Posts Tagged "Diet"


How to make healthy eating resolutions stick throughout the year – National

by BBG Hub

For many of us, January is all about giving things up: Maybe we’re going to stop eating meat and embrace a plant-based diet. Or we’re ready to kick excess sugar to the curb after a holiday season awash in sweets. Or we’re committed to avoiding fast food.

Starting the year with noble goals for eating well is a modern rite of passage. But it’s just as common to ditch those grand plans within just a few weeks.

This year, how can we do it right? If we’re pledging to make better food choices, which strategies can help us stick with them?

Start small

The consensus among experts is clear: It’s tempting to begin with dramatic gestures, but the key to achieving lasting change is setting goals that are small enough that we won’t scrap them by Valentine’s Day.

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READ MORE: Want to be happier in 2020? Make mental health a priority

Manageable, measurable goals can create long-term change, says Laila Azarbad, associate professor of psychology at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois.

When people set lofty goals, they can get discouraged after a couple weeks.

“Our self-efficacy, that belief in our own ability, tanks,” she says. “And that’s a huge predictor: If you don’t feel confident in your ability to make the change, you’re going to discontinue trying.”

Picture this, says Dana White, a sports dietitian and clinical associate professor at Quinnipiac University: You want to lose 20 pounds and you know that every afternoon you visit the office vending machine for a snack to boost your energy. So, begin packing a healthy afternoon snack — not something punitive, but something healthier that you’ll enjoy — and have that instead of a vending machine candy bar.

How good are plant-based diets for the environment?

How good are plant-based diets for the environment?

It’s a measurable, specific change that won’t be unpleasant. Once that new behaviour is in place, you can add another small but meaningful change.

The same thinking works if you’re eliminating animal products: Rather than going cold turkey (cold tofu?), begin by replacing one dinner per week with a vegetarian meal. Plan it for a night when you won’t be rushed and can make an appealing recipe, or budget for going out once a week to a vegetarian restaurant.

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Then track that change for three weeks, says Anna Baker, assistant professor of psychology at Bucknell University, who researches the connection between behavioural factors such as self-management and health outcomes.

“You hear that it takes 21 days to create habit. There’s debate about whether it’s 21 exactly, but you need a certain amount of time of continuing to do something before it becomes a habit,” Baker says.

READ MORE: Lying on your dating profile can hurt you and your chances at love

“Once you do kind of get used to that change and you’re doing it regularly, then you can add in another thing.”

If you make that one good shift for three weeks, congratulate yourself. Then maintain that behaviour and add another small change, like drinking more water.

It’s tempting to try making a half-dozen changes all at once, White says. But by focusing on individual, small, unhealthy behaviours and “really identifying what the triggers are that lead to those behaviours,” she says, people “can have a tremendous amount of success without torturing themselves.”

Don’t be too hard on yourself

Accept that mistakes are a normal part of building a new habit. If you know an event is coming up where you’ll want to divert from your eating goals, accept that you may slip a bit.

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Study says regular exercise can help prevent certain types of cancer

Study says regular exercise can help prevent certain types of cancer

Aim for “consistency, not perfection,” says Baker. “You have to plan in advance that you’re going to screw up. We’re not perfect.”

Enlist friends

Lastly, “tell everybody you know that you’re doing this because social support is huge,” Azerbad says.

“If you’re going out to eat and they know you’re trying to change your diet, they can help choose a restaurant that will accommodate you,” she says.

READ MORE: Should you switch careers? What you need to know before taking the plunge

And the need to save face may keep you on track.

“Once you put it out there on social media and you tell everybody that ‘I’m going to do this… you feel that people are watching,” Azerbad says.

“We don’t want other people to see us fail.”

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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The keto diet was ranked one of the worst diets for 2020, so why is it still popular? – National

by BBG Hub

In a recent ranking of the best and worst diets by the US News & World, the ketogenic (keto) diet was ranked one of the worst out of 35 diets.

And yet, according to a recent survey of registered dietitians, the keto diet remains the most popular in the United States.

Fast, short-term weight loss is probably the reason the keto diet remains so popular, registered dietitian Shahzadi Devje told Global News.

UBC study reveals cheat day in popular diet may cause some harm

“Any diet that’s trendy, promises to make you lose weight quickly and look fit will get your attention,” she said.

“Personal testimonials of keto ‘success’ continue to flood the internet, but this doesn’t equate to reliable and trustworthy scientific evidence.”

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By mandating foods high in fat and low in carbohydrates, the keto diet sends the body into a state of ketosis.

Once there, the body burns fat instead of sugar for energy. Advocates claim the diet promotes weight loss and boosts energy, but experts on the US News & World Report panel are worried about its potential negative effects.

The organization said each of the diets was given ratings out of five in the following categories: “how easy it is to follow, its ability to produce short-term and long-term weight loss, its nutritional completeness, its safety and its potential for preventing and managing diabetes and heart disease.”

The keto diet did not score well in any of those categories. In the safety category, it was given an overall rating of two out of five due to its high fat content. One expert warned that those with severe diabetes, kidney disease and heart disease should not follow this diet.

Can you reverse Type 2 diabetes by changing your diet?

Can you reverse Type 2 diabetes by changing your diet?

The highest rating given to the keto diet was in the category of short-term weight loss, for which it received a 3.8 out of five. Experts on the panel noted “the low-carb plan is generally a quick, effective weight-loss strategy.”

That’s exactly why nutrition experts like Dr. David Jenkins worry about the keto diet: it may promote quick weight loss, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a healthy way to live.

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Jenkins, a professor of nutritional science in the faculty of medicine at the University of Toronto, fears the diet cuts out too many healthy foods in addition to unhealthy ones.

‘Keto crotch’ — What the keto diet can do to women’s vaginal health

“You’ve got carbs on the positive side of health and on the negative side of health,” he said. “If you just cut out the lot, you’re cutting out the good, the bad and the ugly.”

UN report: Changing your diet can help save the planet

UN report: Changing your diet can help save the planet

Registered dietitian Lauren McNeill agrees.

