What's in the News?

Have you seen the What the Health documentary on Netflix? The documentary does highlight some good points, such as the high rates of obesity, diabetes and disease (that are partly driven by diet) that we are facing and the fact that we could do better with eating more vegetables and fruits, limiting our meat intake, and embracing more of a plant-based diet. However, in our opinion this film did nothing to lessen the confusion about the link between diet and health. Trying to find definitive links between diet and disease is complex and the film does not account for the fact that nutrition science is not as easy feat (note: Michelle's post-PhD position involved working with a network of researchers in Canada and abroad who are dedicated to advancing our ability to study diet more accurately so that we can strengthen our understanding of diet and disease). This film also misrepresents and exaggerates many nutrition facts related to eating processed meats, eggs, and milk. Check out this commentary below, which summarizes our thoughts exactly about this documentary.

Another hot topic these days is the amount of exposure children have to advertising about unhealthy food and beverages. Health Canada is considering a widespread ban on the marketing of unhealthy food to kids under the age of 17. This ban could include advertisements found on TV, print, social media, apps, video games, product labels, in-store displays, and potentially end some sport team sponsorships. The majority of the advertisements viewed by kids and teens are for unhealthy products that are typically high in fat, salt and/or sugar. In our opinion, the marketing of these foods to impressionable kids and teens is troubling considering the rise in childhood obesity rates and other health outcomes, such as diabetes. Health Canada wants you to get involved in the discussion by sharing your feedback with your experiences with food marketing to children and your ideas of how to restrict unhealthy food advertisements. Take a moment to have your say in the matter. Public consultations are open until August 14, 2017.

In May, Michelle attended the Canadian Nutrition Society's annual conference and she had a chance to hear about the changes that will be incorporated in the next version of the Canada's Food Guide (CFG) from Health Canada representatives. It's no secret that the guide is in need of a major makeover and we are excited to see the updated version when it is released in 2018. Recently, Health Canada posted draft guiding principles to give us a bit of insight into the changes we might see, including an emphasis on eating plant-based foods (particularly for sources of protein), eating foods that include mostly unsaturated vs. saturated fat, limiting intake of processed foods and avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages. There have also been hints that the guide will be released as a set of tools in various formats based on these guiding principles, which has us even more intrigued about the design of the next guide. Check out the link below to read about the drafted guidelines and to hear what nutrition experts are hoping to see in the finalized CFG. What do you think so far? What improvements would you like to see? Health Canada wants to know!! They are asking for feedback from the public through an online survey that will be available until August 14th, 2017. Get involved and have your say.