Posts Tagged "Diet"

25Apr

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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23Apr

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.

[email protected]

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




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27Mar

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.”


READ MORE:
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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5Mar

Pizza and chocolate can be just as addicting as drugs and alcohol, study suggests – National

by BBG Hub

Have you ever opened a bag of chips, only to polish it off moments later?

There could be a scientific reason for that.

According to a new study, pizza, chocolate, chips, cookies and ice cream are the foods most often associated with “addictive-like eating.”

READ MORE: More than half of food produce in Canada is wasted: ‘It would horrify our grandparents’

The goal of the study was to better understand which foods, and properties of those foods, were associated with addictive overeating.

It’s no coincidence that your favourite junk foods (as opposed to fresh produce and other natural foods) top the list.

“The level of processing” is the largest predictor for how addicting a food will be, nutrition expert and study co-author Nicole Avena told Global News.

WATCH BELOW: Health benefits of yogurt





Researchers suggest that food with added amounts of fat and refined carbohydrates (such as sugar and white flour) may have qualities similar to those of drugs, like nicotine or alcohol.

These ingredients “have been shown in other studies to activate reward-related regions of the brain,” Avena said.

“The foods we often tend to overeat and feel compelled to eat might have those effects on our behaviour because of something about them is causing addiction-like changes in our behaviours.”

READ MORE: Eight unhealthy foods that aren’t bad for you

During the study, participants were asked to analyze 35 foods and choose which they most associated with addictive-like eating behaviours.

Researchers then used the hierarchy to investigate which food attributes — for example, fat grams — were related to addictive-like eating behaviour.

Other foods near the top of the list were french fries, cheeseburgers, pop, cake, cheese and bacon. Of 35 foods, the ones least associated with addictive-like eating behaviours were brown rice, apple, beans, carrots and cucumber.

WATCH BELOW: The food insecurity problem is worse than you think





One limitation of the study is that it only included 35 foods, Avena said.

“Larger studies are being planned that include more foods, so we can get a better sense of the different types of foods that people tend to eat, and how they might be associated with addictive eating,” she said.

In addition, Avena admits that it can be difficult to define a “processed food.”

READ MORE: National ad blitz promotes benefits of Canadian beef

“We defined ‘processed’ as marked by the addition of fat and/or refined carbohydrate,” Avena said. In the study, “non-processed” foods were considered to be things like bananas, broccoli and apples.

“For the average person out there shopping and trying to decide which foods are more processed than others, those that are shelf stable are likely to be more processed and contain additives and preservatives,” Avena explained. “Fresh foods, like fruits, vegetables, plain nuts, and meats, are better options as foods that are minimally processed.”

WATCH BELOW: New campaign calls for national school food funding





Another trick for knowing if a product is processed is the ingredients list. “When there are many [ingredients] listed, this is usually a sign that the product is highly processed,” Avena said.

But how do you know if you’re addicted to a food? “Negative consequences” are the biggest indicator of food addiction, according to Avena.

“If you are overeating and it causes you to develop diabetes or be unhappy and you still can’t stop, then there may be an addictive process involved,” she said. “Also, needing to eat more and more to feel satisfied.”

READ MORE: Don’t follow J. Lo’s ‘unhealthy’ 10-day no carb and sugar challenge

To be addicted to food is to have difficulty “reducing intake or saying no to eating something,” said Avena.

It’s a chronic issue, not something that happens once and a while. Eating a slice of pie on Thanksgiving (even though you’re full) is not an indication of food addiction.

It becomes an addiction when it negatively impacts your health and well-being.

WATCH BELOW: Why do you feel so bad when you overeat?





In her book Why Diets Fail, Avena provides advice for fighting overeating caused by food addiction. In her view, distraction is key when a craving presents itself.

“When people indulge a little, it can lead to them to eating more than they intend. A hedonic craving (or a craving for something when we aren’t physically in need of calories) will pass in time, so the key is to distract yourself or remove yourself from the cues that are causing the craving,” she told Global News.

Social cues that can prompt a hedonic cravings — such as ads or logos — are pretty much everywhere we go.

“We can’t avoid them, but we can be aware of the powerful effect they have on us.”

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




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1Mar

‘Keto crotch’: What the keto diet can do to women’s vaginal health – National

by BBG Hub

Everyone’s talking about the keto diet, but no one’s talking about one very off-putting potential side effect of the meal plan: a funky vaginal odour.

