Tummy Troubles & Digestive Woes: What’s causing all this gas*?

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(*Dietitians Of Canada Guest Blog)
It’s a common story. You’re having lunch with friends, and you mention that you’ve been experiencing a health problem. And with that remark, your friend goes into “problem solving mode” by recommending a specific diet or ingredient that they think may help you. Your friend means well, but it’s better to get medical advice from a reputable source to help solve your struggle. Misinformation affects many of my clients, but there is a way to spot your problem and seek reliable facts to solve it. I’m going to walk you through an example of a three-step problem-solving approach that was developed for Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month 2017 campaign Take the Fight out of Food, which works quite well for nutritional concerns.

Let’s call this client Celeste. She’s fighting with an embarrassing problem – excess gas. Her friend recommended a gluten-free diet, but her friend is not a doctor or dietitian, so Celeste was curious about this recommendation. Was it the right one
for her? Let’s use the three-step approach to solve her struggle with gas and bloating.

  1. Spot the problem: Celeste’s problem was that everything she ate seemed to give her gas. Her friend said to stop eating wheat and gluten, but she wasn’t sure if that was the right advice.
  2. Get the facts: After reading a medical website, Celeste was relieved to learn that gas, bloating and burping are all common and can be normal. She found helpful advice by searching the term “gas” on these trusted websites such as those written by Registered Dietitians: www.dietitians.ca  www.healthlinkbc.ca  www.eatrightontario.ca
    She learned that gas, bloating and burping may be caused by swallowed air, medicines, supplements and certain food or drinks. So, maybe she was not properly digesting her daily chickpea salad or one of her supplements is causing the problem?

    But she also noted that gas and bloating could be the sign of a condition, such as lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome or celiac disease. Celeste was unsure of the reason for her symptoms, and read that it’s important not to self-diagnose. She needed the help of her doctor.

    Celeste wants to learn more about her friend’s suggestion to give up gluten in case she has celiac disease, so she visited the Canadian Celiac Association website. She learned that if she needs to be tested for celiac disease, she needs to be eating gluten (a protein found in wheat and other grains) before the test to get accurate results. If she had taken her friend’s advice to remove gluten from her diet, she could get a “false negative” result. Phew! She’s happy that she looked into it before making any changes to her diet. If she does need to go that route, she now knows to work with a Registered Dietitian before eliminating foods, since they can help her plan a balanced diet and ensure she meets nutrient needs.

  3. Seek support: Now Celeste knows not to self-diagnose or rely solely on advice from websites or well-meaning friends. She will talk to her doctor about her symptoms. If necessary she will see a gastroenterologist (digestive health doctor). She can also reach out to a registered dietitian (like me!) to help her figure out which foods may be causing her discomfort.

Do you have a food fight that you struggle with? Try the three-step approach to Take the Fight out of Food and if you want to get the facts from a dietitian, you can find one at www.dietitians.ca/find.

*Guest Blog was contributed by Dietitians of Canada #Nutritionmonth found on the DC Nutrition Month website. Did you know that Dietitians of Canada has led Nutrition Month Campaign for more than 30 years?

 

Say no to food fads this #NutritionMonth *

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Did you know that one in two Canadians get their food and nutrition information from the internet, social media and blogs?  Let’s face it. Not everything we read online is true. And while many of us know that, it’s still easy to be taken in by popular ideas we see online or hear from friends. How can we really separate food fact from fiction?

Misinformation affects many of Canadians, but there is a way to spot your problem and seek reliable facts to solve it. So if you’re wondering how to make sense of the nutrition advice you read online and want nutrition facts you can trust,  I’m going to walk you through an example of a three-step problem-solving approach that was developed for Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month 2017 campaign Take the Fight out of Food, which works quite well for nutritional concerns.

#1 Spot the problem: There is so much nutrition information online and you are not sure how to tell if something is a fad!

#2 Get the facts: You know that some websites are more reliable than others.  For example, a resource on the Dietitians of Canada website that can help you determine if facts you read online are accurate. You may read websites and absorb information, but not all of it may be true.  Be more critical and ask yourself these questions when reading a website:

  • Is the website promising a quick fix or a miracle cure?
  • Do I have reasons to mistrust the person, organization or company that runs the website?
  • Are they trying to sell me something instead of educating me?
  • Are the website writers unqualified to be giving me nutrition information?
  • Do they have facts that sound too good to be true?
  • Does the information come from personal opinions rather than scientific evidence?
  • Is the content missing reviews or verification by medical experts?
  • Are the website claims based on a single study that may draw the wrong conclusion?

Now if you know that if you answers “yes” to even some of these questions, the website may not be reliable.

#3 Seek support: You should not trust everyone who has an opinion about food and nutrition. Instead,  look for sites that aren’t trying to sell you something and that rely on science rather than opinions. Check the credentials of the writers, and look for sites written by regulated health professionals whose work is reviewed by other experts.

Don’t get knocked out by information overload! Find a dietitian at www.dietitians.ca/find for advice. You can also browse this website and here is a list of other sites which are filled with reliable information: 

www.dietitians.ca
www.eatrightontario.ca
www.healthlinkbc.ca
www.healthycanadians.gc.ca
www.dietitians.ca/Media/Member-Blogs.aspx

Do you have a food fight that you struggle with? Try the three-step approach to Take the Fight out of Food and make your commitment official at www.nutritionmonth2017.ca.

*Blog based on Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month 2017 resource. #NutritionMonth

Is Your Workplace a 4STAR Eating Environment?

