candies or yogurts, your brain gradually starts to crave the real sugar for its preferred source of energy. In the long term, people will have a higher risk of dropping their ‘sugar-free diet’ and in turn, return to their previous eating habits with food rich in real sugar to help compensate with that lack of sugar in their body. Results have shown that sugar sweetened beverages in children and adults contribute to excess energy intake and are linked to weight gain, obesity, diabetes and dental caries (3). Although a tax is added to all sweetened-beverages to help reduce this negative outcome in people’s health, many are still buying them due to the side effect of artificial sweeteners in their body. Another study found that pregnant women who consumed artificial sweeteners during pregnancy had infants with higher BMI (body mass index) and risk of being overweight at 1 year old (4).

In contrast, artificial sweeteners are more suitable for people living with diabetes to help regulate their blood sugar level in the normal range (2). Despite the dietary recommendation of adding artificial sweeteners in their food and beverages, people living with diabetes are still recommended to consume carbohydrates in their diet to help normalize their blood sugar level, especially with the use of medication for diabetes.

Weight loss does not only require healthy eating habits, but also to develop mindful eating strategies to overcome food cravings and increase our awareness in our food environment. If you feel that you are struggling with your body weight and body image, contact your SNC’s Registered dietitian today and get the help you need for a better lifestyle, especially to establish a more peaceful relationship with food. Remember to enjoy your food with pleasure everyone. -SNC-

 References:

  1. https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.proxy3.library.mcgill.ca/pubmed/22854409
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/artificial-sweeteners/art-20046936?pg=1
  3. https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.proxy3.library.mcgill.ca/pubmed/28208034
  4. https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.proxy3.library.mcgill.ca/pubmed/28179381

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Travelling and Food choices!

Summertime is coming and people are slowly preparing for the vacations. Many enjoy being in a warm environment, seeing friends and/or families and also tasting cultural cuisine. Some people bring back beautiful souvenirs, whereas others come back a bit more disappointed due to accumulated weight gain during their travel.

Now many wonder how is then possible not to gain weight while travelling. It is very simple! Firstly, I always tell my clients to mainly enjoy their vacation as much as they can by discovering new cultures and especially, trying to make healthier food choices. For some, this may sound very reasonable, while for others, it may be a little bit more complicated. 

Alcohol is actually one of the main factors contributing to weight gain while travelling. Furthermore, 4 to 5 million Canadians engage in excessive alcohol drinking also known as ‘binge drinking’ (1). Excessive alcohol intake is also linked with higher risk of liver disease, car accidents, verbal abuse and sexual impotence (1,2,3). The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse recommends for men and women not to exceed three and two glasses of alcohol daily, respectively, with one more drink on special occasions to help reduce the risk of injury and harm (4). Hence, it is strongly recommended to limit your alcohol intake to help prevent weight gain. Alternatively, carrying a bottle of water will help keep you hydrated and also increase your satiety during your vacation.

Next, I always recommend to enjoy cultural meals by choosing healthier options. If you are travelling to a warm or south country, take the opportunity to choose the plenty of seafoods or fatty fishes (none fried) available due to their elevated amount in omega 3 (essential fatty acids) which are beneficial for our cognitive functions, heart conditions, brain development including depression symptoms (5,6).

If you are also travelling during the summer period, enjoy the sun since your vitamin D level gets mostly synthesised from it compared to the Canadian winter limited in sun exposure (7). Studies also suggest that low levels of vitamin D are associated with obesity seen in children. 

While travelling, always remember to enjoy your trip with your family, friends or even by yourself by exploring the new communities and be curious about the cultural cuisine. Since the summer is approaching, prepare yourself to make healthier food choices for a better lifestyle by making every day a sunny day! –SNC-

References:

  1. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/alc/index-eng.php
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28414020
  3. https://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Alcohol-and-smoking/Alcohol-and-Nutrition.aspx
  4. http://www.cclt.ca/Eng/topics/alcohol/drinking-guidelines/Pages/default.aspx
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28410668
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28289069
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5379647/

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When Chocolate can become a Trigger!

Not only does chocolate taste good, but it is also consumed on special occasions! Chocolate or ‘cacao’ is one of the most richest food elevated in ‘flavonoids’ from other antioxydant substances which are beneficial for heart diseases, hypertension and even cognitive functions (1,2).

Despite the variety of chocolate around the world, dark chocolate has the highest content of flavonoids (3). In contrast, milk chocolate has a smaller content of flavonoids and is richer in cocoa butter, whereas white chocolate is only composed of cocoa butter.

Results have shown beneficial side effects from a moderate chocolate consumption in heart failures on Swedish men, but no effect from more than one consumption a day (4). On the other hand, a higher consumption of flavonoids can lead to acne problem compared to other sweets with no flavonoids seen in adolescents (5). Another study showed that obese adults are more sensitive by high-calorie foods such as chocolate compared to healthier foods available with little effect on their behavior (6).

Nowadays, chocolate is also categorized as a comfort food, especially due to stress or negative emotions. In the long term, chocolate can become a trigger for some people making it more difficult to develop healthier eating habits.

Contact your SNC’s Registered Dietitian in Montreal and learn how to develop Mindful Eating strategies for healthier eating habits. Remember to eat your chocolate with pleasure and in moderation for a better lifestyle! -SNC-

References:

  1. https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.proxy.bib.uottawa.ca/pubmed/28356040 
  2. https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.proxy.bib.uottawa.ca/pubmed/27163823
  3. http://www.passeportsante.net/fr/Nutrition/EncyclopedieAliments/Fiche.aspx?doc=chocolat_nu
  4. https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.proxy.bib.uottawa.ca/pubmed/27979037
  5. https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.proxy.bib.uottawa.ca/pubmed/27317522 
  6. https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.proxy.bib.uottawa.ca/pubmed/28450844 

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