The low-carb, high-fat diet places your body into a state of ketosis, wherein you burn fat instead of carbohydrates for energy.

There is no research confirming the existence of “keto crotch,” but according to Calgary-based dietitian Andrea Hardy, it makes sense that the diet would alter the pH of the vagina.

READ MORE: Keto diet plan — Breaking down the low-carb, high-fat diet

“Most of us eat about 30 per cent of our calories for the day as fat,” said Hardy. “The keto diet recommends 70 to 80 per cent of our calories are fat. Excess intake of fats and saturated fats can alter the pH of the vagina.”

Ultimately, an increase in the pH of the vagina can increase the risk of bad bacterial growth. Bad bacteria can cause yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis — and, yes, a bad smell.

The keto diet displaces plant-based foods with foods high in fat. Plant-based foods are high-fibre foods, and “those high-fibre foods are what feeds good bacteria in our gut,” explained Hardy.

WATCH: Tips and tricks for cutting down on how much diet soda you drink





For Hardy, a foul odour, yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis can be a sign that the keto diet isn’t for your body.

“There are some studies to suggest that the keto diet is actually harmful to our microbiomes, simply because it reduces the variety [of foods] and the types of carbohydrates that are so important for feeding those good bacteria,” said Hardy.

That being said, there are some ways to promote good gut and vaginal health while on the keto diet.

READ MORE: Will the keto diet cause your skin to break out?

“Most people that I see doing the keto diet end up doing more of a moderate approach, [which means] consuming a bit more than the recommended five to 10 per cent of their calories as carbohydrates,” Hardy said.

It may also help to speak with your pharmacist or family doctor about using probiotics, which can help reduce your risk of bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections.

However, Hardy doesn’t think the keto diet is a sustainable way to lose weight — especially if you’re experiencing these additional side effects.

WATCH: Meal planning with the revised Canada Food Guide





“Proponents of the keto diet suggest that by eating this low carb, it puts your body into ketosis, which is helpful for weight loss,” explained Hardy. But entering into ketosis requires a very restrictive meal plan that can be hard to maintain.

In addition, the drastic changes that happen to your body during ketosis can have several other negative side effects.

“Ketosis occurs when your body runs out of its primary fuel source: glucose. Our carbohydrate-containing foods get converted to glucose in our body and provide [us] with energy. When we restrict that, our body has to find energy from other sources so it takes other nutrients, fats and proteins and converts them into ketones, which can be used like glucose,” said Hardy.

READ MORE: Researchers want the world to eat differently. Here’s what they might look like

“The reason why people lose weight so rapidly is your body actually stores glucose as glycogen, and for every one gram of glycogen it stores, it stores three grams of water. So when people go on the keto diet, they deplete their glycogen stores and very quickly lose quite a lot of pounds.”

Dehydration, constipation, an increased risk of kidney problems and the “keto flu” are some of the most common negative side effects.

“When you restrict your body from its primary energy source, it survives off its hunger hormones and struggles to get the fuel that it needs,” said Hardy. “People tend to feel unwell, really hungry and fatigued.”

READ MORE: Researchers want the world to eat differently. Here’s what they might look like

Ultimately, Hardy does not recommend the keto diet as a way to lose weight.

“Unless it’s therapeutic for a specific medical condition, I would not recommend the keto diet. For the general public looking to manage their weight, I don’t think the keto diet is appropriate and, frankly, I think long-term, it’s probably harmful to your gut microbiota. Your best bet would be a more moderate, sustainable approach,” she said.

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




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26Feb

Drink diet soda every day? It may be linked to higher chance of stroke – National

by BBG Hub

Diet soda has long been touted as a “healthier” alternative to regular pop, but new research may give you reason to pause before cracking open a can.

According to a study published in American Heart Association journal Stroke, women over 50 who drank more than two artificially sweetened beverages a day had an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and even premature death.

Researchers analyzed the data of nearly 82,000 postmenopausal American women aged between 50 and 79. They found that regular diet pop drinkers were 31 per cent more likely to have a clot-based stroke, and 29 per cent more likely to develop heart disease compared to women who drank the fizzy beverages less than once a week, or not at all.

What’s more, those who drank a couple of sodas a day were also 16 per cent more likely to die from any cause.

READ MORE: Reality check: Is your daily diet soda increasing your risk of dementia, stroke?

