Tag Archives: Food Accessibility

Healthy Nibbles: 26 March 2012 Edition

2 Apr

From our eyes to yours … here’s what was up in health and nutrition news for the week of March 26th, 2012.

Pic courtesty of J. Mulik

Who says eating healthy is too expensive? At a mere $0.25 per casserole, the Florida non-profit group “Feeding Children Everywhere” is making it unbelievably affordable. Talk about getting some serious bang for your buck. [Vancouver Sun]

Even the success of shedding weight may not be enough to overcome the stigma of having been overweight or obese. In young children, maintaining a healthy self-esteem post-weight loss may be just as big a challenge as losing the weight in the first place. [Healthland TIME]

Since when did ‘convenient’ become a dirty word? Since it started compromising the long-term health of children, says Mark Tremblay, the guidelines committee chairperson for the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. According to Tremblay, daily exercise should never take a back seat to more sedentary activities, regardless of however more convenient for busy parents. Ever. [Vancouver Sun]

According to a recent study published in the Public Health Nutrition journal, the risk of developing depression appears greater for frequent fast food patrons compared to those who eat fast food only occasionally. Seems like the McDonalds “Happy Meal” may in fact be somewhat of a misnomer. [Science Daily]

Finding it hard to tune out the voices of cakes and cookies calling your name? Here are a few tips to help you curb those cravings for sweets. [Vancouver Sun]

Even at the best of times, healthy eating can be a challenge for many. While on vacation, it can be nearly impossible. Here are a few tips to help you keep up your healthy eating regimen while you’re winding down. [Vancouver Sun]

Healthy Nibbles: 20 February 2012 Edition

27 Feb

From our eyes to yours … here’s what’s up in health and nutrition news for the week of February 20th, 2012:

Even the smallest choices can eventually add up to big differences on the scale. It therefore helps to be mindful of how to make the right choices, everyday, to ensure the scale is tipping in the right direction. [Globe & Mail]

Gluten-free diets have taken the diet spotlight as of late, but how much do you really know about them? Before jumping onto the gluten-free bandwagon, be sure to carefully consider all available information. After all, there’s still a lot that the experts themselves are unsure of. [Healthland TIME]

Forget Wheaties™. Believe it or not, the new breakfast of champions may in fact include a modest portion of cake, cookies, or ice cream. [NY Times]

Are the current formulas used to predict weight loss setting people up for disappointment? Forgetting to take into account that metabolic rate can change during weight loss could make the difference between missing and meeting target goals. [Guardian UK]

When it comes to regulating the types of foods available to school-aged children, just how strict is too strict. Not surprisingly, the answer depends on who you’re asking. [NY Times]

The saga continues: when it comes to weight gain, is it the quality or quantity of calories that matters? [Science Daily]


Healthy Nibbles: 10 October 2011 Edition

17 Oct

From our eyes to yours … here’s what’s up in health and nutrition news for the week of October 10th, 2011:

Groupon, the online group shopping incentive (think group + coupon), has heads turning in Indianapolis for its recent deal-of-the-day on … wait for it … breast milk. That’s right, human B.R.E.A.S.T milk. While the purported health benefits of breast milk are numerous, not all new moms may be able to produce and supply sufficient amounts of it. This particular groupon therefore aims to make accessing it from other sources (i.e. donors) more affordable, essentially bridging yet another gap in nutrition accessibility. Is it weird that since hearing about this groupon all I can think about is Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath? [Healthland TIME]

Thanks to the collaborative effort of researchers from Australia and the United States, another piece of the obesity puzzle has been put into place. Not only does this research highlight the discovery of a novel protein influencing leptin sensitivity (or more specifically, leptin IN-sensitivity), but also that the timing of leptin modulation can impact obesity progression. Just another reminder that there is far more to solving the obesity problem than a simple balancing of calories in and calories out. [Science Daily]

Speaking of modulating sensitivity, researchers from Duke University have found that sensitivity to simvastatin (Zocor®), a conventional pharmaceutical therapy for high cholesterol, may be influenced by the type of microbes present in the gut. Not only does this finding suggest a novel means by which to pre-screen for simvastatin responsiveness (i.e. by identifying what kinds of microbes are present), but also a relatively simple way to improve treatment efficacy (i.e. by consuming simvastatin-friendly probiotics). [Healthland TIME]

