Eating healthy doesn’t mean eating trendy

Whole grains beat out multi-grains for health benefits

  • Mar. 22, 2012 9:00 a.m.

Nutrition information has never been more accessible than right now; millions of Canadians have ready and easy access to the Internet and other forms of social media. But not all the information is credible; myths and misinformation abound.

Nutrition Month 2012, centering on the theme “Get the Real Deal on Your Meal”, is dedicated to busting up popular food and nutrition myths by bringing truths to Canadians from food and nutrition experts and dietitians.

To support and educate the community with reliable information about food and nutrition, the Agassiz Community Health Centre, along with its partners, will be hosting a public information day on Thursday, March 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Cheam Village on MacKay Crescent. There will be displays, printed information, and give-aways for those in attendance. On site will be health professionals to give trusted advice about healthy eating, proper nutrition and weight management.

Health professionals, nutrition experts and dietitians base their advice about food and nutrition on the best scientific evidence. Following are three current claims that are being “busted”.

First, with the focus on getting people to eat more “whole grain” food, the consumer may be led to believe that “multi-grain” is the same as “whole grain”. The truth is that multi-grain isn’t always whole grain. Multigrain products include different grains, but they may not be whole. You’ll get the greatest health benefits from eating whole grain. When you look on the food label’s ingredient list, see if “whole grain” appears in front of each grain name or first in the ingredient list. At least half of the grain products you consume each day should be whole grain.

Second, some people are being led to believe that honey, brown sugar and agave syrup are better for you than white sugar. The truth is that they are all pretty much the same. While some people consider these to be more natural, they are still sugars; your body can’t tell the difference between them and white sugar. Excess sugar in any form gives you extra calories. Regardless of which sugar you choose, use small amounts.

Third, stories circulate that cow milk is full of hormones and antibiotics. The truth is that Canadian milk meets strict government standards so it’s safe and healthy. Canadian dairy farmers give their cows the best diet and health care so they produce quality milk naturally. Growth hormones to stimulate milk production are not approved for sale or permitted for use in Canada. Just like humans, cows sometimes get sick and need medications like antibiotics. If this happens, the cow is identified and milked separately until she is healthy again. Her milk is properly disposed of for a mandatory length of time, to allow for the medication to get out of her system. Milk, organic and non-organic, is a safe, nutritious choice.

It seems like whenever there is a question about nutrition, there is always someone in the group who has had an experience trying such and such a food or trying such and such a diet. This month, your Community Health Centre is giving you an opportunity to step back from the theories and get to know the facts a little better about many aspects of healthy food and eating.

 

– Provided by Agassiz Community Health, with credit to the Dietitians of Canada

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