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According to a poll by Ipsos Reid, 45% of Canadians say that eating healthy meals and snacks while at work is challenging. A new healthy eating program called 4STAR offers a free tool kit to help improve food and nutrition choices in the workplace.

The 4STAR program aims to improve employee health and productivity, reduce costs and absenteeism associated with diet-related illness, and improve overall organizational performance. The concept and resources of the 4STAR program were led by Dr. Norm Campbell, who is Chair in Hypertension Prevention and Control Initiative, funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada in partnership with the CIHR Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health.

4STAR is built on the S-T-A-R principles which stand for:
– Staff-led policies – staff engagement and leadership is critical for the success of any workplace program
– Targeted, realistic improvements over time – with the aim to ensure that healthier food is available at the workplace for the long term
– Accessibility of healthy foods and beverages options – improved access to fresh fruits and veggies and reduced reliance on processed foods
– Reinforcement through promotional activities, communications and training – to help employees support and embrace the changes in the food environment

A workplace healthy eating program is a process, not an occurrence. Some of the known challenges of implementing such a program include inconsistent definitions of “healthy food”, large portions sizes and the fact that a positive food environment must be supported with employee education for successful behaviour change.

Not only does a healthy eating program improve employee health and productivity, but it also makes dollars and sense. As part of a workplace wellness program, a healthy eating program can save businesses up to four dollars for every one dollar invested.

Here’s what you can do to create a healthy food environment in your workplace:
– Start by taking the 4STAR quiz about healthy eating in your workplace
– Check out the resources from the 4STAR tool kit
Contact us! Dietitian-led workplace wellness initiatives have been shown to help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 60%, lower heart disease risk by lowering blood pressure, and improve healthy eating behaviours like increasing vegetable, fruit and fibre intake. With our experience in workplace wellness programs and healthy eating campaigns, we can help you at all stages from program planning to implementation and evaluation. Our team building workshops and seminars will complement your workplace policies to improve the health and well-being of your employees.

 

TOP 3 Heart Healthy Foods to include in your meals

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February is Heart Month and a terrific time to celebrate foods that are good for your heart health.  Check out the dietitian’s TOP 3 tips for heart healthy foods to include in your meals on a regular basis.

  • Fatty fish

Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, Atlantic herring and trout. Aim for two servings per week. Fatty fish are good sources of omega-3 fats.

  • Fibre

Eat at least half of your grain products as whole grains. Examples include rolled oats, barley, brown rice, quinoa and whole grain breads, breakfast cereals and pasta.

  • Vegetables

At meals, make at least half your plate vegetables. Choose veggies or fruit for snacks and dessert each meal

To discover more about Heart Health and nutrition trends join me for NutritionTraining  www.NutritionForNONNutritionists.com

 

Source: Dietitians of Canada, Healthy Eating Guidelines to Prevent Heart Disease

2017 Top food and nutrition trends

2017’s top 10 fowhat's hotod and nutrition trends signal big changes for the year ahead and include a renewed focus on quality and enjoyment of food, sustainability, clean eating and influential new regulations. Read on for more of our expert advice on trends that will impact consumer food choices. Let us know what you think…

1. Clean Eating
Consumers demand to know exactly what is in their food and where it comes from so they can make informed choices that are in line with their values. For mindful decisions, the ingredient list, the food source and recipe composition are all becoming more significant factors.

2. Kids & Youth
Health Canada identified promoting the importance of healthy eating in children and youth a priority. Look for more resources, reports and dietary guidance to help establish healthy eating habits at an early age.

3. Enjoy food in the company of others
Food is a powerful way to connect with people which has benefits well beyond nutrition. We’ll see focus on bringing back the pleasure of everyday shared meals, cooking and conversation.

4. Sustainability
Taking care of the planet is a priority with a strong millennial focus. Look for ways to eliminate food waste, use up less than perfect looking fruit/veg, eat food before it spoils, package in compostable or biodegradable materials.

5. Protein Power
Protein continues to be a nutrient of great interest at every meal occasion, especially breakfast. Expect increased attention to plant based protein sources in healthy recipes such as tofu, nuts, seeds, pulses (dried beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas).

6. Food Security
Let’s recognize the importance of equitable access to affordable, wholesome, healthy foods and drinks for all Canadians. Supporting best health through good nutrition for everyone is driving a variety of new efforts.

7. Veggie Believers
Growth of vegetarian, vegan and other plant-focused foods are fueled by consumers looking for ways to boost their veggie intake at home and while eating out. Find more ways to make half your plate veggies.

8. Digestive Health – Feed Your Fiber Famished Gut!
Keeping your gut healthy involves eating probiotics that feed the friendly bacteria that live in your intestine. Canadians get less than half of the daily recommended amount of fibre, so look for more tips on boosting fibre intake, specifically probiotic type fibres for digestive health. More information is available on probiotic fibres at http://bit.ly/2jPasvW 

9. New Food Labels and Claims
Health Canada through a commitment to transparency and ongoing regulatory modernization is revamping the packaged food label and Canada’s Food Guide. Calories, sugars, fat are focus on packaged foods and calories are required on restaurant chain menus. Check CFIA guidelines for any statements that may be made about the nutritional value of foods or menu items to help you avoid any violations.

10. Dietitians are Most Trusted Experts in Food & Nutrition
Many Canadians get their food and nutrition information from the ‘Wild Wild Web” of the internet which has so much misinformation. Instead, look to dietitians, the most trusted experts in food and nutrition. We do the hard work of studying the evidence, reviewing the research and translating the science to credible recommendations that you can use.

Let’s start a conversation! Join me at  our 10th annual Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists Course  on April 26th 2017 University of Toronto