Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Maple Leaf Foods. I have been compensated for my time, but as always all pictures and opinions are my own. I feel good about this initiative by Maple Leaf, and am happy to share it with you! Recently I had the opportunity to visit the Maple Leaf Foods head office in Toronto, and listen to President and CEO Michael McCain, talk about big changes made to the foods they make. Maple Leaf Foods has made a promise through their Food Manifesto, that their food is only made with real, simple or natural ingredients. These are […]
The post Maple Leaf Foods New Food Manifesto for Real Food is Good News for Us! appeared first on A Pretty Life In The Suburbs.
If you even remotely follow dieting zeitgeist, there’s no doubt you’ve come across intermittent fasting.
Briefly, intermittent fasting involves, yes, intermittently fasting. Sometimes for 8 hours a day. Sometimes for 24 hours. Sometimes even more.
And if you’re wondering if it’s for you, the simple answer is, if you find it helps you to control calories and weight, and you enjoy it enough to keep doing it, then go for it.
But putting aside the needing to enjoy living with it part for a moment, and assuming everyone could happily follow this strategy forever, would intermittent fasting lead to a greater weight loss than plain old old-fashioned dieting?
That was the question researchers in Norway recently took on, and their paper, Effect of intermittent versus continuous energy restriction on weight loss, maintenance and cardiometabolic risk: A randomized 1-year trial, has some answers.
The style of intermittent fasting they chose to study was the 5:2 style, whereby 5 days a week you eat normally, and then 2 days a week you eat no more than 400 calories if you’re a woman, or 600 calories if you’re a man. They compared a year worth of this approach to a year worth of reducing total daily calories by the same theoretical amount as the 5:2 fasting would provide but spread out evenly over 7 days rather than the 2. In all, 112 middle aged people with obesity were randomly assigned to one of the two treatments and then followed for a year – the first 6 months being a weight loss effort, and the next 6 months weight maintenance. All participants received individualized counselling, were trained in cognitive behavioural methods to help with adherence, and encouraged to follow, whether fasting or not, a Mediterranean style diet. The outcomes studied were weight loss, waist circumference, blood pressure. lipids (including ApoB), glucose, HbA1C, CRP, and RMR.
Participants were also asked to rate their degrees of hunger, well-being, and overeating quarterly.
Follow up was terrific, with only 4 lost in the intermittent fasting group, and 3 in the continuous.
Outcomes wise, at a year, weight loss (and the spread of weight loss with identical percentages of participants achieving 5-10% and >10% weight loss) and weight circumference were the same. There was also no difference to the various measured metabolic parameters.
In fact pretty much the only between group difference was hunger, whereby the intermittent fasters, when rating, “I have often felt hungry while on the diet”, reported significantly more hunger (p=0.002).
Which brings me back to my wholly unsurprising tl:dr summary: Intermittent fasting provides no magical weight loss benefits, and is hungry making, but if you enjoy it, it’ll probably work just as well, but not better, than anything else.
Thanks to the Canada Child Benefit, 9 out of 10 families are getting more money to provide for their children. On July 20th, the CCB will increase to keep up with the cost of living, giving Canadian parents even more money each month for clothing, scho…
Today’s guest post, a review of The Picky Eater Project 6 weeks to Happier, Healthier, Family Mealtimes, was written by Christine McPhail MSc RD. Full disclosure: I was given a review copy of the book by Dr. Muth.
I work with parents, and picky eating is a common issue. Fortunately, there are some general recommendations that I can review such as following the division of responsibility in feeding, where parents are responsible for the what, when and where of feeding and children are responsible for whether they eat and how much they eat out of what parents offer. Within this, I ask parents to focus on neutrality when offering different foods, bridging from foods their family already enjoys, involving children in grocery shopping, growing food and cooking for buy-in and avoiding pressure in general to eat more or less of certain foods.
The most important part of addressing picky eating with my clients is working on practical steps collaboratively with them. That’s where I have found the resources within The Picky Eater Project: 6 weeks to Happier, Healthier, Family Mealtimes by Natalie Digate Muth MD, MPH, RDN, FAAP and Sally Sampson from CHOPCHOP MAGAZINE to be very insightful and useful.