Too much of a good thing, any good thing, is rarely a good idea. In fact, according to recent research examining the risk of death in older women and prostate cancer prevention in men, too much of certain supplements may actually do more harm than good. Though a necessary means to compensate for an existing nutrient deficiency, researchers caution against the unnecessary OVER-use of supplements. Instead, they suggest adopting a healthy diet as a safer alternative to achieving optimum nutrient balance. Adding further credence to the benefits of whole foods …

… are the results from a new study out of Oregon State University which suggest that the bioactive constituents of broccoli may be best consumed in vegetable form, rather than as an isolated supplement, in order to maximize their beneficial anti-cancer health effects. Just how many more times does it need to be said? Eat. Your. Vegetables. Even just a little bit, everyday. [Science Daily]

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: 22 August 2011 Edition

31 Aug

After a brief hiatus to cope with yet another semester’s end (sporadic madness … such is the life of a student), NUTRInitiative’s weekly link dump is gearing up to get back on schedule. Okay, so technically this post is a little past due, but better late than never, non?

From our eyes to yours … here’s what (was) up in health and nutrition news for the week of August 22nd, 2011:

There are always two sides to every story. After touting the many benefits of farmers’ markets, here’s the flip (down) side of that story. Supply and demand – it’s economics 101 and clearly nothing, not even farmers’ markets, are immune to its principles. [NY Times]

Choosing one’s words carefully is never more important than when discussing life’s sensitive topics. Throw children into the mix and it becomes even more imperative. As such, critics of a forthcoming children’s book, Maggie Goes on a Diet, are debating the nuances of verbiage. According to them, there are two very different messages being conveyed when talking about dieting versus healthy eating. Whatever happened to just silly rhyming fun circa Green Eggs and Ham? Unless of course that has since transformed into an Atkins Diet promotion – in which case, man am I getting old! [TIME Healthland]

Pop is definitely high up on the list of the most miscreant empty calorie foods. Replacing it with other more nutrient rich beverages is therefore one of the fundamental strategies for curtailing obesity. Such is the rationale behind NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed purchasing ban on pop by food stamp users. What about instead of banning food stamp users from buying pop retailers just jack its price up REALLY high and make fruits and vegetables much cheaper instead? After all, it’s not just the impoverished that stand to benefit from accessible nutrition incentives – we could ALL use some extra encouragement in that regard. [NY Times]

Metabolic rate makes a difference, especially when it comes to weight loss.  Given that there is a lot of inter-individual variability in metabolic rate, researchers from the National Institutes of Health have developed a mathematical algorithm and online program that simulates how changes in diet and exercise can differently affect a person’s individual metabolism and, as a result, predict any subsequent weight changes. Yet another innovative marriage between math and science … kind of makes me wish I wasn’t quite so mathematically challenged. [Science Daily]

It’s a well-known fact that shopping on an empty stomach inevitably leads to unhealthy food choices and excessive spending. Darn you peanut M&Ms for being so delicious and easy to grab! To help avoid financial pit falls while stocking up on food, here are some common grocery store marketing strategies to be wary of and tips on how to avoid succumbing to them. [Health Zone]

A Picture Perfect Trip to the Farmers’ Market

8 Aug

Once the warm weather hits there’s no shortage of fun things to do outside. For me, cruising a farmers’ market is definitely one of them. Apart from being able to score some wicked fresh and tasty food (often for much cheaper than you’d pay at a grocery store), you can also get a bit of exercise and, if it’s an outdoor market, some vitamin D as well. What’s not to love, right?

If I haven’t yet convinced you to check one out, well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words. Hopefully in this case, it will be worth a thousand (healthy) bites instead!

Cheers to J.Mulik for the many mouth-watering photos, and to all the friendly vendors who graciously allowed for their product to be captured on film – especially the reps from Organic Chef Foods Inc. and Anthony’s Farming & Pruning Co.