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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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Coffee and health benefits!

Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverage around the world, especially among American adults (1). Around 70 countries produce coffee making Brazil and Colombia the biggest producers worldwide (2). Canadians drink more than 15 billion of coffee cups annually (2).

Not only that coffee tastes good and stimulates us in the morning, it is also rich in antioxidant such as ‘phenolic compound’ that helps prevent chronic diseases such as cancers, liver conditions and heart diseases. Although results can be conflicting for heart diseases, the American Heart Association mentions that moderate coffee drinking (1-2 cups daily) does not seem to be harmful (3). Coffee also seems to have a positive effect on normalizing blood sugar levels in people living with Diabetes (2). Results have shown that more than 6 cups of coffee a day can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by about 35% compared to less than to 2 cups daily.

But be careful here! Coffee has to be taken in moderation despite the beneficial effects in our body. More precisely, it is recommended not to exceed more than 450 mg daily which is equivalent to 3-4 cups and which Health Canada also considers a safe amount for daily consumption. Excessive coffee intake can increase the risk of hypertension, irritability, nervousness, hyperactivity and lead to dehydration (2,3,4).

Results also showed that 67,5% of Americans consume coffee with caloric adds-in such as sugar, milk and cream that can also increase our daily energy intake and in turn, weight gain.

On the other hand, coffee can be an excellent booster on sport performance for athletic people since it reduces fatigue and increases endurance (2).

There are many varieties of coffee around the world and each will bring its own unique taste! Coffee in moderation is good for a healthy living! –SNC-

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Consumption+of+coffee+and+tea+with+add-ins+in+relation+to+daily+energy%2C+sugar%2C+and+fat+intake+in+US+adults%2C+2001–2012
  2. http://www.passeportsante.net/fr/Nutrition/EncyclopedieAliments/Fiche.aspx?doc=cafe_nu
  3. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Caffeine-and-Heart-Disease_UCM_305888_Article.jsp#.WP1xv1J7Tow
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27274416

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The benefits of Warm-Season and buying local Food!

In Canada and some parts of the US, the Winter season can be a hassle for some people. Hence, many people prefer to stay home warm due to the cold weather. Nothing wrong with that! However, staying home for some during this cold period may be very stressful and making them gain weight up to 10 pounds, especially during the holidays (1)!

Here is the good news: Take the advantage of the warm-season to buy local food for a better lifestyle! Firstly, it will allow you to break the isolation of being home and in turn, benefit you to go outside on a warm weather. Secondly, buying local food near your home can also be another distraction to reduce food cravings while you are home. 

Another benefit of buying local food is that they are much fresher and tastier than many foods found in grocery stores (2). This will save you a lot of money, support local farmers and even preserve local farms!

Since the warm-seasons are getting closer, why not break the isolation of being at home and getting outside to choose local food. Remember, eating healthy is a combination of being happy and appreciating every meal with pleasure!

Reference:

  1. http://blogs.plos.org/obesitypanacea/2014/12/17/the-truth-about-holiday-weight-gain-2/
  2. http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Farming/Food-production/Benefits-of-buying-local-food.aspx

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Newcomers and Dietary acculturation

Upon arrival to Western Countries such as Canada or the United States, most newcomers are usually in good health or have fewer health problems, but do not always keep the same ‘shape’ as time elapses (1). In fact, entering a new country reflects a new lifestyle change, especially when it comes to food and nutrition since it can be very different from their native country.

Many newcomers get stressed when they arrive to a new Western nation. Some even leave many family members behind which in turn, reduces their social support.

Western countries also have a different food environment compared to many other countries. In Canada, people usually have access to many food chain restaurants and junk food that may be unhealthy for some newcomers (2). In the long term, newcomers will have to adapt their eating habits with the new food environment of the host country also known as ‘Dietary acculturation’. Many newcomers also do not speak the language of the host country. Indeed, there is a language barrier limiting some from understanding and accessing health care services.

In some cases, it does not always have a positive impact on newcomers’ health leading them to develop obesity and certain chronic illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, certain cancers and other health conditions.

Today, policy makers still need to improve and implement new health care strategies to help newcomers including many other Canadians to reduce the risk illness. This is when it becomes important to seek for health professionals and get the right nutritional advice and information to help improve your overall health and prevent health complications. In the long term, the increased cases of chronic conditions will increase the cost of our health care system.

Contact your SNC’s Registered Dietitian today and learn how to adapt to the new Western diet by keeping your native eating habits and enjoy every meal with pleasure.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3895180/
  2. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/pol/som-ex-sum-environ-eng.php

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When your child refuses to eat the family diet!