Here is what I liked about this book:
The only issue I had about the picky eating project was the risk associated with labelling your child as picky i.e. they live up to the expectation. On the other hand, with the family-focussed nature of the book the journey is not simply for the “picky” child, it’s for the whole family to expand their palette in an open and honest way that includes all family members.
Christine McPhail MSc, RD is one of our Registered Dietitians at the Bariatric Medical Institute (though is moving on soon to work with the eating disorders team at Hopewell). Christine has worked in academic, clinical and public health nutrition settings and has been fortunate to have worked on projects relating to food sustainability, food security, food policy and politics, childhood nutrition, body image, and school nutrition programs. She believes in the power of connecting with your food from farm to table. She feels fortunate to share this passion with her clients, as she helps them strengthen their relationship with food and learn more about nutrition.
|By https://www.flickr.com/photos/150594450@N07/ [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons|
Hilda Bastien, in PLoS, on what the PREDIMED retraction and republication means for the Mediterranean diet.
Roxanne Gay, in The Undefeated, on trying to find her way back to her body following weight loss surgery and life as a whole.
Daniel Summers, in Slate, on introducing his husband to his childhood, homophobic, preacher.
Ottawa, ON – Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, will deliver remarks at a Laurier Club donor appreciation reception in Calgary on July 7, 2018. The Liberal Party of Canada has committed to the strongest standards in federal politics for openness and transparency, and is challenging other parties to do the same. […]
Why an ancient toddler was likely able to scamper up trees better than her parents
The abandoned villages around the doomed Chernobyl Nuclear Plant have turned into a ‘wildlife reserve.’
Arctic archaeologists are racing against time to save the sites from looters and from being destroyed by natural forces.
Scientists hope that one day this technology might curb violent behaviour.
|Source: Obesity Canada Image Bank|
Today’s guest post is from my good friend and colleague Dr. Ximena Ramos-Salas, and she penned it at my request after I saw her being attacked on social media by fat acceptance advocates. Why? Certainly not because she doesn’t support fat acceptance, but rather because she also believes that if a person with obesity wants medical help to try to reduce weight that for them may be having a detrimental impact on their health or their quality of life, they should have access to it. And herein she writes about a strange dichotomy, whereby it would seem that for at least some of the more vocal members of the fat acceptance community, one cannot be simultaneously supportive of fat acceptance, and also of the promotion of the treatment of obesity. Ximena (and I) would disagree
The Dichotomy of Obesity and Fat Acceptance Narratives
The field of weight bias is diverse, and there are scholars working in medical, social, and political sciences and across disciplines such as psychology, obesity, eating disorders, health care, and policy (1). Although, we might expect a common goal (i.e. eliminate weight bias and stigma) between these fields of research, their narratives can be quite dichotomized.
While working on my doctoral dissertation I had the opportunity to learn from many of these research areas and disciplines. In my opinion, these areas and disciplines are not mutually exclusive and there is room for constructive collaborations. In a recent commentary, my colleagues and I deconstructed these dichotomized narratives to help us understand the tensions between them (2). We argue, that while we should always remain critical of our own academic and personal perspectives, practices, and beliefs, a basic tenet of scholarship is to be able to have a respectful dialogue with other scholars.
Unfortunately, based on my recent experiences working between these narratives, I have decided that I am no longer willing to engage in what I consider disrespectful personal attacks.
It all started when I participated in a panel discussion regarding the use of person-first-language (to which I was invited by the organizers to advocate for). The panel discussion quickly escalated into a broadside against the medical establishment labeling obesity as a chronic disease. Rather than debating the pros and cons of people-first language, the panelists launched head on into ad hominem attacks on obesity scholars, questioning both our morality and ethics.
While I argued that using person-first-language was a widely accepted approach in the chronic disease world to accommodate and support individuals in the health system, fat-acceptance advocates argued that calling obesity a chronic disease is a major social injustice because it implies that all fat people are ill and need to lose weight. This, in their minds, actually increased weight bias and stigma.