“The greatest risk I see to a keto diet is cutting out or severely reducing the foods that we know from decades of research have extensive health benefits, such as whole grains, legumes, fruits and certain vegetables,” she said.

“Some of the healthiest populations that we know consume these foods on a regular basis, and there’s no shortage of research showing their benefits on potential risk reduction of cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, Type 2 diabetes and even weight management.”

The only time a doctor would recommend the keto diet

Thus far, the only proven clinical use for the keto diet is in children with epilepsy.

“This diet may be quite useful if the drugs aren’t working well, but these are controlled conditions,” Jenkins said.

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Devje supports this claim.

“There’s substantial evidence showing that a ketogenic diet reduces seizures in children,” she said.

Red meat health impacts: Dietitian weighs in on recent study

Red meat health impacts: Dietitian weighs in on recent study

“There is some thinking that perhaps such benefits may extend to other brain disorders (like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis) … but I was not able to find any human studies to support recommending the keto diet to manage these conditions,” she said.

It’s important to note that in children with epilepsy, there can be adverse side effects.

“Their fibre may be down (because fibre is commonly found in carbohydrates), which can lead to constipation,” said Jenkins.

The case for ditching diets altogether

The healthiest diets, as determined by health and nutrition experts in the US News & World ranking, were the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet and the flexitarian diet.

However, registered dietitian Stephanie Hnatiuk doesn’t consider the keto diet more or less “dangerous” than other restrictive ways of eating.

It can be extremely challenging to stick to the keto diet for longer than a few months, which can lead people to what Hnatiuk calls “yo-yo dieting.”

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Keto diet plan — breaking down the low-carb, high-fat diet

“A person loses some weight on a diet, is unable to keep up with it and ultimately quits the diet, leading them to regain the weight they lost and often more,” she told Global News.

Instead, Hnatiuk encourages her clients to abandon diets altogether.

Will the keto diet cause your skin to break out?

“We need to start thinking about our overall dietary patterns in a more long-term, sustainable way,” she said. “Avoid the short-term diets, challenges or things that promise a quick fix. Instead, simply make small changes to improve our eating habits.”

This can include reducing added sugars, cooking more meals at home and adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet.

“Over time, these [will benefit our health more than] an endless stream of short-term fad diets,” said Hnatiuk.

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Instead of putting kids on a diet, teach them healthy habits: experts – National

by BBG Hub

If you’re working on a list of New Year’s resolutions, you might be considering a new diet for yourself, your spouse or even your children.

Dietitians and health experts have long warned about the inefficiency and potential harms of restrictive dieting, but now, experts are worried about weight loss plans aimed at kids and teens — and their concerns aren’t unjustified.

READ MORE: New Weight Watchers app for kids could cause ‘body dissatisfaction,” expert says

From 2013 to 2016, nearly 38 per cent of adolescents between the ages of 16 and 19 said they had tried to lose weight during the past year, according to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics released in July.

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The data found that among those who had tried to lose weight, the most common ways were through exercise (83.5 per cent), drinking a lot of water (52 per cent) and eating less (nearly 49 per cent). Over 82 per cent of teens said they had tried to lose weight using two or more methods.

In August, there was widespread backlash from body-positive activists when weight loss company WW (formerly Weight Watchers) launched an app called Kurbo targeting youth aged eight to 17.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia dietitians concerned by new weight loss app for kids

WW’s chief scientific officer, Gary Foster, said that the program was designed to be “part of the solution to address the prevalent public health problem of childhood obesity,” according to a statement released earlier this year.

‘Complicated relationships with food’

The shift towards encouraging weight loss in young people concerns experts like Dr. Valerie Taylor, head of psychiatry at the University of Calgary.

“It starts people on this very complicated relationship with food,” Taylor previously told Global News. “If you eat the bad food, you’re a bad person. That is the message. If you do eat them, you have a problem, you have issues with willpower, with self-control, you’re weak. [Children] very much internalize this.”

The focus should instead be on making sure your child regularly eats a nutritious, balanced diet.

Can you reverse Type 2 diabetes by changing your diet?

Can you reverse Type 2 diabetes by changing your diet?

“Every person needs a vitamin D supplement. For children over one year, this is 600 IU of vitamin D3 daily,” registered dietitian Desiree Nielsen previously told Global News.

Beyond that, Nielsen said that whether a child needs an omega-3 supplement or a multivitamin, for example, really depends on how balanced their diet is and “how accepting they are of a wide variety of healthy foods.”

“If a child eats a wide variety of healthy foods, a basic multivitamin or calcium supplement isn’t necessary,” she said.

READ MORE: How early is too early to talk to your kids about weight and exercise?

Health professionals are also concerned because a focus on weight loss can have lasting negative effects into adulthood.

Disordered eating in the future

Viewing food as either “bad” or “good” can cause serious problems with disordered eating in the future, said Taylor.

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“It’s going to follow these kids long into adulthood, whether that’s going to be a manifestation of an eating disorder or intense body dissatisfaction,” she said. “[It makes] the act of eating miserable.”

Amanda Raffoul, a PhD candidate in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo, agrees. Raffoul researches disordered eating and dieting, largely in adolescents.

UN report: Changing your diet can help save the planet

UN report: Changing your diet can help save the planet

Developing unhealthy dieting behaviours as an adolescent puts people at a greater risk of having disordered eating habits as an adult, she said. This is particularly true for women.

“Eating disorders are obviously very complex and have a lot of factors that contribute to them,” Raffoul previously told Global News. “But dieting at a young age is a pretty major risk factor.”

Focus on being healthy instead

One-third of children worldwide under age five — roughly 200 million kids — are either undernourished or overweight, according to a recent report by the UN children’s agency.

In Canada, childhood obesity rates continue to rise. In fact, they’ve nearly tripled in the last 30 years, according to Statistics Canada.

That’s why, in the opinion of parenting expert Alyson Schafer, it’s never too early to teach kids about healthy eating habits and the benefits of regular exercise. However, there is a right way to go about it.

