Prebiotics – Feed your fibre famished gut

gut health 2017

Canadians are fibre famished! On average we get only HALF of the recommended 25 to 38 grams of fibre per day. Most people could benefit from increasing their fiber intake, and to help maintain gut health focus on including foods that contain fibres that are also prebiotics.

What is a prebiotic? 

Prebiotics are a type of food, mostly fibre that is beneficial for our good gut bacteria. Prebiotics provide fuel for good bacteria which live in our gut to support health.

NOT ALL fibres are pre-biotic!  Probiotics are ingredients that naturally contain food for healthy gut bacteria.  To be classified as a prebiotic, the fibre must[1]:

  1. ESCAPE digestion (pass through the stomach undigested) and
  2. Be able to be FERMENTED by the bacteria in the gut
  3. Stimulate the growth and/or activity of certain ‘good’ bacteria in the large intestine.

Which foods are naturally high in prebiotics?

Dietary fibre classified as having high prebiotic effects includes inulin, fructo-oligosaccharides (fructans , FOS) and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS).  See below for examples of foods that are naturally high in prebiotics.

 

Examples of foods that are naturally high in prebiotics[2]
Vegetables: Jerusalem artichokes, chicory, garlic, onion, leek, shallots, spring onion, asparagus, beetroot, fennel bulb, green peas, snow peas, sweetcorn, savoy cabbage
Legumes: Chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, baked beans, soybeans
Fruit: Custard apples, nectarines, white peaches, persimmon, tamarillo, watermelon, rambutan, grapefruit, pomegranate.  Dried fruit (eg. dates, figs)
Bread/cereals/snacks: Barley, rye bread, rye crackers, pasta, gnocchi, couscous, wheat bran, wheat bread, oats
Nuts and seeds: Cashews, pistachio nuts

 

[1] Krause 2017 & MedMonash.Edu

[2] MedMonash.Edu

New Canadian Nutrition Labels Announced!

Are you ready for clearer nutrition labelling on packaged foods? Health Canada announced the new formats which may help you make the healthy choice the easy choice. New labels will be implemented over the next 5 years for all packed foods. What’s changed? Here are my top 5 observations with Dietitian’s Tips:

  1. Calories in the spotlight with bolder, bigger numbers and Serving size stands out more and it will be easier to compare  similar foods
  2. daily-value-meter-eng% Daily Value (% DV) explained as a simple ‘rule of thumb: 5% DV is a little, 15% is a lot of any nutrient. [Dietitian’s Tip look for foods with: INCREASED Fibre and  LESS Saturated fat, Sodium, Sugars ]
  3. Sugars focus with a new 100% Daily Value as 100 g/d.  Ingredient list will still show different types of sugars, but they will be grouped together. [Dietitian’s Tip – regardless of the source, all sugars are similar nutritionally, for more information on sugars click here]
  4. Food colours identified individually on Ingredient list.
  5. There is more to come so let your voice be heard! Share your opinions about nutrition labelling with Health Canada. Complete this brief consumer questionnaire and / or complete the technical questionnaire both by January 13th, 2017. This is YOUR chance to help shape the future of nutrition labelling in Canada.

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Sugar by any other name is nutritionally the same

cfia-many-names-of-sugars-picMany Canadians are surprised to hear that sugar by any other name is nutritionally the same. The different names for sugars do not affect what they really are, which is simple carbohydrates that taste sweet and provide quickly absorbed energy at 4 calories per gram. For example on an ingredient label, sugar, honey, maple syrup and evaporated cane juice could all be listed separately, but the human body treats them all the same – as sugar.

FOOD LABEL TRANSLATION:

It’s important to look at the Nutrition Facts table to check how much sugar is in a serving of a food.  On food labels, sugar is shown in grams, but most people think of sugar in teaspoons. The conversion is easy: 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon. Health Canada plans to set 100g of sugar/day as the recommended Daily Value (100% DV). When you do the math, 100 g of sugar is equivalent to 25 teaspoons of sugar per day from all sources. You’ll be able to use the % Daily Value to estimate if there is a little (5% DV) or a lot (15% DV) of sugar in a serving of food.

NATURALLY OCCURRING AND ADDED SUGARS

Did you know that both added and naturally occurring sugars are broken down in a similar way? Once sugar is digested, the body really can’t tell the difference! But there is a difference between where sugar is found in the foods we eat and what other nutrients come along with the sugar.  For example, sugars are found naturally in all fruit, dairy, and wholegrain breads and cereals, which are all foods that are important for our health. Sugars that come from these foods provide many other nutrients too and are healthier choices than foods that only contribute sugar calories. Sugars that are added to foods during preparation contribute only calories and sweet taste.

