be sure, among those extra items are more kinds of fresh fruits,
vegetables and non-food items. But not 30,000. The vast majority of the
additional food items are a huge range of ready-to-eat products from
cookies to snacks to complete dinners that have a characteristic in
common: they are ultra-processed foods.
And they are not nourishing us.
A study I just completed for Heart & Stroke
demonstrates the extent of the problem. It found that in 2015,
Canadians received almost half (48.3 per cent) of their total calories
from ultra-processed foods, with the highest rates of consumption among
those in whom it can do most harm - children. Kids age nine to 13 get
almost 60 per cent of their calories from these unhealthy foods. This
high consumption is evident across all socio-economic groups. Newcomers
to Canada are the one notable exception; they consume considerably fewer
of their calories from ultra-processed foods than those born in Canada.
What are ultra-processed foods and why does it matter?
all foods are processed in some way. Some are minimally processed, such
as fresh, dry or frozen vegetables and fruit, nuts, meat, fish, eggs
and milk. Others are culinary ingredients such as oil and sugar.
Processed foods are made by adding ingredients to minimally-processed
foods; they include simple breads and cheese, and preserved vegetables.
problem is ultra-processed foods. They're formulations of refined
substances and additives; at the end, most have little or no intact food
left. Think of a potato chip or a sugary puffed cereal that supposedly
started with a hint of grain. They also include candies, other fatty,
sugary or salty snack foods, packaged soups, sugary drinks and most
these products contain twice the calories, three times the amount of
free sugars and twice the sodium compared to non-ultra-processed foods
(real foods). And they have much less of what we need: protein, fibre,
vitamins and minerals.
has been a revolutionary change in our diets over the past decades and,
while fewer people in rich countries like Canada now go hungry, many of
us eat far less well. A previous study of mine
showed that the vital change in the diets of Canadians since the 1930s
has been the replacement of freshly prepared meals and dishes made with
unprocessed or minimally-processed foods for one dominated by
the past 70 years, calories from ultra-processed foods have doubled
from 24 per cent to 54 per cent of family food purchases. That's not
surprising, since most of these foods are branded assertively, packaged
attractively and marketed extensively, especially to our children. And
they are everywhere, often at very low prices.
the last few decades, especially in high-income countries and
communities, the meal has been fast diminishing and to a large extent
replaced by snacking, mostly on ultra-processed foods. This is both a
social disaster and a nutritional calamity. Preparing and eating
complete fresh meals together is a vital part of healthy, vibrant
families and societies.
Ultra-processed foods might be convenient and fast, but they're not healthy and we're paying heavily for it. Unhealthy diet is now the leading risk factor for death - it was responsible for 47,000 deaths in Canada in 2016. And the Public Health Agency of Canada says the annual cost of diet-related disease in Canada is $26 billion.
What can we do to combat this dietary crisis?
There's no easy fix, but a number of important things can and must be done.
unhealthy food and beverage marketing to children is a good step.
Fortunately, such legislation is being debated in the House of Commons.
need updated national dietary guidelines and education to help
Canadians make healthy choices. Again, fortunately, the federal
government has announced a new Healthy Eating Strategy that includes
revisions to Canada's Food Guide and strong front-of-pack nutrition
also need to change how we think and talk about food. Our public
discussions about food in recent decades have been focused more on
particular villains - saturated fats, sodium and sugar - which has left
little room to promote a whole-diet approach. We need to support people
to look more at their overall diet, and the importance of taking the
time to get fresh and minimally-processed foods to make more delicious
but healthy meals at home from scratch.
need to bring back cooking in schools, hospitals, senior citizens
houses and even at workplaces so everyone can have access to
freshly-made meals from real food.
also need to restore the important social benefits families have lost
by not spending time cooking and eating healthy meals together. These
fundamental activities tie us together and to nature.
We can change. It starts by ignoring most of those 40,000 items at your local supermarket.