Never mind that in my view (and that of an increasing number of obesity experts) obesity needs to be diagnosed and treated as a chronic disease only when weight affects a person’s health.
Never mind that as a life-long feminist, I am a strong believer in promoting body diversity and inclusivity.
Never mind that my own engagement and research is entirely dedicated to fighting weight bias and discrimination in health, education, and policy setting (3, 4, 5, 6, 7).
None of this seemed relevant – there was simply no room for respectful discussion or thoughtful exchange of perspectives.
To be fair, I fully understand and support the notion that people who identify as fat deserve to be treated with respect and should not be pressured into seeking medical help that they don’t want or need. On the other hand, I also fully understand and support people with obesity, who have made the personal decision to reach out for help and strongly feel that they should have access to adequate and respectful health care, including access to evidence-based obesity treatments.
Last year, I watched the same type of attacks on Obesity Canada’s (formerly known as Canadian Obesity Network) Facebook page. In response to a post about bariatric surgery, I witnessed how very quickly, a discussion of the pros- and cons- about bariatric surgery turned into a moral and dogmatic shouting match. While individuals, who had chosen to undergo bariatric surgery asked to be respected for their decision, the fat acceptance proponents accused them of having internalized weight bias and, by supporting bariatric surgery, being guilty of supporting “eugenics” against fat individuals. Once again, the argument was made the framing obesity as a chronic disease increases weight bias.
However, findings from a recent Canadian study indicate that understanding obesity as a chronic disease has a positive impact on emotions which can in turn reduce negative attitudes against people with obesity. Hence, framing obesity as a chronic disease and using person-first-language may be a way to reduce weight bias.
Despite growing evidence that framing obesity as a chronic disease may reduce weight bias, personal attacks towards my research on obesity has continued. In response to an article about my research on the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health website, I was once again personally attacked. This time, the attacks related to me being a thin person doing fat research. Apparently, as a thin person I “cannot be trusted to do work on fatness or fat people”. Once again, I was accused of trying to eliminate fat people and contributing to medical eugenics.
Whether or not the modest overlap between the narratives allows for finding a common ground that can lead to a constructive discussion remains to be seen. But the way forward cannot lie in resorting to disrespectful personal attacks and questioning the opponents’ intentions and morality. Clearly, we all want the same thing, which is for all people to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their size or weight.
1. Nutter S, Russell-Mayhew S, Arthur N, Ellard JH. Weight Bias as a Social Justice Issue: A Call for Dialogue. Canadian Psychology. 2018;59(1):89-99.
2. Ramos Salas XF, M.; Caulfield, T.; Sharma, A.M.; Raine, K. Authors’ response to Invited Commentary by Brady and Beausoleil. CanJPublic Health. 2017;108(5-6):e646-e647.
3. Ramos Salas X. The ineffectiveness and unintended consequences of the public health war on obesity. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 2015(1):79.
4. Ramos Salas X, Fohan, M., Caulfield, T., Sharma, A.M., Raine, K. A critical analysis of obesity prevention policies and strategies. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 2017;108(5-6):e598-e608.
5. Ramos Salas X, Forhan M, Sharma AM. Diffusing obesity myths. Clinical Obesity. 2014(3):189.
6. Forhan M, Ramos Salas X. Inequities in Healthcare: A Review of Bias and Discrimination in Obesity Treatment. Canadian Journal of Diabetes. 2013;37(3):205-209.
7. Puhl RM, Latner JD, O’Brien KS, Luedicke J, Danielsdottir S, Ramos Salas X. Potential Policies and Laws to Prohibit Weight Discrimination: Public Views from 4 Countries. Milbank Quarterly. 2015;93(4):731 741p.
Ximena Ramos Salas has a PhD in Health Promotion and Sociobehavioural Sciences from the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. She is Managing Director of Obesity Canada (formerly the Canadian Obesity Network), and technical consultant with the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. As a population health researcher, she is exploring the unintended consequences of obesity prevention policies for people with obesity. Her research goal is to spark solutions that will prevent the perpetuation of weight bias and obesity stigma and create more effective population health approaches.