DIETITIAN’S TIP:

It’s a good start to cut down on sugary foods but it’s still okay to leave some sweet foods in to keep it real. Make your sugar calories count by choosing foods that give you a chock full of other nutrients not just sugar.

CALL TO ACTION:

Help shape the future of nutrition labelling. Before January 13, 2017, let your voice be heard by participating in an important Health Canada consultation on front of package labelling, which includes sugars.  There are 2 ways to participate online at http://bit.ly/2f1Weow

  1. Complete the consumer questionnaire, which has background information and 8 questions.
  2. Review the consultation document and complete the technical questionnaire, which has 15 questions.

Have questions? We can help. Let’s chat about how Health Canada’s proposed front of package labelling may affect your business. Contact us at: Lucia@WeilerNutrition.com

 

Our Food Guide consultation is now open!

food-guide-consultationYou may have heard the big announcement that Health Canada is revising the Food Guide (CFG) and consultations are open for only 45 days until December 8th.  CFG was last changed over 10 years ago so don’t miss this chance to let your voice be heard!

Why is CFG important?

CFG was, and will remain a key document that shapes the approach to healthy eating recommendations and policies in Canada, including nutrition education and menu planning. You know that nutrition science has evolved in the last 20 years.  We moved from ‘no fat’ or ‘low fat’ to good fat, from ‘low carb’ to high quality carbs, and at the end of the day more and more scientists agree that the overall dietary pattern is more important than any one food or nutrient. Of course, it’s a real challenge to translate complex science about nutrition into specific recommendations that meets the diverse needs of the Canadian population, but the new Food Guide revision set out to do just that. Let your voice be heard on how CFG can help you benefit from nutrition.

How to let your voice be heard!

We completed Canada’s Food Guide Workbook on line, which did not take very long, and we have a few tips for your consideration so you know what to expect when you participate.

The first question separates members of the general public from professionals who work in health, teaching or are representing an organization.  After a few more qualifying questions about who you are, the survey asks you to select 3 types of activities where you use healthy eating recommendations most often. The next set of questions are based on the 3 activities you just identified. They explore the type of guidance you find most valuable and the ways you would like recommendations presented. The final questions request you to rate the importance of a variety of topics related to healthy eating, including food enjoyment, eating patterns, security, environment, level of processing and sugars.

We encourage you to take the time and complete Canada’s Food Guide Workbook by December 8th. It’s your chance to influence the way Canadians will eat well for many years to come.

If you have any questions or comments on completing Canada’s Food Guide Workbook we’d be happy to hear from you!

Be Good to Your Gut

gut-health-n4nn-2016-jpgJoin us at the Microbiota Summit on Nov 7th!
RD Lucia Weiler teams up with Chef Eric Deletroz to dish out healthy advice, one bite at a time!

Two out of three Canadians experience digestive health problems every year.  For some people it’s just uncomfortable for a while, but for others it’s a chronic, painful or even life threatening condition. Researchers are looking at ways to keep your gut healthy and are discovering the significant impact of microorganisms that call your gut home.

Did know your body is home to trillions of microorganisms? The human gut in fact has its own microorganism colonies made up of mainly bacteria that are living and working in your body to help keep you healthy. Gut microorganisms are an exciting leading area of research and we are seeing the emergence of a movement on how gut microorganisms impact lifelong health.

On Monday Nov 7th, 2017, the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation (CDHF) is hosting a special education summit on gut health in Toronto for professionals and consumers. Registered Dietitian Lucia Weiler will be teaming up with Chef Eric Deletroz at the event to showcase healthy eating and cooking tips to improve your gut health. Our session will help you discover what to eat for digestive health & how to feed the microorganism world within you. Join us to learn more!

To register for the Microbiota Summit:

  1. Health Care Professional Session: Discover the World Within – Understanding how the Human Microbiota Impacts lifelong health.12:30-5:30 pm in Toronto. Design Exchange, Toronto, Ontario.http://cdhf.ca/en/events/microbiota-summit-for-health-care-professionals
  2.  Consumer directed education session “Healthy Gut Summit’ is also available to help Canadians attain – and maintain — a happy, healthy gut. The session is FREE, but registration is required.http://cdhf.ca/en/events/healthy-gut-summit  Mon. Nov 7. 2016 | 7 – 9pm | Design Exchange Centre | Toronto, Ontario