- The title “Registered Dietitian”, “Professional Dietitian”, and “Dietitian” are protected by law. Only qualified practitioners who have met education qualifications can use the title.
- “Nutritionist” is not a protected title which means, in some provinces, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. However, some Dietitians will refer to themselves as nutritionists.
- Dietitians who have met national standards for education and training and who are members of the provincial regulatory bodies can use one of the following designations — RD, PDt or RDt (or the French equivalent Dt.P.).
- Dietitians are members of a provincially regulated profession that has Public Protection as their mandate.
- Dietitians are held accountable for their conduct and the care they provide.
- Dietitians may work in the community setting, health care, hospitals or private practice clinics.
- Only Dietitians are qualified to work in a hospital or health care institution and can provide clinical care of patients.
After I wrote this post discussing the environmental detriments of bottled water, I didn’t think I’d be writing another bottled water post anytime soon. Then, I saw a Nestle Pure Life water commercial and I couldn’t contain myself. Like most Nestle water commercials, this ad glamorized bottled water and stretched the truth. It specifically targeted moms, suggesting that bottled water is a necessary component of a healthy diet for kids. While I couldn’t find the exact ad, I did find this similar one:
Nestle says “We believe that clean, high quality water is critical to human and environmental health.” I absolutely agree with that statement. And as the ad above says, we should be drinking more water and less sugary beverages. But who says that water needs to come from a bottle? There is a place for bottled water, and that is where the local water is unsafe to drink. Here in most parts of North America, we are lucky to have access to free flowing, clean, safe drinking water in our taps. Yet, people are lining up to pay for water that was bottled and trucked in from a small town in the mid-west U.S.
But Nestle’s blatant misleading doesn’t stop at “health”. Upon researching for this post, I stumbled upon Nestle’s ‘commitment to the environment and sustainability’. The Nestle Canada’s President’s Message states:
When you walk into your favourite grocer and buy any one of our bottled water products, you should have every confidence that you are doing the right thing from a health perspective as well from an environmental standpoint.
While our packaging (bottles, caps, plastic wrap and cardboard are 100 percent recycle, we are encouraging local and provincial governments across Canada to work with us and our industry partners to find ways to recycle more plastic bottles.
The problem with bottled water is much bigger than the packaging. Even if 100% of bottles were recycled, the simple fact that bottled water is removed from one location, bottled in an energy intensive plant, and shipped thousands of miles away makes it unsustainable and environmentally liable. Not to mention the millions of plastic bottles that are made from non-renewable fossil fuels. No matter what Nestle is doing in terms of ‘sustainability’, it is more environmentally costly than walking to the sink and pouring a glass of water from the tap.
Bottled water is proving to be very helpful at a time when obesity and diabetes are on the increase amongst all Canadians, but particularly young Canadians born after 2000. Almost 30 percent of them are overweight or obese, are susceptible to diabetes and may be the first generation of Canadians whose life expectancy may be shorter than their parents’.
Would you buy bottled air? Seriously, think about it. Why pay for something that is harmful to the environment, has zero health benefit, and is available (for next to FREE) in your own tap? Despite what Nestle would have you believe, the bottom line is that bottled water is not healthier, ultimately, it takes a toll on our environment and that does have a direct negative impact on our health. Bottled water is not only unnecessary, it’s an indulgence. Check out the video below to get the “story of bottled water”.
For all you water connoisseurs who prefer the taste of filtered water, a simple tap filter or filtered jug will do the trick.
We all know that processed foods, including cereals, can contain lots of preservatives and additives, including artificial flavours, but this may be the first time I’ve seen a cereal so blatantly try to pull the wool over the shoppers’ eyes.
This week I came across this video, “outting” Total Blueberry Pomegranate Cereal as a nutrition imposter, of the worst kind. If I asked you to guess a few of the ingredients in Total Blueberry Pomegranate Cereal, what would you say? I’m going to bet that most of you would guess the ingredients would include a grain (maybe whole grains), sugar, blueberries, and pomegranates. That’s a pretty safe guess right? But you would be wrong. Sure, Total Blueberry Pomegranate Cereal contains whole grains and sugar, but here’s the kicker, it does not contain ANY blueberries OR pomegranates. So what does it contain? Here’s the ingredient list (I’ve separated the vitamins and minerals, and highlighted the sugars and dyes, to make it easier to read):
So what’s the deal?
