What you will find here.
If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that there’s a lot of information out there and it’s hard to find facts. Since Google is a popularity contest (posts with the most hits, get top billing along with those who pay for placement), the fact that you are looking for may be buried somewhere on search page 53.
This page will be dedicated to nutrition facts, a place where you can easily see the nutritional value of items and determine if that item is right for you. For example, I love my starches but have often wondered if potatoes, rice, or pasta is a healthier choice. This page will allow you to make informed decisions about what you fuel your body with.
As a “nutritionist in weight management” (certified through an independent education center not affiliated with any brand), I am qualified as a nutrition coach. I am not a dietician or nutritionist*. As a coach I am qualified to provide advice that goes beyond the Canada Food Guide (my limit as a group fitness instructor) but not so far as to tell you what you should be eating for weight loss, weight gain, or specific medical conditions.
* To clarify, dieticians have earned a 5-year degree through a university and nutritionists have earned a 2-year degree through a university or college. Both dieticians and nutritionists can offer advice in a clinical setting, such as a hospital or a public health office. A nutrition coach may have a degree, but no formal education is necessary to be a nutrition coach, and the education may be provided by a company to promote their programs or products.
Because this is not a blog (i.e. with preset website characteristics), most recent posts will appear first. Keep scrolling for older posts.
- The Salty Dog, posted September 14, 2022.
- Free Sugar, posted August 31, 2022.
The Salty Dog (September 14, 2022)
While medical professionals have been telling us to limit our salt intake since it seems like forever, the average Canadian still consumes 20 percent more each day than the advisable limit of 2300 mg (1 teaspoon or 5 mL). For those of you going salt-free, you do need to ensure you get enough salt through natural food sources to stay hydrated, avoid fluid retention, and regulate blood pressure.
Since we are not going to eliminate salt from our diets, let’s take a look-see to find the healthiest choice.
Table salt (aka iodized salt): Table salt not only has iodine added, it has had all other beneficial minerals removed, leaving only sodium chloride plus the added iodine. With a balanced diet, we do not need to supplement our diets with iodine; and too much iodine can screw up our hormone system, particularly the thyroid gland, potentially leading to cancer. How much iodized salt is safe, ½ teaspoon or 150 mcg.
Kosher salt: The “other” white salt. Like table salt, kosher salt is processed and had the trace elements removed; however no iodine is added. Due to a different crystallization technique, it kosher salt has larger flakes. The benefits of larger flakes is that there is less salt per teaspoon (1120 mg) when compared to table salt (2300 mg) and its effectiveness in koshering meats. Please note the amount of salt in a teaspoon of kosher salt can vary from brand to brand.
Sea salt: Sea salts are unrefined and often appear grey (Celtic, French), black (Indian), or pink (Himalayan). Black Hawaiian sea salt has added activated charcoal, the benefits of which are still being studied. With sea salts you have do have to watch the labels as some sea salts are iodized. Natural sea salt does contain iodine but not in sufficient quantity to impact your health. The added benefit to sea salt is that it does contain 84 trace minerals which our bodies need.
Which salt is right for you? Sea salts are the healthiest due to the trace mineral content and lack of iodization. However, if you really like saltiness, kosher salt will give you more bang for your buck.
Free Sugar (August 31, 2022)
What are free sugars? By definition, free sugars are deemed “free” since they are not inside the cells of the foods we eat and include added sugars, honey, syrup, and fruit juice. (Juicing squeezes the sugar out of the fruit cells, thereby making it a free sugar. Juicing also removes the fiber, really making fruit juice not the healthiest choice.)
Since they are bad for diabetics and can lead to high cholesterol, free sugars are expensive and can cost you your health. At this time the only added sugar deemed okay is stevia, but this could change with further studies.
How much sugar is safe? 100 grams per day (less than 7 tablespoons) of which only 30 grams should be free sugars. Seems like a lot, right? Well FYI, one large double-double contains 30 grams of sugar as does one tall pumpkin spice latte; and that’s 30 grams of free sugars, your daily max. OOPs!
The new labelling guidelines in Canada have to show the percentage of your recommended daily sugar maximum for all sugars.
Just an FYI: Sugar alcohols may be found foods labelled “sugar free” and “no sugar added.” Nutritionally, 2 sugar alcohols is the equivalent of 1 carbohydrate (or regular sugar), thereby making them low glycemic foods not causing sugar spikes in your blood. A safe amount of sugar alcohols is 10-15 grams per day. Sugar alcohols are safer but not risk free – they can still cause weight gain as well as several unpleasant digestive side effects. Typical sugar alcohols are: Sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol, erythritol, lactitol, and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates.
Updated September 14, 2022