Ottawa, ON – Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, will deliver remarks to supporters at a Liberal fundraising event in Brampton on July 5, 2018. The Liberal Party of Canada has committed to the strongest standards in federal politics for openness and transparency, and is challenging other parties to do the same. […]
|Source: Obesity Canada’s Image Bank|
Today’s guest post is a group one coming from Sarah Nutter and Shelly Russell-Mayhew from the University of Calgary Werklund School of Education, and Cara C. MacInnis from the University of Calgary, Department of Psychology. It’s a post detailing their recent study on the impact labeling obesity as a chronic disease has on weight bias.
In the years leading up the declaration of obesity as a chronic disease, much debate surrounded the possible impact that the label of ‘disease’ would have on weight bias in the general public. Opinions at the time were strongly divided, and remain so today. Our research team (also comprised of JH Ellard from the University of Calgary and Dr. AS Alberga from Concordia University) found one research study investigating the impact of labeling obesity a disease on weight bias, conducted by Hoyt and colleagues. We set out to extend this research by examining a number of different factors that we felt important when considering the impact that declaring obesity a disease would have on weight bias attitudes.
Most notably, we examined the impact that the declaration of obesity as a disease had on emotions towards people living with obesity. In addition, we were curious about how the degree to which people believe that the world is a place where people get what they deserve (i.e., good things happen to good people; bad things happen to bad people) might affect weight bias when obesity was declared a disease. Finally, we wondered how participants’ satisfaction with their own body weight might influence how this labeling was perceived in terms of weight bias scores.
Residents of either Canada or the U.S. (n=309) read one of three articles. The first two articles were identical in content, providing factual information about obesity; The only difference between these two articles was the description of obesity as a disease versus not a disease. The third article was unrelated to obesity.
Respondents that read the article stating that obesity is a disease had more positive emotions towards individuals with obesity compared to respondents who read either of the other two articles. This increase in positive emotion then contributed to less negative attitudes (weight bias) towards people with obesity. We also found that, for respondents who strongly believed that the world is a place where people get what they deserve, reading the obesity is a disease article (vs. the others) was related to less blame towards individuals with obesity, which in turn predicted less weight bias. Finally, among respondents who were the most satisfied with their body weight, reading the obesity is a disease article (vs. the others) was also associated with lower blame towards individuals with obesity.
Our finding that reading about obesity as a disease had an impact on the emotions of our respondents is particularly noteworthy.
In research related to other stigmatized conditions, the promotion of a genetic explanation for a condition has been associated with more negative reactions. The findings from this study suggest that understanding obesity as a disease has a positive impact on emotions, which then has a positive impact on overall attitudes towards people living with obesity. Findings from this study also support the idea that reducing blame might be an avenue to reduce weight bias attitudes. This provides interesting directions for future research, which could examine other factors that increase positive emotions or reduce blame towards people with obesity. Labelling obesity a disease seems to be related to less weight bias for individuals who hold strong beliefs about people getting what they deserve and who are satisfied with their own body weight at least in terms of reducing blame. Future research should aim to understand why this seems to be the case.
With a break from the norm here, I wanted to share with you Self Magazine’s incredible weight issue (warning, if you do read them all, you’ll find a couple of quotes from me here and there)
Carolyn Kylstra with an introductory Letter From The Editor
Ashley C. Ford with Tess Holiday’s Health Is None Of Your Business
Carolyn Kylstra with How Should a Health Brand Talk About Weight?
Jes Baker with Nope, I’m Not Trying to Lose Weight
Sonya Renee Taylor with The House Next Door
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha with I Help Manage My Chronic Illness With My Diet, but Don’t You Dare Call It ‘Clean Eating’
Your Fat Friend with Weight Stigma Kept Me Out Of Doctors’ Offices for Almost a Decade
Elisabeth Poorman MD with Why It’s Not Productive to Just Tell a Patient ‘You Have to Lose Weight’ (note from me – this piece had one thing missing for me. In it Dr. Poorman discussed how lifestyle is more important to discuss than weight. Wholly agree. But the implication from the piece is that lifestyle only need be discussed with patients with obesity who inquire about weight loss. I think lifestyle is something that should be discussed with every single patient regardless of their weights.)