My guess – General Mills’ marketing team wanted to cash in on the “super food” trend going on. Why they couldn’t just add real berries (even dried versions) is beyond me. I guess they figured it was just as good to add red and blue dyes, and the vitamins and minerals that are found in these fruits. Unfortunately, nutrition and foods don’t work like that. Research has shown that the whole food is greater than the sum of its parts – meaning you can’t simply put all the ingredients together and expect them to have the same benefits in the body as the whole food. Besides, I know blueberries don’t come with ingredient labels, but if they did, I’m pretty sure “Blue 2″ wouldn’t be listed.
Here’s the video for your viewing pleasure:
Once in a while I come across a product that is, what I call, a “nutrition impostor”. That is, although the product contains little nutrition, is high in fat and/or sugar, the company would have you believe it is little short of a nutrition powerhouse.
I got one of those email-circulated nutrition myths the other day. This one was not about aspartame or margarine, it was MSG (monosodium glutamate), and as usual, it was full of misinformation. This email suggested MSG is in everything we eat, and is responsible for everything from headaches to the obesity epidemic.
Yes, MSG is everywhere. It is often listed as “hydrolyzed vegetable protein” or any other number of names on ingredient labels, which can be confusing. Is it possible that some people experience stomach issues, headaches or other reactions to MSG? Sure. MSG can it cause some mild to moderate reactions for people with an MSG intolerance, but is MSG the route of all these huge health issues? Likely not.
What is MSG?
MSG is a sodium salt from a naturally occurring amino acid, glutamate, that is used as a flavour enhancer. MSG used to be derived from seaweed extract or wheat gluten, but is now usually made using bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates (similar to how beer and wine are made). Commercial MSG is made from fermentation of starch, sugar beets, sugar cane or molasses. In water, it dissociates into sodium (a natural salt) and glutamate (an amino acid that is made in our bodies). Most foods with MSG are foods we should stay away from anyway. MSG is found most abundantly in packaged and fast foods that contain many other additives and less healthy ingredients than MSG.
The studies quoted in the email were all done in rats. When it comes to studies, we have a rating system for determining how relevant they are, and animal studies are very low on the list and don’t hold much weight. Studies with animals, especially rats, are never able to be directly extrapolated to humans. We are very different species with different metabolism processes. What happens to a rat when given a certain substance does not mean it causes the same effect in humans. It’s only a preliminary study.
Secondly, one would have to read these studies in depth to find out 1) if the study design is valid, and 2) what dose were the rats given? The amount of MSG needed to add flavour to our foods is extremely minimal. The rats in these studies are often given mega-doses that humans would never even come close to taking in, even if we drank nothing but soup, salad dressing and gravy all day.
Health Canada states that the safety of MSG has been reviewed by regulatory bodies and food scientists worldwide, and does not pose a health risk to consumers. The FDA concluded in 1995 that MSG is safe for most people when eaten in customary amounts. Food scientist, Harold McGee states that after many studies “toxicologists have concluded that MSG is a harmless ingredient for most people, even in large amounts”. In addition, Health Canada states there is no evidence to support that MSG is related to obesity. For the few small studies that found that high MSG intake may be associated to a higher Body Mass Index, I would dare to argue that the results are not be due to MSG, but rather the fact that people eating higher amounts of MSG also likely have a higher intake of packaged and fast foods, and therefore, also Calories and fat.
Even without MSG added in foods, we are regularly exposed to glutamates which occur naturally in food. In fact, glutamate makes up 10-25% of our protein sources. Interestingly, people with sensitivities to glutamates in MSG have been found to be sensitive to both those from MSG, and those naturally occurring in foods.
**Note: This study was done on rats, which is NOT the same as humans. HOWEVER, when dealing with anything as new and abundant in our food supply as Splenda, it does raise a red flag.