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Red meat health impacts: Dietitian weighs in on recent study

Red meat health impacts: Dietitian weighs in on recent study

“Modelling good habits and attitudes while discussing health from an educational perspective is key,” Schafer previously told Global News.

When it comes to getting your kids to exercise, Schafer says to make sure that you just don’t put on a YouTube video and let them follow along alone.

“That is not social enough for youngsters,” she says. “They don’t need more screen time alone. If you are doing yoga, ask them to join you … Be active and inspire them. Discuss the health benefits in an age-appropriate way.”

READ MORE: ‘Incredibly concerning’ — More U.S. teens are trying to lose weight

It’s crucial to have healthy conversations about weight. According to Raffoul, it’s important for youth to see messages that promote health — not weight loss.

“If we continuously focus on needing to lose weight as an indicator of health, then people will do whatever they can, or feel like they need to do, to lose that weight without focusing on not only their physical health but also their mental health and social well-being,” she said.

— With files from Global News’ Meaghan Wray, Laura Hensley, Arti Patel and Dani-Elle Dube

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Eating alone may not be good for your health: experts – National

by BBG Hub

Plenty of people eat lunch at their desk or gobble down a takeout dinner between driving their kids to extracurricular activities.

More Canadians are living alone than ever before, too, government data shows, meaning many home-cooked meals are eaten solo.

While attention is often focused on seniors eating and living alone, Kate Mulligan, an associate professor at the University of Toronto’s School of Public Health, says the issue affects everyone.

“We see younger people — millennials, for example, or even younger — who are ordering in a lot or may not even have cooking facilities in their apartments,” Mulligan said.

READ MORE: Why aren’t Canadians cooking anymore?

But is eating alone actually that bad for your health? According to research, the harms may outweigh the benefits.

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How eating alone can harm you

“Eating alone is associated with a whole range of poor outcomes, and they’re correlated with similar outcomes for loneliness in general,” Mulligan said.

“When you eat alone, you’re more likely to eat standing up, you’re more likely to eat junk food and you’re less likely to think about mindful consumption.”

Benefits of shopping for your own food

Benefits of shopping for your own food

Because food can be a social experience, missing out on eating with others can make people feel isolated. One study out of Japan found that living and eating alone may increase the risk of depression in older adults.

Canada’s Food Guide also encourages people to eat with others. The guide says eating alone can lead to feelings of loneliness, especially for seniors.

The physical implications vary, but research suggests solo dining habits can negatively impact a person’s health.

One Korean report concluded that eating alone may be a potential risk factor for metabolic syndrome, a cluster of health problems including too much fat around the waist and elevated blood pressure. The condition — which can be caused by poor diet and lack of exercise — increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes, HealthLink BC points out.

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READ MORE: Spending time alone isn’t weird or sad — it’s actually healthy

Eating alone can also affect what you eat.

A U.K. study found that older adults were at risk of having a lower-quality diet if they lived and ate alone.

Researchers found that being single or widowed was associated with a lower food variety score, especially for men. The study also found that lower levels of friend contact were linked to eating a reduced variety of fruits and vegetables.

Another Korean study concluded that people who eat alone have a nutritional intake below the recommended amount.

Easy meal prep for students

Easy meal prep for students

According to Mulligan, people may be more inclined to mindlessly eat or snack when they are by themselves compared to when they’re enjoying food with others. This can result in poorer food choices.

“We’re less conscious of what we’re doing when we’re alone or when we’re in a rush or in transit,” Mulligan said.

“With isolated seniors, for example, they often just don’t feel it is worth the effort to go through and prepare healthier foods when they’re alone.”

There’s also the impact on the planet. A recent article published in Quartz pointed out that solo eating can contribute to food waste.

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Research shows that more than half of food produced in Canada is wasted. Furthermore, avoidable food waste in the country produces more than 22 million tonnes of climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions.

How eating alone can benefit you

There are certainly benefits to spending time alone and learning to enjoy your own company.

A recent article published in the New York Times unpacked the ways people can enjoy eating alone and highlighted its benefits: a sense of self-indulgence and needed quiet time.

READ MORE: Men struggle to keep friends — and it’s hurting their mental health

Eating alone while travelling is often unavoidable and can be a great opportunity to connect with others.

Mulligan says for parents with young children, a meal alone can be an enjoyable break.

Still, this doesn’t mean solo dining should be the norm.

10 things you need to know before buying a meal kit

10 things you need to know before buying a meal kit

“I’m sure for some people and in some circumstances, it can be quite joyful to eat alone,” she said. “But that doesn’t make it healthier in the long run.”

To combat the effects of eating alone, Canada’s Food Guide suggests making plans to meet with friends or family members for meals and participating in community celebrations. It’s also a good idea to organize a rotating dinner event where people take turns hosting meals.

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At work, try to eat lunch in a common space with a colleague.

Mulligan puts it this way: “The evidence is pretty clear: in general, eating with other people is good for us.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Reality check: Can you reverse diabetes by changing your diet? – National

by BBG Hub

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects approximately three million Canadians, according to Statistics Canada.

There are two main kinds of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. If left untreated, the illness can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart problems, neuropathic pain and amputations.

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The causes of diabetes have long been debated. Type 1 is typically considered to be hereditary, while Type 2 has been associated with obesity and inactivity.

Historically, both types have been considered inevitably degenerative — but that may no longer be the case.

Some doctors believe Type 2 — which affects 90 per cent of people living with diabetes, according to Diabetes Canada — can be reversed by a dramatic change in diet and activity levels.

WATCH BELOW: The rising cost of insulin in the U.S.

A 2017 study published in the BMJ found that patients who lost a significant amount of weight (about 33 pounds) were able to send diabetes into remission. Researchers define this as “no longer having diabetes, at least for a period.”

A similar 2019 study conducted at the University of British Columbia found that reducing or eliminating a specific protein in the fat cells of mice not only prevents the onset of Type 2 diabetes, but also appears to reverse the disease as well.

