Canadian Blogs



Juice as a Gateway Drug For Soda

Posted November 24, 2015 by Yoni Freedhoff

Is juice a gateway drink?

That’s the question asked by some Harvard and University of Michigan researchers in their paper, “Juice and water intake in infancy and later beverage intake and adiposity: Could juice be a gateway drink?” (free full text link here)

It may follow. Train your child’s palate to enjoy cloyingly sweet beverages in early childhood and they’ll be more likely to continue consuming them later in life.

To try to shed some light on that question the researchers studied the association between 1 year olds’ juice and water intakes (as reported by their mothers) to their reported intakes of sugar sweetened beverages in early and mid childhood.

After controlling for confounding maternal socio-economic, ethnic (though the authors report that there was limited ethnic variation), and health variables the researchers found that higher juice intake at 1 year correlated with higher juice and sugar sweetened beverage intake, and higher weights, at early and mid childhood.

Juice is a glass of sugar water with a small smattering of vitamins. It’s not sating. It has little if any fibre, and it is stripped of much of the originating fruit’s phytonutrients. The World Health Organization, Canada’s Heart and Stroke Foundation, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Pediatric Society all caution against its regular consumption.

Juice is basically flat soda pop, and should be treated as such, with the aim being the consumption of the smallest amount of juice you need to enjoy your life, and its marked limitation in children.

[Thanks to Laval University’s Dr. Michel Lucas for sending this study my way]

Full Story »


What I Learned Actually Reading That New Low-Fat Diets Are Dead Study

Posted October 30, 2015 by Yoni Freedhoff

So last night the embargo lifted on a study that looked at low-fat diets and weight loss. I read the article a few days ago as it was sent to me so that I could discuss with the CBC. Given the tenor of the discussion I’m seeing on Twitter right now, I’ve decided to share the 7 tweets I posted yesterday that coincided with the embargo’s lifting.

1. So embargo now lifted on meta-analysis that found low-fat diets no better than any other diet for weight loss.

— Yoni Freedhoff, MD (@YoniFreedhoff) October 29, 2015

2. Study did find that calorie restricted low-fat had worse outcomes than non-calorie restricted high fat (low-carb) diets.

— Yoni Freedhoff, MD (@YoniFreedhoff) October 29, 2015

3. But what’s amazing to me is that diet proponents and the media are going to be shouting about a study that in the end is quibbling

— Yoni Freedhoff, MD (@YoniFreedhoff) October 29, 2015

4. about weight losses amounting to just 5-7lbs in a year, and differences of 1-2lbs between diets. Ultimately study shows all “diets” suck.

— Yoni Freedhoff, MD (@YoniFreedhoff) October 29, 2015

5. That all diets suck isn’t news. Nor do findings provide brag-worthiness to diets conferring an additional 1 or 2lbs of yearly losses.

— Yoni Freedhoff, MD (@YoniFreedhoff) October 29, 2015

6. Biggest predictor of longterm success is whether or not U actually enjoy your life/diet while losing. If you don’t, weight’s coming back.

— Yoni Freedhoff, MD (@YoniFreedhoff) October 29, 2015

7. Inconvenient truth of healthful living is that it does require effort, but if effort is perceived as suffering, it’s not going to last.

— Yoni Freedhoff, MD (@YoniFreedhoff) October 29, 2015

Full Story »


We’ve Got a Serving Size Problem

Posted October 28, 2015 by Yoni Freedhoff

Will posting more realistic serving sizes on packages help consumers make wiser choices?

I certainly used to think so.

The thinking was straightforward. If faced with the high calories (or sugar, or salt, or whatever an individual might themselves be focused on reducing) identified by a more realistically portrayed serving size, people might eat less.

Recent research however calls that thinking into question. A study published this year in the journal Appetite found that proposed changes to include more realistic serving sizes led those utilizing them, in laboratory settings, to serve themselves and others more, and that the serving sizes were perceived as amounts that people were supposed to eat.

What the study did not show was whether or not more realistic serving size postings would impact upon the frequency with which people ate a particular product, or whether they might lead them not to purchase certain products in the first place – behaviours which in turn would support the practice.

But those questions aside, the research was pretty clear in that the public’s perception of “servings” including the erroneous notion that they were recommended amounts.