Many parents get worried when their child refuses to eat a homemade meal. After trying a couple of times to convince their child to try the home made dishes, many parents get frustrated and annoyed by the fact that their child still refuses to eat. Some children may choose to eat less healthy options such as candies, chocolate, junk food, juices high in sugar and more food elevated in sugar and/or fat.

There are many factors to take into consideration when it comes to this situation. First, it is important to know that your child’s appetite may be reduced if he or she is between two to four years old due to slow growth changes occurring in this period (1). Therefore, it is important to respect your child’s appetite and to give them time to eat their food, although some may not finish their meal. Second, parents can encourage their child to eat vegetables or fruits if they show the example (2). Next, when parents put a lot of pressure on their child to finish their plate, although they have no more appetite, this has a higher risk on making their child being overweight, and in turn, obese. Studies have shown that it is harder for an adult to lose weight if they were overweight or obese during childhood (3). In the long term, your child’s obesity can be lead to diabetes and other chronic health conditions.

Many other environmental factors can have an impact on your child’s appetite such as video games, time spent on TV or even parents’ behavior. It is important to know and understand your child’s needs and desire when it comes to the world of food and nutrition.

There are many solutions to help your child appreciate the family diet such as being efficient role models, enjoy your meals with most family members being together and encourage your child in preparing home dishes. 

Contact your SNC’s Registered Dietitian today for further information and advice to help your child appreciate your family diet with pleasure. Again, take the time and patience to listen to your children since some may be very sensitive and have difficulty expressing their preferred food choices.

Remember to make your child happy when it comes to family meal and eating! –SNC-

References:

  1. http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/grow12yr.html
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18257948
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28336101

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Female Athlete Triad and Diets

When it comes to the world of Sports Nutrition, there is no magical diet or special workout that will help an athlete perform at an optimal level. An adequate and balanced diet is required to enhance athletes performance. Moreover, every diet must be individualized according to every athlete’s needs and to help meet all energy requirements.

It is also very common to see female athletes struggling with their eating habits while performing before, during and/or after their workouts. Some are even disturbed with their body image leading them to develop eating disorders or disordered eating due to a restricted diet and in turn, disrupting their quality of life.

In the long term, a restricted diet will reduce the energy availability that is required to enhance an athletic performance during workouts (1). This energy availability results in a disturbed/negative energy balance. In female athletes, that can also leads to the development of the ‘female athlete triad’, which includes health complications such as disturbed eating patterns as mentioned above, menstrual disorders and low bone mineral density (2).

To help reduce the problems that arise from of an inappropriate diet, contact your SNC’s Registered Dietitian today to help optimize better results when it comes to the World of Sports Nutrition and improve your quality of life!

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19225360
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28213754

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Impact of Maternal Eating disorders on children development

Although eating disorders are mainly developed during adolescence, it is also another challenging issue in some pregnant and lactating women.

Pregnancy is a very critical period for the fetus development and also the mother’s health. It is very common to see many people suffering from eating disorders such as Anorexia, Bulimia or other eating disorders not specified also suffer from certain nutritional deficiencies (1). Results have shown that some maternal nutritional deficiencies during pregnancy have an impact on a child’s development (2). The outcome on a child’s development may be irreversible in some cases depending on which trimester the mother may suffer from nutritional deficiencies.

Moreover, improper and insufficient nutrition due to eating disorders during pregnancy may also have an impact on the mother’s behavior, which in turn, has a higher risk of affecting mother-child’s relationship (3). Some women suffering from eating disorders even refuse to breastfeed their newborn, although Health Canada recommends pregnant women to breastfeed their baby up to 6 month of age exclusively to help them improve and strengthen their overall health during development and meet their nutritional requirements (4,5). Some pregnant women even develop maternal depression (post-partum depression) due to inadequate nutrition and the possibility of other factors (6).

In the long term, this negative mother-child relationship due to an unbalanced and insufficient nutritious diet during pregnancy and lactation may significantly affect your child’s behavior and cognitive processing, which could result in memory and learning difficulties in schools.

To help overcome this negative outcome on your child’s development, contact your SNC’s Registered Dietitian to help you control your eating patterns with proper coping mechanisms and having a recommended and proper diet. Remember to enjoy every moment of your pregnancy!

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20413694
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3607807/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28188472
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27889494
  5. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/surveill/nutrition/commun/prenatal/exclusive-exclusif-eng.php
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28012571

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