That protein, dubbed CD248, was found to be higher in the fat cells of people with diabetes regardless of their shape and size, but would decrease to normal levels when people with obesity-associated diabetes reversed the disease through weight loss.

A new way to treat Type 2 diabetes

“When we talk about diabetes remission or reversal, we’re almost exclusively talking about Type 2 diabetes,” Dr. Jason Fung, a nephrologist at Scarborough Health Network. He calls Type 2 diabetes a “dietary disease.”

“If you think about Type 2 diabetes, the entire disease is essentially too much sugar in the body,” said Fung.

“Sugar is both glucose, which comes from refined carbohydrates, and fructose. Your body is trying to shove all this glucose into the cell, [but if] you have too much of it, some of this glucose basically spills out into the blood.”

READ MORE: Could Type 2 diabetes be reversed by reducing a protein in fat cells? UBC researchers think so

Fung believes doctors have made a “big mistake” in trying to treat Type 2 diabetes with drugs instead of prescribing a low-carbohydrate diet. He compares a human body to a car to draw an analogy.

“Think of glucose or sugar as fuel — the fuel your body uses as energy, just like you use gas in your car,” said Fung.

Imagine pumping gas into your car so frequently that the gas tank overflows into the backseat of your car and makes you sick.

“Now you know what the problem is. Are you going to keep pumping gas into your car? No,” he explained.

WATCH BELOW: Teen with diabetes dies after prescribed oils instead of insulin — the herbalist is going to prison

Jeffrey Johnson, a pharmacist and professor at the University of Alberta, agrees.

Lifestyle changes such as “dietary changes and [increased] physical activity” have been shown to prevent — and even reverse — Type 2 diabetes.

“A healthier diet and physical activity, like getting 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week… was enough to prevent people at risk of developing diabetes from being diagnosed,” said Johnson.

READ MORE: Diabetes, obesity behind 800,000 cancers around the world, study finds

Johnson offered his father as an example.

“He was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. He was treated with medication, and with time, he changed his lifestyle,” he continued.

“He lost weight, changed his diet and [added] physical activity. He got his blood sugar under control and he was able to stop medication.”

However, Johnson warns that Type 2 diabetes is not always reversible.

“Some people get Type 2 diabetes just as they get older. They might not be overweight or obese,” he said. “For some people, it might not be reversible but for a large portion of the population, it is.”

Diet vs. losing weight?

While weight loss can be a consequence of a low-carbohydrate diet, Fung emphasizes that it doesn’t need to be the end goal.

“Both are important […] but not all types of body fat are equal,” he said. “We’ve focused mostly on getting people better, whether they’re overweight or not.

“There are a lot of people who have Type 2 diabetes who wouldn’t be classified as overweight.”

WATCH BELOW: Getting more than 10 hours of sleep a day? You may be at risk for premature death: study

In Fung’s practice, he focuses more on getting people “metabolically healthy” as opposed to setting weight loss goals.

Increasing daily activity can help, but changing your diet will have the most impact.

“Burning an extra 150 calories by exercising is minuscule — it’s like five per cent of the 2,000 calories you eat in one day,” he said.

“If you have an exam and 95 per cent is English and five per cent of the exam is math, you don’t study each [for 50 per cent] of the time.”

Finding the diet that’s right for you

“There are a lot of different dietary recommendations that can help people lose weight,” he said.

If you are interested in trying to treat Type 2 diabetes with a new diet, he suggests consulting a dietitian first.

“The most important things are starting to track and notice what you’re eating… It could even just be reduced portion sizes,” he said. “Simple decisions like that.”

— With files from Sean Boynton


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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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B12 shots are often unnecessary, but Canadians still spend millions on them – National

by BBG Hub

Vitamin B12 shots are touted by certain celebrities as energy boosters and offered by some spas — but are they really necessary?

For much of the population, no.

According to the latest government data, 96 per cent of Canadians have sufficient vitamin B12 levels based on Health Canada’s recommendations. Stats show that adults aged 40 to 79 only have slightly lower B12 levels.

READ MORE: The best foods to eat for an upset stomach

But according to other research, vitamin B12 deficiency affects about a fifth of older adults and often goes unrecognized.

“Approximately 20 per cent of Canadian seniors are B12 deficient,” said Dr. William Silverstein, the co-author of a new Ontario study on seniors and B12 injections.

Older adults are more prone to B12 deficiency because as we age, our ability to absorb the vitamin can decrease. Silverstein adds that elderly patients “tend to be prescribed medications that reduce the body’s ability to absorb B12,” too.

Still, many older adults are being treated for a B12 deficiency they likely do not have.

Overprescribing B12 shots

Silverstein’s recent study found that nearly two-thirds of Ontario seniors who received vitamin B12 shots had no evidence of a B12 deficiency. The study, published in medical journal JAMA, looked at more than 140,000 people aged 65 and older who were prescribed injections between 2011 and 2015.

WATCH: Vitamins and mineral supplements don’t help prevent cardiovascular diseases, new study says

Researchers found that 64 per cent of seniors who got the vitamin shot actually tested normal for B12 levels or were not tested for the vitamin deficiency at all.

The overprescribing of B12 shots is costing Ontario’s health-care system, Silverstein says.

“We calculated that this practice could be costing nearly $46 million to the system, and so this low-value care may be taking away from other health-care priorities in the province,” he told Global News.

READ MORE: Why aren’t Canadians cooking anymore?

Silverstein said he and his team were unable to determine the cause of the overprescribing but suspect patient demands could be a contributing factor.

“There have also been studies that have shown that only 25 per cent of Canadian physicians are aware of the evidence base surrounding B12 supplementation and so, perhaps, that is contributing as well, but generally, we are unable to say definitively,” he said.

According to Erin MacGregor, a registered dietitian at How to Eat, B12 shots are not only costly, they’re time-consuming. What’s more, MacGregor says that if someone is really low on B12, over-the-counter oral supplements are often sufficient and more affordable.

Previous research found that converting patients to B12 pills from injections could result in millions of dollars in savings.