Nora Whelan with her photo-essay Everyday Athletes Talk About What Strength Means to Them
Sarah Jacoby with The Science on Weight and Health
Kevin Klatt wth Why Weight Loss Diets Fail
Melissa A. Fabello with Skinny Shaming Is Not the Same as Fat Phobia
We are told we need a certain amount of sleep, what about animals?
Could we be the second intelligent species to live on Earth?
Taking the pressure off new species of deep-water reef fish
Putting a Polar bear on a treadmill to test the efficiency of its gait
Feeding your gut bacteria can prevent illness
Mysterious movements show Oumuamua is a comet not an asteroid
With two toddlers running wild around this joint, my time for cooking meals seems to be dwindling away. People tend to assume that I have these perfect, from-scratch meals on the table every night, and to be honest, at this stage in our lives we’re still very much in survival mode. I’m pretty gentle with […]
|A recent photograph from a school cafeteria that’s clearly non-compliant with school food policy|
It’s a simple question.
Why bother with school food policy making if schools aren’t going to follow and/or enforce them?
(And please don’t read this as me stating that the policies themselves are solid to begin with – that’s a whole other rant).
But they’re definitely not enforced.
From the treats and candies handed out to 8 year olds writing standardized tests, to the constant junk food fundraising, to the sodas above – the lists go on, and on.
And I’m not suggesting I’ve got a solution.
Clearly the resources to go from school to school to check aren’t there.
And clearly schools and their administrations care about the kids.
So it’s not about a lack of concern, and there’s no practical way to police things.
I think the fact that schools are still consistently selling, giving, rewarding, and entertaining children with junk food speaks simply to the fact that over the years those practices have become so entrenched, they’re considered normal, and hence, aren’t even considered as behaviours worthy of scrutiny.
I’m curious. What’s the most ridiculous example from your child’s school?
In case you missed the news, New Brunswick recently banned the sale of chocolate milk and juice in their schools.
It’s a welcome move, and one that will be undoubtedly be adopted nation wide following the long delayed publication of Canada’s next Food Guide.
Canada’s Food Guide, last published in 2007, inexplicably and explicitly, reports that chocolate milk is a healthy dairy choice (that it also suggests dairy is such a magical food that it requires it’s own Food Guide category is a whole other kettle of inexplicability). Or maybe it isn’t that inexplicable in that on the then Food Guide’s 12 member advisory committee was Sydney Massey, the Nutrition Education Manager and Spokesperson for the BC Dairy Foundation, where their homepage at the time featured the campaign,
“Don’t tell Mom, but Chocolate Milk is good for you”
The next one, won’t.
I know this in part because back in 2014, Dr. Hasan Hutchinson, the Director General of Health Canada’s Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion (the office in charge of the Food Guide), agreed with me during our then debate, that chocolate milk shouldn’t be deemed a health food by our Food Guide,
“One thing we’re doing right now is doing a reassessment of all of those things and certainly me personally, I agree with Yoni that it (chocolate milk) should not be there either”
And in May 2015 he was quoted by the CMAJ on juice stating,
“You won’t be seeing that anymore … and there’ll be a fair number of new materials coming out in the next few months.”
I also know this because even McDonald’s appreciates that chocolate milk, with more calories and sugar drop per drop than Coca-Cola, shouldn’t be routinely offered to children.
So here’s my first question.
If, in 2007, Canada’s Food Guide had explained that chocolate milk is to milk what apple pie is to apples, and that it should be considered a treat rather than a health food, and that no, juice is not the same as fruit, do you think we’d be seeing these actual responses and comments posted on Facebook and on the CBC article in response to the news out of New Brunswick?
“How the hell can juice be bad for you I doubt orange and apple and cranberry juice is bad for your health CFDA would have ban the stuff decades ago”
“It is crazy and stupid. especially since the school officials are comparing the natural sugars found In the cocoa that makes it chocolate to the artificially added high fructose corn syrup used to sweeten coca cola.”