“Many well-meaning people, especially those who are overweight or obese, drink low-calorie sweetened drinks to cut calories in their diet,” Dr. Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, the study’s lead author and associate professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said in a statement.

“Our research and other observational studies have shown that artificially sweetened beverages may not be harmless and high consumption is associated with a higher risk of stroke and heart disease.”

WATCH BELOW: Drinking diet soda during pregnancy linked to childhood obesity: study





The study also discovered that diet soda-drinking women without previous heart disease or diabetes were nearly two and a half times as likely to have a stroke caused by small artery blockage in the brain.

Obese women and black women without previous heart disease or diabetes were also at an increased risk for negative health consequences if they drank soda.

While the new findings highlight the relationship between diet pop and health risks, the study does not conclude that artificially sweetened drinks are the cause of heart disease or stroke. More research is needed on how artificial sweeteners, like aspartame, can affect the body, the authors write.

READ MORE: Beverages are still the top source of sugar for Canadians, despite warnings

“We need more studies to assess the health benefits and risks of diet drinks and not assume that a high level of intake is harmless,” author Mossavar-Rahmani told Global News.

“We need to do more research on the impact of these drinks on the human gut microbiome — [for example] whether they change the composition of the gut microbiota — and other health aspects overall.”

The data comes from women in the Women’s Health Initiative, a U.S. long-term study that tracked health outcomes of subjects for an average of 12 years after they enrolled between 1993 and 1998. Since the diet pop data was self-reported, Mossavar-Rahmani says researchers do not have information on the type of artificial sweeteners women were consuming.

WATCH BELOW: Canadians are consuming less sugar than 10 years ago: study





“We need more research on which artificial sweeteners and nutritive sweeteners as well as other ingredients in these drinks, [like] caramel coloring, etc., are healthy and which are unhealthy,” Mossavar-Rahmani said.

Previous studies on diet pop have drawn similar results.

Another American study published in Stroke in 2017 found that drinking artificially sweetened drinks daily could be tied to an increased risk of stroke or dementia. A 2015 study out of the University of Texas found that people — especially seniors — who drank soda regularly gained more weight compared to folks who didn’t drink pop.

The American Health Association suggests water as the healthiest no-calorie option.

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




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11Jan

Chris Pratt embarking on 21-day Daniel Fast, a Bible-inspired diet – National

by BBG Hub

Most diets are focused on weight loss, but Chris Pratt‘s wellness regime has a higher purpose.

In a video posted to Instagram on Thursday, the 39-year-old actor revealed he is on the “Daniel Fast” — a Bible-inspired diet that supposedly brings you closer to God.

WATCH: Intermittent fasting rising in popularity as weight loss plan





“Hi, Chris Pratt here. Day three of the Daniel Fast,” he said in a now-expired Instagram story. “Check it out, it’s 21 days of prayer and fasting. It’s going to coincide also, coincidentally, with the Lego Movie 2 junkets, so by the time you see me, I’ll probably be hallucinating. Stay tuned.”

The Daniel Fast is based on the fasting experiences of the Old Testament prophet, Daniel, and typical Jewish fasting principles, said Susan Gregory, founder of Daniel-Fast.com.

It’s a partial fast, in which people are only able to eat foods grown from seed and drink water. Meats, dairy and all processed foods are not allowed.

READ MORE: The key issues Meghan Markle wants to champion as a royal

“It’s a spiritual fast,” Gregory told Global News. “The reason it’s 21 days is because… Daniel fasted for 21 days.”

Gregory said that the fast “puts your whole being on alert” and brings your focus to God.

“When you’re changing the foods that you eat… you’re crossing over into a different way of behaving in a similar way of when you go on a vacation: you’re thinking differently, you’re preparing differently, you’re acting differently,” she said.

WATCH: Why diets don’t work





“The same thing happens when you enter into a spiritual fast.”

Gregory said people usually have a purpose to their fast, whether it’s learning to pray more, lose weight or work through personal hardship.

While Pratt has not identified his specific reason for the fast, he recently shared his desire to improve his health in 2019.

In a now-expired Instagram story, Pratt revealed he has lacked the motivation to workout.

The Avengers star has also been open about his religious beliefs in the past.

During an acceptance speech at the 2018 MTV Movie and TV Awards, Pratt thanked his family and referenced his Christian faith.

“God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you. Believe that. I do,” he said. “Learn to pray. It’s easy and it’s so good for your soul.”