WATCH: Eating more plant-based food

Silverstein echoes this stance and says the only time people need injections is if they have malabsorption and B12 pills don’t work for them.

Vitamin B12 deficiencies

Our bodies need B12 to make red blood cells, nerves and DNA and to carry out other functions, Harvard Health says. B12 can’t be made by the body and must be gotten from food or supplements, the university adds.

B12 is found in animal-based foods like fish, meat, poultry and dairy. This means that if you are on a vegan or vegetarian diet, you may be at greater risk for a B12 deficiency, Silverstein said. There are certain health conditions that can result in a B12 deficiency, too.

HealthLink BC points out that B12 is normally absorbed by your digestive system, meaning your stomach and intestines.

“Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia usually happens when the digestive system is not able to absorb the vitamin,” the government site says.

READ MORE: Americans snack much more than they used to, and it might be affecting their health

“Patients become B12 deficient when they… take certain medications or have certain conditions that affect its absorption, including Crohn’s, colitis and pernicious anemia,” Silverstein said.

Symptoms of B12 deficiency include fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite and weight loss, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. For seniors, symptoms can include anemia, memory difficulties and trouble with walking, Silverstein said.

WATCH: How healthy are plant-based burgers?

Stephanie Hnatiuk, a Winnipeg-based registered dietitian, says that if someone is concerned about their B12 level, they should get blood work done. She does not advise getting any vitamin or mineral injection without consulting a doctor first.

“Most Canadians do not need to take vitamin B12 injections,” Hnatiuk said.

“The only people who need vitamin B12 injections are those who are unable to maintain normal vitamin B12 levels from food or oral supplements.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Beyoncé’s 22 Days diet: Experts don’t recommend singer’s ‘restrictive’ meal plan – National

by BBG Hub

In a video posted to YouTube last week, Beyoncé gushed to her 19 million subscribers about the plant-based diet she went on to prepare for her 2018 Coachella performance.

It opens with a clip of the singer’s feet.

“This is Day 1 of rehearsals for Coachella,” Beyoncé says as she steps onto a scale. “Every woman’s nightmare… this is my weight. 175 pounds. Long way to go. Let’s get it.”

READ MORE: Macy’s pulls plates after being accused of body-shaming

In the rest of the video, Beyoncé and her trainer, Marco Borges, explained her rigorous diet — “no bread, no carbs, no sugar, no dairy, no meat, no fish, no alcohol,” Beyoncé says — and exercise plan, which included hours of training per day.

Beyoncé also revealed that she did the diet for 44 days instead of 22, double the recommended length of time.

READ MORE: Skipping meals to drink more alcohol? Here’s why that’s a dangerous choice

At one point, she video-calls Borges to show him that she fits into an old costume.

“It’s a very big deal. She’s coming back. I’m coming back,” Beyoncé said.

She and Borges are now selling memberships to the 22 Days Nutrition meal planner for $18 per month or $130 per year. According to the website, members receive “access to tools and foods that empower everyone to become their healthiest self through proper nutrition.”

“Eating a more plant-based diet helped revolutionize the way they thought about food and nutrition,” said Borges.

The program was met with backlash online as fans expressed dismay that Beyoncé would promote such a restrictive diet.

Registered dietitian Abby Langer is also skeptical.

“I think people need to remember that they aren’t celebrities. Not that being a celebrity makes it OK to follow this sort of diet, but Beyoncé has resources that most of us don’t have — like a chef, trainers, assistants,”  she said. “They make it a lot easier for her to follow this kind of [restrictive] eating plan.”

Langer is concerned that the 22 Days diet is so restrictive, it’s actually punishing. She refers to a moment in the Homecoming film — a documentary about Beyoncé’s preparation for Coachella — when Beyoncé complained about being hungry.

READ MORE: ‘The Lion King’ review — Live-action version delivers exactly what you’d expect

“Our body has hunger cues for a reason. They exist because your body wants to tell you something. In our diet culture, we’re accustomed and conditioned to ignore these cues,” Langer said.

She compares being hungry to the urge to urinate.

“If you have to pee, you wouldn’t say to yourself: ‘I’m not going to pee right now, I’m going to wait another hour.’ Our hunger cues are just as important as any other cue your body gives,” she said.

A good way to tell if a diet is too restrictive is if you’re hungry “an hour or two” after you last ate, Langer says.

“This is how you know you’re not feeding yourself adequately,” she added.

READ MORE: When ‘fat acceptance’ movement leaders decide to lose weight

Another worry Langer has about Beyoncé’s diet is its lack of variation.

“I support a plant-based diet 100 per cent but I’m not supportive of diets that are restrictive,” she said. She recommends incorporating a lot of different “whole and minimally processed foods” in your diet, but Langer also believes a bad diet is one that fosters a negative relationship with food.

“I’m not supportive of emotionally and physically punishing diets hiding under the guise of a plant-based diet,” she said.

“We concentrate so much on what we eat but we push to the back-burner the emotional part of it and how food makes us feel. Having a good relationship with food [means] not feeling guilt or shame about eating.”

READ MORE: Anorexia may not only be psychiatric, it could be genetic — study

According to Langer, a plant-based diet can be a very healthy alternative, but it’s important to include “high-quality” protein sources at every meal.

“When people eliminate meat from their diet, they [tend to] rely on things like nuts to provide them their protein… but it takes a lot of those little foods to get what we need,” she said. The average person needs 20 to 25 grams of protein with each meal.

Examples of plant-based sources of protein are beans, lentils, tofu, egg and tempeh.

READ MORE: Katy Perry does enemas to ‘cleanse her body’ — here’s why you don’t need one

Heidi Murphy, a registered dietitian for Loblaw, agreed with Langer.

“A plant-based diet can be very healthy when done properly,” she said. However, she’s worried about avoiding carbs — the main source of “fuel and energy” for the average person.

“When following a plant-based diet, many of the protein sources (such as beans and lentils) also contain carbohydrates so [my concern is] one wouldn’t meet their nutritional needs following this diet,” Murphy said.