“Ugh get a life people! Chocolate milk is some parents only option to get their kids to drink milk. And as far as juices they sell apple and orange at school so are they now telling us apple and OJ juices are bad??”
“I agree, pop and juice fine. Chocolate milk is filled with nutrients.”
Because the thing is, though no one shops with Canada’s Food Guide in hand, its recommendations do permeate national consciousness. And more to the point of this post, they inform school food policies. Once the new Food Guide is published, and assuming it explicitly recommends limiting sugar sweetened beverages and juice (and it will), all provinces will undoubtedly soon fall in line with New Brunswick.
And here’s the most pertinent question. It’s been 4.5 years since Dr. Hutchinson agreed chocolate milk should be off the Food Guide’s menu, and 3 years since he went on record stating that juice’s days are also numbered, so how is it possible that we’re still waiting?
|By Rhododendrites – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link|
Lindsay Gellman, in Longreads, on German alternative cancer treatment clinics catering to foreigners and selling very expensive hope .
George Packer, in the New Yorker, with another reason to adore Dr. Ruth.
Elisabeth Poorman, in Common Health, with her personal take as a physician on the opioid crisis.
[And if you don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook, here’s a recent episode of my much neglected Weighty Mutters podcast where I chat with my 11 year old about sports drinks and track and field days]
Rising land could offset melting ice in Antarctica.
Fur seals don’t need REM sleep for long periods of time
How bacteria can help solve crimes
Separating kids from parents changes their brains
Jordan Peterson and Lindsay Shepherd, those intrepid champions of free speech, have launched twin lawsuits against Wilfrid Laurier University. As Peterson intimates fairly strongly in the video clip above, his own action is really about backing up Lindsay Shepherd,…
(Originally posted in 2016. Since nothing’s changed, reupping it with 2018 data)
We suck at helping our kids to be active.
Here are the past 14 years of ParticipACTION kids’ activity report card grades (click on 2018 for this year’s edition):
2017: Didn’t happen
So what has Canada done about it?
From my vantage point, it sure doesn’t seem like much.
As to what we could we doing, I’m honestly not sure.
One thing I am sure of though, simply telling kids to be more active (or telling them and/or their parents how inactive they are) clearly isn’t doing a whole heckuva lot. We need changes that change the default.
If you’re a parent, I’ve blogged about the simple solution you could employ to help your kids move more (move with them).
If you’re an educator, how about making every classroom/student reward an active one instead of relying on junk food (same goes for all of your various fundraising endeavours)? Oh, and get rid of inane over-protective schoolyard rules like bans on hard balls that effectively stifle active play.
If you’re a city planner, how about more time and attention paid to developing safe, comprehensive, and unified biking and walking infrastructure?
And consider too the fact that decreasing kids’ physical activity may well also be influenced by their rising weights (and not the other way around). I’ve worked with so many parents who report that as their kids gained weight, suddenly their interest in favourite activities waned. The why is something people either forget or overlook. Kids are cruel. Being picked last because you’re slow, or simply not being able to keep up, would make most kids not want to play. One comment about “jiggling” while a kid runs is liable to lead a kid to stop running. Not wanting to change in front of your peers because of fat jokes and weight bias makes is another common hurdle. Here we need to see calls to action to tackle weight bias, and continued work towards improving the way we use food with our children, and ideally ending the regular use of foods by our kids’ schools, teachers, coaches, cities, scout leaders, friends’ parents, etc. to reward, pacify, and entertain them at every turn.
So how many more years of reading these depressing report cards before we either stop issuing them, or actually do something about the problem?
President Trump took a short break this week from strengthening ties with China, Canada, England, Germany, France, Mexico, NATO and the UN to clarify his deterrence policy of frightening potential illegal immigrants by caging their children like stray dogs. Trump…
Photocredit: Lloydminster Little Theatre It’s Patrick Ross’ birthday today. He is 37. More than seven and a half years ago, I wrote about what proved to be the initial chapter of a seemingly never-ending legal saga. My friend Robert Day,…
Cheerios stick together due to surface enery
The inside story of the New Horizons mission to Pluto
Incan surgeons showed remarkable skill at making holes in people’s skulls