While working towards health goals is normal, Abby Langer, a Toronto-based registered dietitian and nutritionist, said there’s no physiological reason to go on a Daniel Fast.

WATCH: Resolution posts could be problematic for those with eating disorders: dieticians





“It shouldn’t be harmful unless you have a condition like diabetes, are pregnant or have an eating disorder, but I don’t recommend it,” she told Global News.

“When you fast in this sort of way, you will lose weight, but a lot of that weight is water and muscle so what will happen is as soon as you go off this fast, you’re going to put all the weight back on and you’d have lost muscle — which is really detrimental to your health.”

During the 21 days, Langer said people will experience a change in energy levels, and their daily functioning will be affected.

READ MORE: Want to reboot your life in 2019? You need to ditch emotional baggage

“You’re probably going to feel really, really tired, be in a bad mood and probably not be able to effectively go about your daily activities, and you’ll certainly find it difficult to work out,” she said.

On top of not being a healthy or sustainable way to lose weight, Langer said there are emotional dangers to fasting, too.

“There’s no healthy reason to want to do something like this. It can be very damaging emotionally, especially for people who are predisposed to or have a history of eating disorders, as it can trigger disordered eating,” she explained.

“I don’t recommend it at all.”

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




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6Dec

You can stick to a keto diet during the holidays. But is it worth it? – National

by BBG Hub

Nobody likes to talk about diets during the holidays, but for some keto followers, it could be top of mind this month.

‘Tis the season of overeating, indulging and having a few extra plates of guilt-free dessert, but the keto diet can limit what you can eat or drink. Dubbed as one of the trendiest diets of the year, Forbes reported, the ketogenic diet focuses on eating low-carb and high-fat meals, ensuring your carb intake is less than 50 grams per day.

But some, like Jessica Begg, a registered dietitian of Shift Nutrition based in Calgary, previously told Global News there isn’t a scientific definition of the diet and some people end up cutting out a whole range of food. Either way, it’s popular, and for many, it works.

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

Desiree Nielsen, a registered dietitian based in Vancouver, said ketogenic diets are unique because they activate a completely different type of metabolism. “[It’s] one where the body burns fat to create ketones for energy… instead of relying on glucose,” she explained. “This can be beneficial for people who struggle with insulin resistance or diabetes and have had a difficult time losing weight because of it.”

Keto diets, she added, keep insulin release low and allow the body to utilize its fat stores to create weight loss. “For some, this weight loss can occur while also feeling quite full and satisfied due to a protein and fat rich diet, as some weight loss regimes can lead to hunger and food preoccupation.”

Diets during holidays

But this doesn’t make the diet easy.

“It is a challenging diet to follow, as you have to be very strict to stay in ketogenic metabolism,” she continued.

“Most fruit is off limits, as are all grains and any caloric sweeteners. This represents a departure from how most of us eat and for some, it can be isolating. Whether this is a good approach for you will have a lot to do with what your current diet looks like and your personality around food and eating choices.”

Registered dietitian Abby Langer, told Global News keto diets are long-term efforts and over the holidays, but she wouldn’t deem it “unsafe.”

“It works when you do it right, but that’s only half the story,” she explained. “[The] other half of the story is only a small percentage of the population can sustain it. For all those other people, it’s going to work for the short-term and then it’s not. Are you never going to eat certain foods again?”

For anyone on the diet, however, it’s not always easy to dip in and out. Breaking the keto diet can be hard on the body, Nielsen stressed, and should never be done abruptly.

“[People] could have challenges with blood sugar or electrolyte control, medication interactions or even feel quite sick,” she said. “If someone wants to go off keto before the holidays, they need to start by gradually increasing carbohydrate and taking down their fat and sodium intake with a dietitian to help their body adjust.”

Re-entering a ketogenic metabolism will also take a few weeks post holidays, she added, so if you are already committed, don’t break the diet.

But is it worth it?

The medical and nutrition community have been quite out-spoken about the diet itself, and Langer said it’s nothing more than a fad. She said the popularity of it — recently former porn star, Jenna Jameson, opened up about her 80-pound weight loss with the diet  — makes people more interested, along with the fact that you can lose weight.

Her concern, however, is when people believe the diet can cure all. She had seen discussions on social media for keto can cure cancer or stop aging. “Many make these claims in an era of false promises.”