“[This diet] would also be limiting many iron- and B12-rich foods so [it] would be especially concerning for young women who are at a higher risk of anemia.”

Limiting your intake of carbs can cause several unpleasant side effects.

“Headache, fatigue, low concentration levels, flu-like symptoms and more,” said Murphy.

“Carbohydrate-rich foods, such as whole grains, are also a source of fibre, B vitamins, vitamin E and phytonutrients… when avoiding [them], you are limiting your intake of these essential nutrients.”

Both Murphy and Langer said short-term diets are mostly ineffective.

READ MORE: Forever 21 accused of ‘triggering’ plus-sized customers after including diet bars in online orders

“When an individual returns to their old eating habits, they regain the weight (and often more), resulting [in] the ‘yo-yo’ dieting effect,” said Murphy. “This not only puts an individual at higher risk of some chronic diseases, it can take a toll mentally and physically.”

Langer agreed, saying restrictive diets are unsustainable.

“As soon as you switch back to your previous eating habits — which will eventually happen whether you like it or not — you’re going to see those results slip away,” she said.

In her experience, short-term diets aren’t worth the physical, emotional, social and financial strain they can inflict. Langer believes it’s fine to want to lose weight but that you should take a more “moderate approach.”

READ MORE: Monkey see, monkey do: Teaching your kid to love their body starts with you

“It’s not worth it to feel like crap and not live your best life,” said Langer. “You want to play the long game here. Life is short. You want to live your best life.”

A diet that prevents you from going out and having dinner with friends is one Langer would avoid.

“Stay away from the more restrictive diets and cutting out things you don’t need to cut out just because a celebrity tells you they’re toxic,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be complicated.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Why aren’t Canadians cooking anymore? – National

by BBG Hub

If cooking a nutritious meal is the last thing you want to do after a long day, you’re not alone.

Olivia Bradford, a 26-year-old public relations manager, often finds herself too busy or too tired to cook — so she turns to takeout.

Bradford, who lives with her fiancé in Vancouver, says they regularly use food delivery services Foodora, DoorDash and Uber Eats around mealtimes.

READ MORE: Meal kits reviews — Are these popular plans worth your money?

“My go-to lunch order on a busy workday is a salad… on the Foodora app, and for dinner, it’s probably sushi from the place under our apartment or Tacofino Yaletown down the street,” Bradford said.

“It really all comes down to convenience. I’m very busy [so] I often don’t have time to prepare meals, and once I get home, I’m too tired or too lazy to cook.”

Nicole Fetterly, a B.C.-based registered dietitian, told Global News that many Canadians simply do not know how to cook or choose not to cook — especially younger generations.

“If we think about maybe 30, 40 years ago, people were still doing the bulk of their cooking at home,” she said. “We really lost that over the last two generations.”

How did we get here?

According to Statistics Canada, 54 per cent of Canadians eat out once a week or more, and 40 per cent of folks say they eat out for convenience, have no time to cook, or do not like/know how to cook.

For millennials, Fetterly says they likely don’t know how to make food if cooking wasn’t a big part of their lives growing up.

For kids who grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s, there was a huge cultural emphasis on microwave meals, pre-packaged snacks and fast food.

WATCH BELOW: 10 things you need to know before buying a meal kit

“There was a lot of pressure to have more participation in sports and activities, and more often than not, two parents working outside of the home,” Fetterly explained. “[There was] a lot of pressure from the food industry saying, ‘You’re too busy to cook, here’s all this convenience.’”

Now, there’s even more convenience with delivery apps like Uber Eats, Foodora and Skip the Dishes. Fetterly says these companies offer such a wide variety of cuisine that users have endless options at their fingertips.

“These external companies that will deliver from any restaurant… are really opening up that palate choice and giving people more options — which isn’t always a good thing,” she said.

READ MORE: How Canadians are keeping their parents’ cooking alive

The ease of ordering food is also attractive for people who simply don’t know how to cook.

What can’t we cook?

Fetterly says there are common foods that many Canadians don’t know how to make — especially fish. She says many people will order it at restaurants, but rarely make their own.

“Fish is something that we dietitians recommend should be on your plate a couple times a week because it’s so much healthier than other animal protein sources,” she said. “In my private practice, people say they are nervous about cooking fish because they don’t know how, and they’re scared of the smell.”

WATCH BELOW: How to cook with fewer tools in the kitchen

Another food that causes confusion is legumes. Fetterly, who is an advocate of plant-based foods, says that many folks don’t know how to cook with things like chickpeas, lentils and beans.

Lastly, she says the art of baking bread has significantly disappeared in recent years.

“Bread used to be such a staple, and in every culture, people baked bread all the time,” she said. “Now… we’re falling to store-bought breads that aren’t going to be as nutritious as the ones that we might have made at home with our own hands.”

How cooking can help us

It’s no secret that eating pre-made or takeout food is affecting our health. Research shows that regular consumption of ready-made meals is linked to obesity.

READ MORE: Are meal delivery kits healthy?

This is likely because restaurant food and pre-made food is often loaded with sugar and salt, and nutritional information is not always clear or accurate, Fetterly says.

“A lot of times we just don’t know what’s in the food, so we’re not provided with ingredient lists or nutrition facts at the bulk of restaurants,” she explained. “There is a change where more of the larger chains are providing that information, but as a dietitian who calculates nutrition facts, I’ll tell you it’s not a perfect science.”

Fetterly says that the food we order on apps or buy from restaurants often doesn’t take the Canada Food Guide into consideration, either.

WATCH BELOW: 5 foods you’re not eating that could help extend your life: study

The recently updated guide says Canadians should eat lots of fruits and vegetables, choose whole grains, and reduce red or processed meat consumption. The guide also suggests eating plant-based proteins, like legumes, beans and tofu more often than animal proteins, like dairy, eggs, meat and fish.

“We also know most restaurant foods are going to have a much smaller percentage of vegetables on the plate compared to our new Canada Food Guide regulations, which say half your plate should be vegetables,” Fetterly said.