Makes me wonder whether or not having a dual column nutrition facts panel that includes a commonly consumed portion amount alongside the whole package coupled with the removal of the word “servings” would help (see up above)?

Future research for someone I’m sure.

Full Story »


This New Kids and Sugar Study Will be All Over the News Today

Posted October 27, 2015 by Yoni Freedhoff

Though the study’s title, Isocaloric Fructose Restriction and Metabolic Improvement in Children with Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome (free full text link), definitely doesn’t read like Buzzfeed clickbait, it’s bound to make the news. Its lead author is UCSF anti-sugar crusader Dr. Rob Lustig and the study highlights the impact of a 10 day experiment whereby 43 children with obesity and metabolic syndrome saw their added sugar and fructose replaced with starch.

The rationale Lustig presents for the study is straightforward. The world is seeing a rise in the incidence of chronic non-communicable diseases in childhood including of course obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dyslipidemia, and non-alcholic fatty liver disease. Many finger the Western diet as the primary culprit and it’s no secret that Lustig believes that it’s the added sugars in the Western diet that fuel illness. What he and his lab set out to do here was to see if reducing added sugar and fructose while keeping calories and carbohydrate levels constant, would have an impact on the metabolic parameters of metabolic syndrome – an outcome you would expect if added sugar had unique risks.

The study measured oral glucose tolerance (OGTT), insulin, blood pressure, lipids, liver enzymes, body composition, and body weight, and through the intervention dietary sugar intake reduced from 28% to 10%, and fructose from 12% to 4%, of total daily calories. In a bid perhaps to preserve some realism, the reduction in sugar occurred not by way of sudden and complete home cooking, but rather included the use of no- or low-sugar added processed foods that were purchased in local supermarkets and was noted to include items such as turkey hot dogs, pizza, bean burrritos, baked potato chips, and popcorn.

The results saw diastolic blood pressure decrease by 4.9mmHg, fasting blood sugar by 0.3mmol/L, fasting insulin by 53%, peak insulin by 56%, and insulin area under the curve (for the OGTT) by 57%. There were also decreases seen in triglycerides, liver enzymes, and lactate, while glucose tolerance was found to increase.

Confounding the results was a slight weight loss (1kg) whereby perhaps the benefits seen were consequent to the loss and not the reduction in added sugar. Though that’s a remote possibility (remote in that we’re talking about just a 2lb loss), looking at the 10 children whose weights remained constant, their results were in-line with the group’s as a whole. Also confounding the study was the use of dietary recall. Again here, I look forward to the day that we have more robust means of tracking dietary intake. The study’s also small and short which too will lead to critique.

Ultimately this study furthers Lustig’s assertion that added sugar and fructose are uniquely dangerous to health beyond their simple contributions to excess calorie consumption and weight.

Of course the bottom line for all of us isn’t really news. Calories count, but so too do their quality.

Full Story »


Why Buying Big Box Food at Costco and Walmart Might Not Save You Money

Posted October 21, 2015 by Yoni Freedhoff

Simply put, portion size research has clearly demonstrated that we pour more from larger containers.

One famous experiment compared “usage volume” of cooking oil, spaghetti, and M&Ms.

Subjects poured 22% more oil, 23% more spaghetti, and 52% more M&Ms from their respective larger containers (vs. small ones).

So when you buy that next giant sack of food at a big box discount store, unless the by weight savings is greater than roughly 25%, you might well not be saving yourself any money, and you’ll almost certainly be adding to your unconscious/mindless eating.

Full Story »


5 Reasons why you should regularly attend your product’s training classes

Posted April 6, 2015 by Anonymous

by Saeed Khan If you work on a product that requires a training class, your product is way too complex!!! OK, just kidding.   If you work in the B2B space, it’s almost guaranteed that there is a training requirement for your product. The training may be delivered face-to-face in a classroom setting, or over the […]

Full Story »


Study Finds Teens Are Less Reliant On Social Networks

Posted January 6, 2015 by Anonymous

Social networks, the term has come to mean more than one thing in our society. And this particular study can really throw you for a loop if you focus on what most of us now think of when we say […]

Full Story »

The Latest