 

Nielsen said the conversation around the diet is changing and there is more research that is looking into ketosis. “It’s important to note that many ‘low carb’ studies that are quoted in the headlines were not actual ketogenic studies, which are typically less than five per cent carbohydrate. Instead, they looked at a high fat and slightly lower than normal carbohydrate intake, say 30 to 40 per cent…which could be very unhealthy.”

But she strongly cautions people to learn about the diet before doing it.

“You need to work with a dietitian, your physician and pharmacist to ensure you take a healthy approach and manage your medications as the diet causes rapid changes in metabolism that could hurt you if you are on blood pressure or blood sugar lowering medications. This approach isn’t right for everyone and it’s not something I recommend to drop five pounds.”

Keto during the holidays

If you are trying to stick to the diet during the holidays, Nielsen has some tips. “For a festive meal, always offer to bring a keto-friendly side dish and dessert; most holiday meals are centered around meat, which you can consume on a ketogenic diet.”

Having a side dish and dessert will make it easy to enjoy a holiday meal, and guests may be surprised at how delicious their meal is, she said.

“At parties, scan the buffet table for meats, cheese, mixed nuts, eggs and keto-friendly vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower,” Nielsen said. “You might be surprised how easy it is to navigate a party as most holiday dishes are quite rich.”

READ MORE: Will the keto diet cause your skin to break out?

For those who are well-established on their ketogenic diet, a small glass of wine a couple of times a week will probably not alter your metabolism, she added — if you are consuming it with food, that is.

“If you are looking to enjoy a few moderate carbohydrate foods during the holidays, simply plan your non-festive meals to be lower carb than usual to leave space in your daily carb ‘budget’.”

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© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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21Nov

Alicia Silverstone says a vegan diet prevents illness, but is she right? – National

by BBG Hub


Actor Alicia Silverstone recently said that her seven-year-old son has largely avoided illness thanks to his plant-based diet.

At a Good Housekeeping summit in New York City earlier in November, Silverstone said that her son Bear Blu doesn’t need to take medication because he doesn’t get sick.

“He’s never had to take medicine in his life,” the 42-year-old said. “He can get sniffles and a runny nose but he’s not down, he still goes to school. Two times in his life has he been like, ‘Mommy I don’t feel good,’ and it was only for a few hours and he was back running around.”

The Clueless star is a big advocate of veganism, and has stuck to a plant-based diet since she was in her early 20s. Silverstone is vocal about keeping her son on a vegan diet, too.

But does a plant-based diet actually help prevent illness? According to experts, yes and no.

READ MORE: Why diets aren’t working for you – or anyone else

“A plant-based diet is healthy and it has been shown to decrease people’s risks of certain illnesses, but [Silverstone’s] claim is outrageous,” Abby Langer, a Toronto-based registered dietitian, told Global News.

“Certainly antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables can help keep us well, but not in the way or to the extent that she’s claiming.”

Plant-based diets can help with certain illness

Plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, and research shows they can be helpful for those living with obesity, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and lipid disorders.

But Langer said there’s no evidence to suggest that a vegan diet would prevent anyone from catching things like the common cold, strep throat, or a bacterial infection.

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There is a relationship, however, between what you eat and your immune system, Langer said. “I do believe that a diet high in ultra-processed food and saturated fats can lower your immune system and increase your risk of getting certain illnesses.”

This can be combated by eating a healthier diet rich in whole foods — which doesn’t necessarily need to be plant-based.

Not all plant-based diets are equal

While research does suggest there are many benefits to a plant-based diet, it’s important to understand that just because something is vegetarian or vegan doesn’t always make it healthier.

Many meat alternatives, like veggie burgers, can be heavily processed and made with soy and gluten as opposed to whole foods.

READ MORE: Got nut milk? Here’s the nutritional value of ‘milk’ alternatives

The key is to ensure your diet is balanced, and try to eat as much unprocessed food as possible. For those who are vegetarian or vegan, it’s also important to get enough protein, whole grains, and healthy fats. A diet lacking in vitamins and nutrients can negatively affect your well-being.

Bottom line

While there isn’t a guarantee that a certain diet can prevent illness, Langer said that eating healthier does have a positive effect on your overall well-being.

“It’s hard to get good research on people’s diets, especially over the long-term, because no one is sleeping in the lab for 24 years,” she said.

“But we do know that there’s a lot of research that’s been done, and a plant-based diet does appear to positively impact our health in many ways, including reducing the risk of disease.”

