Archive | September, 2011

Healthy Eating Made Easy: Just Follow the ‘Stars’

19 Sep

UofG’s own Prof. Alison Duncan, showed off her telegenic side during a feature interview on Canada AM today.

Adding to the many hats she already wears (HHNS Associate Professor, HNRU Associate Director of Research, organizational guru, super nice person overall), Alison is also a member of the scientific advisory panel for Canada’s new ‘Guiding Stars’ program – a comprehensive and easy-to-use nutritional rating system for the overall quality of food products.

To learn more about the ‘Guiding Stars’ program and how it may help you better navigate your way around supermarket shelves, click on the image below to jump to footage of Alison’s interview. (Note: be sure you’re on the video log for today, September 19th. If you’re pressed for time and don’t feel up to watching the entire show, skip the time cursor to the 10:15 mark to catch her).

Awesome job, Alison!! 🙂

Healthy Nibbles: 12 September 2011 Edition

18 Sep

From our eyes to yours … here’s what’s up in health and nutrition news for the week of September 12th, 2011:

Being able to read food labels requires a basic understanding of some common nutrients and how much of each should be consumed on a daily basis. When it comes to actually understanding food labels, however, it’s important to consider not only the explicit information provided, but also the less obvious implicit information that is all too often overlooked. To help read between the lines, here’s a run down of some of the common ways that food labels may mislead consumers. [Health Zone] Missing from this list, however, …

… are a few ‘hidden’ (and really rather questionable) ingredients that are often glossed over on nutrition facts panels. [Washington Post] If all of this ambiguous and misleading labeling has you questioning your competency as a health conscious consumer, fear not, …

… a novel nutrition rating system is stepping into the Canadian spotlight to help delineate some of the confusion surrounding food labels. According to the new ‘Guiding Stars’ program, ingredient and nutritional content information is integrated into a single, comprehensive rating such that the more stars a food product receives, the better its overall nutritional value. Extra stars for those of you who recognize the HHNS faculty member who was not only mentioned in this article, but who also serves as a member of the scientific advisory panel for the program. [Globe & Mail]

Student life is typified by the (0ver) consumption of various hallmark beverages. After all, the process of grant/ethics/term paper/thesis writing seems to necessitate bottomless cups of coffee, beer, and energy drinks (not necessarily in that order). That being said, it pays to know how some common beverages contribute our overall health, and how each of them stack up when it comes to quenching thirst or adding pounds. [Health Zone]

Food accessibility is just one aspect of promoting healthy consumption. The other, often more complex component is actually getting people to take advantage of it. Such is the challenge that administrators of Novato High School in California are currently experiencing. In spite of valiant efforts to MAKE cafeteria meals more healthy, some students are still opting to buy their food from local food trucks that cater to cravings for less healthy options such as hot (are you kidding me?!) Cheetos. On the bright side, at least these teens are getting some exercise by walking to and from these food trucks, right? Small comfort, I know. Can’t blame a girl for trying to be optimistic. [NY Times]

Healthy Nibbles: 05 September 2011 Edition

11 Sep

It’s (already) September, which means the start of a whole new school year. Here’s hoping that the new 2011/2012 HHNS cohort is off to a healthy start!

From our eyes to yours … here’s what’s up in health and nutrition news for the week of September 5th, 2011:

Funny thing about school, no matter how on top of things you are at the beginning of the semester, assignment deadlines have a way of inevitably creeping up REALLY fast (talk to me when you’re working on your HHNS*6320 Lit Review). Regardless of whatever stress this semester might throw your way, don’t be fooled by the myth that stimulant medications, such as Ritalin, can improve academic performance. In healthy persons, it could in fact end up doing more harm than good. [Health Zone]. Instead, …

… when crunch time hits and your already maxed out attention span can use some help, rather than reaching for Ritalin, how about upping your intake of some common brain boosting foods? To ensure that your brain cells are receiving a sufficient amount of the various fuel sources it needs to function at its best, registered dietitian Leslie Beck offers some healthy food suggestions. Alternatively, you could just put off procrastinating (get it?? :)). [Globe & Mail]

The efficacy of the Weight Watchers diet program is now backed not only by Jennifer Hudson’s celebrity endorsement, but also by results from a recent randomized clinical trial. Specifically, compared to attending monthly weight loss meetings with a physician, Weight Watchers participants lost twice as much weight, and lowered both their cholesterol and fasting insulin levels after one year of being on the program. Could it be … a believable celebrity endorsement? [TIME Healthland]

To help encourage more adventurous eating in tots, researchers from Lougborough University suggest that eating together as a family is more effective than pressuring (nagging) little ones to eat their brussel sprouts (or as my nephew calls them, mini brains). According to UofG’s own Prof. Jess Haines, Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, eating together is in fact just one way that parents can promote healthy eating behaviours in children. Just make sure that as an adult role model, you’re setting a good example by eating your own brains … I mean brussel sprouts. [Science Daily]

In nutrition circles, sun exposure is synonymous with vitamin D (hence its moniker, the sunshine vitamin). But when it comes to dietary sources, the availability of vitamin D is rather limited. Thanks to a new commercial processing technology, however, food scientists have found a way to pack the abundance of UVB synthesized vitamin D into a tiny little mushroom. Combining safe sun practices AND adequate nutrient intake by tanning the food instead of the consumer – brilliant! [Science Daily]