Getting back in the kitchen

Aside from health benefits, cooking can be a positive activity to do alone or with a loved one. For some people, cooking or baking is even therapeutic.

READ MORE: ‘I’m tired of hiding’: What it’s like to date while living with diabetes

For Bradford, cooking with her fiancé is a form of emotional bonding. Not only do they enjoy making recipes together, but it’s a change of pace, too. 

“[Cooking] is a great activity to do together and it gives us a chance to disconnect from technology and just enjoy each other’s company,” she said. 

The couple recently invested in a meal kit subscription service in an attempt to break some of their takeout habits. Having a recipe and its ingredients delivered to their door is convenient, but also forces them to the kitchen.

WATCH BELOW: Eating more plant-based food

“When we do cook, we usually make the same meals and don’t get creative,” Bradford said. “We love that HelloFresh gets us out of that routine and helps us make more creative meals.”

Fetterly says she’s seen an uptick in interest around cooking and baking, in part thanks to meal kit subscriptions.

“There’s been an explosion in the food television world and on social media with showing [off] foods,’” she said. “But a lot of the pride in cooking comes from learning and doing it yourself… and I think that’s where some of this [interest] in meal kits comes from.”

“People are looking to really explore flavours and colours — and that’s also what’s going to come out really well on social media.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Anne Hathaway says her brain felt like a ‘computer rebooting’ after breaking vegan diet – National

by BBG Hub

Anne Hathaway first went vegan in 2012 as a way to lose weight for a movie role.

Almost immediately, the actor struggled with low energy levels — a reality that prompted her to ditch the diet altogether nearly two years later.

Hathaway recounts the moment she abandoned her veganism in a recent interview with Tatler magazine.

She was out for dinner with her co-star Matt Damon and her husband when it happened.

“I was the only chick and I’m the vegan, and everyone’s just going with the flow so I asked, ‘Is your fish local?’” Hathaway said. “And they said, ‘Do you see that fjord?’ So I had a piece of salmon, and my brain felt like a computer rebooting.”

READ MORE: Meat lovers, vegetarians and vegans — can people with different eating habits date?

Hathaway’s complaint about veganism is not unusual.

Lauren McNeill, a registered dietitian in Toronto, says the most common complaint from her vegan clients is that they struggle with low energy levels. However, this is probably due to how much — or how little — they’re eating.

“Many people don’t realize when switching over to a vegan diet that you need to be eating much more than you might be used to,” McNeill told Global News.

“Plant-based foods are much less calorie-dense than animal foods, meaning you will likely need to eat more to feel full. People who report low levels of energy on a vegan diet might simply not be eating enough.”

Vincci Tsui, a Calgary-based dietitian, agrees.

“Based on Hathaway’s comments, I’d be curious about what she was choosing on a vegan diet,” she said. “I think it can be a healthy choice for whatever reason you choose to be vegan, but it can require some extra planning to make sure your needs are met.”

McNeill recommends her clients follow the Healthy Plate method.

“…Half of your plate is vegetables or fruit, a quarter of your plate is plant-based proteins (like beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, edamame, nuts or seeds) and a quarter of your plate is whole grains (like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, bulgar, oats or quinoa),” she said.

“Canada’s new food guide is based on this method, and for good reason. This might not be possible all the time, but it’s what we do most of the time that really makes a difference.”

WATCH: Canada’s list of 100 best restaurants revealed

If done properly, a vegan diet should be energizing, satisfying and packed with protein.

“If you are eating a well-balanced, diverse plant-based diet and eating enough food for your body, you will get enough protein,” McNeill said.

Protein is abundant in a plant-based diet, according to McNeill. If you think you need more energy from your meals, try beans, lentils and other legumes, nuts, seeds and soy products like tofu, edamame, tempeh and soy milk.

“We need much less protein than many people think — about 0.85 grams per kg of body weight — meaning that someone who weighs 150 pounds needs about 58 grams of protein per day,” she added.

READ MORE: Meal kits reviews: Are these popular plans worth your money?

Going completely vegan can be intimidating. McNeill understands this, but she wants to emphasize the good that a plant-based diet can do for your health and the environment.

“The livestock sector has been shown to generate more greenhouse gases than all cars, trucks, trains, planes and ships in the world combined, with over 18 per cent of annual worldwide greenhouse gas emissions attributed to farmed animals,” she said.

“Following a plant-based diet has been shown to reduce risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers.”

READ MORE: It’s not just fat and salt that’s killing us — it’s also what we aren’t eating

For McNeill, making an effort to eat more plant-based foods is a step in the right direction, even if you don’t go completely vegan.

“I’m a firm believer that everyone is on their own journey,” she said.

“Most everyone could benefit from incorporating more plant-based meals into their day if going completely vegan doesn’t feel right for them at this time.”

WATCH: Canada’s new food guide: 5 things you should know

However, Tsui — who specializes in disordered eating — warns that veganism can sometimes be used to mask disordered eating behaviour. Before going vegan, Tsui encourages her clients to think about the intention behind the switch.

“Are you doing it because of ethical reasons or because you think of it as ‘healthy?’” she said.

“In the new Canada’s Food Guide, there is a push toward choosing more plant-based foods. However, I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to eat 100 per cent plant-based in order to be healthy.”

Both McNeill and Tsui would recommend that you consult a dietitian to ensure your switch to veganism goes smoothly. Here are some other starting points for staying healthy while on a plant-based diet.

Focus on what you’re adding, rather than on what you’re taking away

When transitioning to a vegan diet, McNeill says there’s a tendency to eliminate foods without finding replacements, and that can be problematic.

“Focusing on what we’re adding in rather than taking away helps to ensure that we’re not cutting out any food groups and getting all the nutrients we need,” said McNeill.

“For example, if you used to love eating scrambled eggs, try replacing it with a tofu scramble. If you always ate a tuna sandwich for lunch, try replacing it with a simple chickpea mash recipe.”

Slowly but surely, your meals will become less dominated by animal byproducts, and soon, they’ll be totally plant-based.