With a file from Arti Patel

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© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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2Nov

5 physical signs your diet needs to change – National

by BBG Hub


We’ve typically heard the phrase, “you are what you eat,” and nutrition experts will tell you, so much of this is true.

“Your body disassembles everything you eat and the usable, nutritious components fuel metabolic processes,” said registered dietitian Desiree Nielsen. “When you give your body the correct nourishment, it can functional optimally so you feel your best.”

But our bodies can handle a lot. Not that this is ideal, but Nielsen said we are able to function without optimal nutrition or worse, unhealthy eating patterns from time to time. This, however, is not beneficial over time.

READ MORE: Why diets aren’t working for you – or anyone else 

“Your repair functions literally become spent,” she continued. “This is when chronic disease occurs, but diseases like heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s are usually predated by years of minor ailments like fatigue, skin issues or poor mood.”

Foods change our mood

There has been plenty of research that shows certain food makes us feel tired, fatigued or sluggish. Nielsen said this has to do with blood flow and digestion.

On the flip side, there are also ingredients like caffeine or sugar that keep us energized or alert.

“When you eat a large celebratory meal, your body is shuttling blood flow to the gut for digestion and away from the central nervous system which can contribute to fatigue,” she explained. “Food choices that are high glycemic and lead to blood sugar spikes will also lead to fatiguing blood sugar crashes.”

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But switching to a healthy diet doesn’t always mean instant change. Unless of course, you are dehydrated and you chug a few glasses of water — your body will instantly feel better.

“In the more general sense, moving toward eating more plants and sticking to whole foods over hyper-processed ones, you may start to feel more pep in as little as a few days … but making long-term changes to metabolism will take weeks or months. Food is medicine, but it is gradual, incremental medicine that needs to be applied daily.”

Below, Nielsen highlights some common body changes that could indicate you need to change up your everyday diet.

You’re always constipated

Constipation is a classic sign that your diet lacks fibre and water.

“Dietary fibres add bulk to stools which improves elimination, but fibre also requires water to do its job properly. Without adequate hydration, the body will attempt to reclaim water from the gut, creating the telltale dry, pellet-like bowel movements of constipation,” she said.

Ideally, you should move your bowels daily (although this varies from person to person). But what you can do is eat more fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and consider psyllium, a soluble fibre that helps ease elimination.

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

You have more acne than usual

Acne is a multifactorial concern that is impacted by stress, hormones and diet, she said. “Nutritionally, diet can help target the inflammation that promotes acne; by eating an anti-inflammatory diet that minimizes hyper-processed foods and emphasizes colourful plant foods and omega-3 rich seeds, you can help lessen inflammation.”

She added some (but not all) people find eliminating dairy can help improve their skin and there has been a small body of research that supports this theory, the American Academy of Dermatology  (AAD) noted. However, there are several flaws with some of these studies, in particular, skim milk was more problematic than full-fat milk, AAD reported.

“In addition, ensuring that you eat balanced meals low in sugar and refined flours will help keep blood sugars in check and lessen their impact on inflammatory conditions like acne.”

You’re always getting sick

It’s not just the change in season, it could be your diet. Consider how much zinc is in your diet.

“Zinc is a mineral often associated with protein-rich foods that is important for healing and immune function. People who skimp on protein at meals or those following a lower protein plant-based diet may need extra zinc. In fact, research supports that taking zinc at the first signs of a cold may help lessen its duration.”

READ MORE: More than half of Canadians want to eat less meat, survey finds

You’re always sore post-gym

For the best results at the gym, your diet should be loaded up with iron and protein. “For most active adults, take your weight in pounds and divide it by two to discover how many grams of protein you should aim for in a day.” This, of course, will change if you are an athlete or part of an intense fitness program.

You can find iron in legumes, blackstrap molasses, leafy greens, tofu, seeds and meat. “Take an iron supplement only on your physician’s advice.”

You’re constantly tired

The most obvious cause of fatigue is iron-deficiency anemia. “Iron is critical for ensuring that red blood cells can carry oxygen throughout the tissues,” she said. “However, anemia can also be a sign that you have celiac disease, which means that feeling better will require a strict gluten-free diet.”

Fatigue can also be due to dehydration or a hyper-processed diet that leads to blood sugar fluctuations and inflammation, she explained.

“Cleaning up your diet should always be the first step to battling fatigue. Ensure that you eat grains in their whole and intact form, and create meals that have one to two cups of vegetables and a concentrated source of protein like tofu or fish alongside your veggies and grains.”

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© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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