Thursday, 9 October 2014

Nutrition Guidelines: a presentation

Rebelliousness for the young often involves some fairly characteristic behaviour. We might smoke, drink, stay out late, or challenge the adults in our lives. At my extraordinarily middle class Toronto high school rebellious types hung out at the "Lizard Lounge"wearing head to toe black outfits with a variety of piercings. There were lots of peace symbol T-shirts and skate boards involved.

As I age acts of rebellion have a distinctly different feel. There are definitely big issues in Canada against which one can and probably should rebel. Treatment of First Nations people. Pipelines and fracking. Robocalls and senate scandals. Deployment of Canadian military forces to select wars in far away places.

On a personal and very local level there is another fight to be fought. Food and it's politics. There are some significant issues in food production and regulation in this country about which the average Canadian may be completely unaware. Food sold and consumed in Canada is largely processed, refined, with lots of sugar and chemicals and little to no nutrient value. Eating this way is killing us. The food industry is making a whack of cash. And Canadians are paying for it with their wallets and their health.

Two weeks ago I gave a presentation on nutrition in Warkworth for the Abundance Project. My presentation was about the history of the Canada Food Guide and how we went so very wrong in what we told people to eat. I include some of the latest research on food and talk about what we should be eating and why. A copy of my presentation can be viewed by clicking the links below - part one and part two. References for the talk are listed at the bottom of this blog.

The take home messages of the presentation are pretty simple. Our nutrition advice and guidelines were born out of poverty and supply and demand issues in the 1930's and later manipulated and controlled by a food industry whose sole objective is profit. The resulting diet of highly refined carbohydrates and sugar, low fat products, chemicals, and nutrient deficient food has not worked for us. We are sick and getting sicker by the day. Our current generation of children will be the first ever to die at a younger age than their parents. If we are going to turn this around we must start eating a whole foods nutrient rich diet that contains loads of vegetables, protein, healthy fats and fibre rich foods. To do that we must think critically.

We must learn to recognize what real food looks like and choose it over "food products". We must eat to feed our bodies and protect our health not to provide revenue for large multi-national food corporations. 

To read the presentation please click the links below. Comments and questions are welcome. Watch here next week for a blog about my co-presenter in Warkworth Elizabeth Heon. Elizabeth discovered in her late 40's that she has a gene mutation predisposing her to breast and ovarian cancer with an 85% and 55% chance of disease. Her family members died at 51, 53 and 58 from cancers. So Elizabeth has worked to change her risk and prevent disease with food. She shares her strategies for changing food menus and provides some great recipes for us to try.

Eating Well & Other Acts of Rebellion Part 1
Eating Well & Other Acts of Rebellion Part 2

Bazzano, L. (2104). Effects of low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets: a randomized trial. In Annals of Medicine. Accessed September 9, 2014 from
Canadian Encyclopedia (2014) Canada’s food guide. Accessed September 3, 2014 from
Feinman, R. et al. (2014). Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management. In Journal of Nutrition. 18 July 2014.
Freedhoff, Yoni (2006). Canada’s food guide to unhealthy eating. Accessed September 5, 2014 from
Hawkes, C. (2004). Nutrition labels & health claims: global regulatory environment. World Health Organization.
Health Canada. ((2014). Canada’s food guide from 1942 to 1999. Accessed September 3, 2014 from
Health Canada (2014). The evidence base Canada’s food guide. Accessed September 3, 2014 from
Heart & Stroke Founddatin of Canada. (2014). Position paper: sugar, heart disease, and stroke.
Heart & Stroke  Canada (2014). Statistics heart diseaes. Accessed September 5, 2014 from
Ivanic, Curb. (2012). Healthy eating: is the Canada Food Guide wrong? On BCLiving accessed Septemer 2014 at

Kondro, Wayne. (2006). Proposed Canada Food Guide called obesogenic. In Canadian Medical Association Journal. Accessed September 3, 2014 from
Public Health Agency of Canada. (2014). Diabetes in Canada: facts and figures from a public health perspective. Accessed on September 10, 2014 from
Schwartz, D. (2012). The politics of food guides. On CBC accessed September 3, 2014 from
Shilhavy, B. (2014). Sweden becomes first western nation to reject low-fat diet dogma in favor of low-carb high fat nutrition. Accessed September 10, 2014 from
Wikipedia (2014). List of nutrition guidelines. Accessed September 5, 2014 from
Wolfe, L. (2014). Eat the yolks.
World Health Organization (2010). Promoting fruit and vegetable consumption around the world. Accessed September 5, 2014 from
World Health Organization (2002). Global Strategy on diet, physical activity, and health: promoting fruit and vegetable consumption around the world. Accessed June 25, 2014 from
World Health Organization (2014). Commission on ending childhood obesity. Accessed June 25, 2014 from

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