READ MORE: ‘Keto crotch’ — What the keto diet can do to women’s vaginal health

Tsui is also a big proponent of the slow and steady approach.

“Start by taking a look at your eating habits. What are some meals or recipes that you already make that are already vegan or can be made vegan with one or two substitutes? Then branch out from there,” said Tsui.

“It’s very common to dive in with both feet, but people end up getting overwhelmed and then they give up.”

Tsui will often recommend that her clients pick one to two days in the week to designate as “new recipe” days. “If it works out, great, add it to your repertoire. If it doesn’t, it’s just one day of the week,” she said.

A vegan diet will require additional planning to ensure you’re incorporating a variety of foods and vitamins to meet your needs.

Remember, taste changes and evolves over time

McNeill likes to prepare her clients for a new diet that may not be very palatable at first.

“Give yourself some time, and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make the change overnight,” she told Global News.

“There are some people who can go vegan overnight, but most take a much longer time than that to adjust.”

McNeill also recommends working with a registered dietitian when making these changes to ensure you’re not missing any vital nutrients.

WATCH: 5 foods you’re not eating that could help extend your life — study

For Tsui, becoming vegan will be similar to any other change in diet — it will require trying different things.

“It is going to require a little bit of experimentation,” she said. “Maybe you start with the ‘less healthy’ options as part of that transition.”

Tsui has heard from her clients that taste buds adjust over time.

You should be taking vitamins

According to McNeill, if you follow a vegan diet, you should be taking a vitamin B12 supplement with a minimum of 50 micrograms per day, or 1,000 micrograms three to four times per week.

“Some vegan food is fortified with vitamin B12, like most plant-based milk, nutritional yeast and many vegan meat alternatives, but I still recommend taking a supplement for a more reliable source,” said McNeill.

“Not getting enough vitamin B12 can cause anemia, fatigue and difficulty thinking or concentrating.”

READ MORE: Is the key to dieting not dieting at all?

McNeill also suggests clients take a vitamin D supplement whether they follow a vegan diet or not, especially in the winter.

“Some people may benefit from taking a plant-derived omega-3 supplement as well, especially if they don’t consume omega-3-rich foods like flax seeds, hemp hearts, chia seeds or walnuts very often,” said McNeill.

Tsui recommends vitamin B12, vitamin D and omega 3 to both her vegan and non-vegan clients.

“Living in Canada… (vitamin D) is probably a supplement almost everyone needs. We don’t get enough sun here in Canada, and even when we do, we’re bundled up or have sunscreen on,” Tsui said.

“You don’t necessarily have to be vegan to need an omega-3 supplement… it could be anyone not eating two servings of fatty fish per week,” said Tsui.

“Our high omega-3 fish would be salmon, tuna or trout. I always joke that it’s (also the) small, stinky fish, like mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring… although those are less popular.”

READ MORE: This could be the ‘simplest diet in the world’ — here’s how it works

Tsui’s main concern for vegans is finding a vegan source of these supplements since all three are typically derived from animal byproducts.

She recommends working with a dietitian to find what’s right for you, and McNeill agrees.

“Getting regular bloodwork will provide a more personalized look into what changes should be made in your diet or what supplements might be beneficial for each individual,” McNeill said.

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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UBC study reveals cheat day in popular diet may cause some harm

by BBG Hub

A UBC Okanagan study into a popular diet has revealed that a cheat day could be bad for your health.

The researchers said that people on the so-called keto diet should think twice before taking a ‘cheat day.’

According to the researchers, a ‘cheat day’ is a common theme in many diets and the popular ketogenic diet, or keto as it’s better known, is no exception.

WATCH BELOW (Aired June 27, 2018): Does the “Keto” diet pose dangers to your health?

But according to new research from UBC Okanagan researchers, just one 75-gram dose of glucose — the equivalent a large bottle of soda or a plate of fries — while on a high fat, low carbohydrate diet can lead to damaged blood vessels.

“The ketogenic—or keto—diet has become very common for weight loss or to manage diseases like type 2 diabetes,” said Jonathan Little, associate professor in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences at UBCO and study senior author.

“It consists of eating foods rich in fats, moderate in protein, but very low in carbohydrates and it causes the body to go into a state called ketosis.”

WATCH BELOW (Aired Jan. 31, 2019) Meal planning with the revised Canada Food Guide

Little said the diet can be effective because once the body is in ketosis and starved for its preferred fuel, glucose, it begins to aggressively burn its fat stores.

This leads to weight loss and can reverse the symptoms of diseases like Type 2 diabetes.

“We were interested in finding out what happens to the body’s physiology once a dose of glucose is reintroduced,” said Cody Durrer, a UBC Okanagan doctoral student and study first author.

“Since impaired glucose tolerance and spikes in blood sugar levels are known to be associated with an increased risk in cardiovascular disease, it made sense to look at what was happening in the blood vessels after a sugar hit.”

WATCH BELOW (Aired March 12, 2019): Winnipeg event takes a closer look at the keto diet

The researchers used nine healthy young males for their study.  The young men consumed a 75-gram glucose drink before and after a seven-day high fat, low carbohydrate diet. The diet consisted of 70 per cent fat, 10 per cent carbohydrates and 20 per cent protein, similar to that of a modern ketogenic diet.

“We were originally looking for things like an inflammatory response or reduced tolerance to blood glucose,” Durrer said. “What we found instead were biomarkers in the blood suggesting that vessel walls were being damaged by the sudden spike in glucose.”

Super Awesome Science Show Recap: What going keto can do for you

The researchers acknowledge that with only nine individuals in the study, more work is needed to verify their findings. But they added the results should give those on a keto diet something to think about when considering a cheat day.

“My concern is that many of the people going on a keto diet—whether it’s to lose weight, to treat Type 2 diabetes, or some other health reason—may be undoing some of the positive impacts on their blood vessels if they suddenly blast them with glucose,” Durrer said.

“Especially if these people are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease in the first place. Our data suggests a ketogenic diet is not something you do for six days a week and take Saturday off.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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