Dietary tips for people with type 2 diabetes

one in three live with diabetes Feb 2017

Diabetes and PRE Diabetes affect many people. If you have diabetes or PRE-diabetes you know that managing the condition is key to your health and wellness. This however can be overwhelming and some people aren’t sure where to start or how to get back on track. The good news is that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with appropriate lifestyle changes. [1]

Food is a key component in managing diabetes so having a dietitian as part of your care team will help you achieve your health goals. [2]  There is not a simple ‘one-diet-fits’ all approach. A dietitian is a credible trusted nutrition expert who works with you to meet your individual goals. Here are 5 tips to help you manage diabetes.

  1. Focus on small gradual dietary changes that you can stick with.
  2. Keep portion sizes in check. Consider the plate method – making half your plate veggies.
  3. Understand carbohydrates – it’s not just sugars, but starch also breaks down to sugars!
  4. Monitory your blood sugar levels.
  5. Trust a Registered Dietitian with your nutritional health.  You can DO IT, ask for help when you need it.

[1] Today’s Dietitian (2017)
[2] Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month (2017)

3 out of 5 adults have a chronic disease Are you one of them?

chronic disease apr 2017

Did you know that 4 out of 5 Canadian adults are at risk for chronic disease, and 3 out of 5 Canadian adults actually live with a chronic disease? [1]  The top 4 chronic diseases in Canada are Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes and Chronic Respiratory disease. The good news is that 40% of cancers, 80% of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and respiratory disease are preventable by reducing common risk factors such as:

  • poor nutrition
  • lack of physical activity
  • smoking
  • harmful use of alcohol.

According to the World Health Organization, an unhealthy diet is one of the primary risk factors for chronic disease. Research shows that diet counselling makes a difference. For example, structured and intensive lifestyle interventions delivered by dietitians can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 60% in clients at risk.[2]

What can you do? 

  • Eat a nutritious and healthy diet, including lots of fruit and vegetables
  • Don’t smoke or use other forms of tobacco
  • Limit your alcohol consumption to Canada’s LOW risk drinking guidelines
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Get regular physical activity

How do you know which nutrition information to trust?

There is so much nutrition information out there that Canadians don’t know what to believe. It can be challenging to know which online nutrition information is credible and which is not. [3] For your food and nutrition questions – ask a Registered Dietitian. Registered Dietitians are the most trusted food and nutrition experts who are committed to helping Canadians enjoy safe, nutritious, affordable and healthy eating.  As nutrition experts, dietitians can help you decide on and find factual information that’s relevant to your health and wellness needs. Contact us or check out the ‘Your Health’ section at www.dietitians.ca.

[1] Chronic Disease Alliance Prevention Canada (2016)  http://www.cdpac.ca/media.php?mid=1411
[2] Dietitians of Canada, The impact of diet counselling (2015) https://www.dietitians.ca/Downloads/Public/Chronic-Disease-2-pager.aspx
[3] Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month (2017) www.dietitians.ca

What’s HOT in chefs’ kitchens? Our Dietitians’ take of TOP Trends.

2017 chef survey resto canada

Restaurants Canada’s 8th annual Canadian Chefs’ survey tells what’s trending now and what the up and comers are as well. Of the 20 chef trends mentioned in the research, here are our TOP 7 favourites  with insights from our food forward health conscious perspective.

  1. Locally sourced foods – eating what’s in season where you live is a terrific way to discover seasonal foods. Local is a perennial favourite of dietitians, chefs and consumers alike.
  2. Sustainable seafood – Eating at least two servings of fish each week is recommended as part of healthy eating for all Canadians. Producing safe, sustainable fish is important for the future of food.
  3. Ancient Grains – Canadians like to explore dishes that showcase authentic food from around the world.  Discover the heritage of ancient grains and try  authentic recipes using kamut, spelt, amaranth and freekeh.
  4. Simplicity / back to basics – Remember family style comfort food meant for sharing? We love the serve-yourself shared dining experience, be it eating out or at home. If you make it yourself  or in-house, you’ll add some authenticity that everyone will appreciate.
  5. Veggie centric cuisune. YAY! Veggies are ON TREND which we find very exciting. Aim to have HALF YOUR PLATE as vegetables. Let’s get creative on making veggies more centre-plate.
  6. Craft beers / microbrews – Alcohol in moderation continues to add enjoyment to meals. Remember to follow Canada’s LOW risk drinking guidelines.
  7. It’s Canada’s 150th Birthday – Let’s celebrate our Canadian food heritage!  Consumers are ready to embrace  this trend. What a great opportunity to boost variety beyond the obvious Canadian foods.

For more foodservice trends and consumer insights, join us at the 10th annual Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists course on April 26, 2017, University of Toronto. Register at www.NutritionForNONNutritionists.com

What’s on new the MENU in Ontario Restaurants? Calorie Labelling!

what's on the menu blog march 2017

Have you noticed the new calorie labelling on Ontario chain restaurant menus? Operators, servers and consumers are coming to grips with the new reality of revealing calories in a serving of food. We are labelling experts who look beyond the fads to deliver reliable food forward advice.  I was honoured to moderate partnership events and engage with stakeholders about the challenges of the new menu labelling in Winter 2017 . Thanks to the leadership of Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals (CAFP), Restaurants Canada and Dietitians of Canada in making these important professional discussions happen. A shout out to fellow dietitian Donna Bottrell who did a terrific job organizing the events, and to Nancy Hewitt President CAFP Toronto for her support.

CAFP lucia moderator event
From left: Donna Bottrell RD, event lead organizer; Nancy Hewitt, CFE, President of the CAFP Toronto Branch; Susan Somerville RD, Dean, Humber College, Jamie Rillet Vice President, Restaurants Canada and Lucia Weiler RD.

Here is a snapshot of what we heard:

  • ‘Medium and small chains are looking for guidance and consistency from the Government.’ Jamie Rilett, Restaurants Canada
  • ‘It’s challenging for a server to explain the calorie range for a serving size. More support and education would be helpful’ K.B.Bose, Shoeless Joe’s
  • ‘There is the nutrient variable to consider and educate about. How to address the fact that milk has more calories than pop but it’s also more nutritious?’ Katie Jessop RD
  • ‘Collaboration is needed between food professionals: chefs, dietitians and nutritionists.  And we are eating foods- not just one food. Food combinations in menus can help create healthier options. Nutrition professionals can assist operators and consumers.’   Lucia Weiler RD
  • ‘A lot of time was spent by Aramark in the initial analysis…they made sure to standardize recipes and then tested and tested which led to a recipe database.’ Karen Williams, Aramark
  • ‘Menu calorie labelling is just the beginning. There is a future importance for all aspects of nutrition and food, especially sustainable processing. Millennial consumers are very conscious about the’ what’ and the ‘how’ of food.’ K.B.Bose, Shoeless Joe’s

For more stakeholder views, participant feedback or restaurant menu labelling guidance please contact us.  We are registered dietitians who love food and our long term vision shapes nutrition and guides the way people eat.  Our expertise in nutrition communication and labelling can help your team formulate unique insights and create menu solutions that both foodservice professionals and consumers can use.

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

gut health 2017

(*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?