Jean-Claude Moubarac is an assistant professor of nutrition in the
Faculty of Medicine at the University of Montreal and an expert adviser
with EvidenceNetwork.ca. His new study, "Ultra-processed foods in Canada: consumption, impact on diet quality and policy implications," is available online.
York U research shows you can't judge a person's fitness by weight alone
TORONTO, February 12, 2018 —
Can you be fit and healthy even if you’re overweight?That’s the question researchers at York University’s Faculty of Health set out to answer in a new study that shows physical activity may be equally and perhaps even more important than weight for people living with severe obesity.
According to the recent study, led by Jennifer Kuk, associate professor in York University’s School of Kinesiology and Health Science, and collaborator Dr. Sean Wharton,
MD, medical director of the Wharton Medical Clinic and adjunct professor at York University, individuals with severe obesity who are fit have a similar health profile to those who weigh significantly less than them. The goal of the study was to look at the
benefits of cardiorespiratory fitness on cardiovascular health in populations with mild to severe obesity.
The results suggest individuals with even severe obesity, or a BMI greater than 40, can be fit and healthy.
“Obesity is only related with worse health in individuals who were unfit,” says Kuk. “We know that once you get beyond a BMI of 40, the risk of cardiovascular conditions
increases exponentially so this study shows that having a high fitness level is still beneficial and it really reinforces the importance of fitness.”
Kuk says doing 150 minutes of exercise per week, as per physical activity guidelines, generally translates to less than half pound of weight loss. Nevertheless, this
amount of exercise can mean dramatic improvements in health for those with severe obesity.
“You really have to disconnect the body weight from the importance of fitness,” says Kuk. “You can get fit without losing weight and have health benefits.”
Data was gathered from 853 Canadian patients attending Wharton Medical weight management clinics in Southern Ontario. Individuals completed a clinical exam which
included fasting blood measures and a maximal treadmill stress test.
The amount of fitness necessary to achieve health benefits was far less than what most individuals would think. The research showed that the greatest health benefits
come from avoiding the lowest 20 per cent of fitness levels. This means that 80 per cent of people are fit enough to get health benefits.
In this study, 41% of participants with mild obesity had high fitness levels, while 25 per cent and 11 per cent of the participants with moderate and severe obesity,
respectively, had high fitness. Individuals with severe obesity were more likely to have high blood pressure, glucose, and triglycerides if they were in the lowest 20 per cent of fitness levels, but were not more likely to have these issues if they were in
the 80 per cent group. Earlier research has shown that much less physical activity is required to improve health than is needed to lose weight. However, this is some of the first research suggesting that physical activity may be more important for people
living with severe obesity.
“In my practice, I see many patients who are looking for different results,” says Wharton. “There are some patients that want to significantly improve their health
and others that are only looking for an aesthetic goal. When it comes to health, this study reinforces the notion that people don’t need to lose weight to be healthy.”
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded study,
Association between cardiorespiratory fitness and metabolic risk factors in a population with mild to severe obesity
was recently published in BMC Obesity.
York University champions new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our students receive the education they
need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-disciplinary programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and graduates push limits,
achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds. York U is an internationally recognized research university – our 11 faculties and 25 research centres have partnerships with
200+ leading universities worldwide. Located in Toronto, York is the third largest university in Canada, with a strong community of 53,000 students, 7,000 faculty and administrative staff, and more than 300,000 alumni. York U's fully bilingual Glendon Campus
is home to Southern Ontario's Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education.
Halotherapy (also known as Salt Therapy)helps with respiratory issues, skin conditions, boosts the immune system & improves an overall sense of well-being! The calming & detoxifying effects can support the immune, nervous & lymphatic systems. It is great for stress relief and promotes deep relaxation!
"It will be a picture perfect day to shop at the The Sunday Antique Market this Sunday. Over 90 vendors from Ontario and Quebec bringing their best to 125 The Esplanade in the St. Lawrence Market Neigbourhood from 7:00 am until 5:00 pm. See you there!"