Friday, March 30, 2012

In a Pinch? Canned and Frozen Can Be as Healthy as Fresh Produce

MYTH 23: Frozen and canned vegetables and fruit are not as nutritious as fresh.

THE TRUTH: Nothing beats the taste of fresh produce in season. But frozen and canned produce can be just as nutritious since it’s usually picked and packed at the peak of ripeness when nutrient levels are highest. Frozen or canned produce gives you benefits beyond health. It allows Canadians to enjoy a variety of vegetables and fruit year-round and is a practical choice for people living in remote areas. It’s also sometimes more affordable than fresh produce. And cooking with frozen or canned produce can save you time in the kitchen! Read the labels: The healthiest choices are products that contain no added sugar, fat or salt.

Tips on getting the most from vegetables and fruits:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Staying Hydrated: How Much Water is Enough?

Some people seem to drink water all day long, like fish, while others gag at the thought (cue Crystal Light here). We keep hearing about this alleged '8 glasses' of water we're meant to have each day, but is that really true? Check out today's myth to get the real deal.

MYTH 22: Everyone needs to drink eight glasses of water a day.

THE TRUTH: There is no truth to the claim that everyone needs exactly eight cups of water a day. Water is important for good health and it is your best choice to satisfy thirst, but other liquids are also hydrating. The amount of water you need to hydrate your body varies daily and depends on factors like your gender, physical size and how active you are, as well as environmental factors like heat and humidity. To help stay hydrated, drink plain water (tap or bottled) plus other beverages like milk, coffee or tea throughout the day. And remember to drink more in hot weather and when you are very active.

For more on water, visit:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Probiotics: What Can They Really Do For You?

Foods with probiotics are all the rage. Every so often, we're presented with the latest and greatest new gut-friendly food, jam packed with this-many-billion live active cultures in every serving. But before you shell out the big bucks, check out today's myth and truth to see what probiotics can really do for you.

MYTH 10: All foods that contain probiotics will benefit your health.

THE TRUTH: Probiotics are “good” bacteria that are either naturally found in food or may be added to foods such as dairy products including yogurt, cheese and milk-based beverages. When eaten regularly, in the right amounts, probiotics may help keep your immune system healthy and help maintain the good bacteria in your intestine. Certain types of probiotics may help reduce some forms of diarrhea and symptoms of irritable bowel disease in some people. Not all foods with added probiotics will offer health benefits. We’re still learning which probiotics are best, how much to take, and how long to take them for different health benefits.

For more on probiotics, visit:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Super-Food? No One Food is All that "Super" on its Own

Acai, goji berries, chia seeds, pistachios and blueberries. What do these foods have in common? You got it -- They're all referred to as super-foods. So, what exactly does that mean, anyways?

MYTH 9: Superfoods will keep you super-healthy.

THE TRUTH: Sorry! No food has superpowers to keep you healthy on its own. Even if a food is bursting with a beneficial nutrient, your body needs more than that to be healthy. Unfortunately, there’s no official “superfood” definition, and the term is sometimes used to market trendy, expensive foods, like goji and açaí berries, that don’t always live up to their superior claims. And some basic foods that aren’t called “super,” such as apples, can be equally nutritious, less costly and more widely available. Enjoying a diet that is rich in a variety of healthy foods, not just the trendiest, is the key to good health.

For super tips for healthy eating, visit:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sweet! Artificial Sweeteners Can be Part of Healthy Eating.

If you like a little sweetness in your life but are concerned about using sugars, artificial sweeteners may be a good alternative for you. Not everyone is comfortable with consuming these compounds, but here's the truth behind their effects on your health.

MYTH 31: Artificial sweeteners have too many chemicals to be healthy.

THE TRUTH: Artificial sweeteners can be part of healthy eating. Health Canada approves all sweeteners for safety before they can be sold in Canada. Health Canada also develops strict guidelines for how food producers can use a sweetener, as well as advice on how much is safe to eat each day. Artificial sweeteners add a sweet taste while limiting calories and can be enjoyed in moderation, as part of a healthy diet.

More information on artificial sweeteners:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cutting Carbs to Lose Weight? Here's What You Need to Know

Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy for our bodies. Most often, when people are trying to lose weight, the first foods that get nixed are those which provide carbohydrates. For that reason, the topic of today's myth is all about our favourite, feel-good nutrients, carbohydrates and their relationship to weight loss.

MYTH 2: Avoid carbs if you want to lose weight.

THE TRUTH: Cutting carbohydrates (carbs) might help you lose weight in the short term,but it’s mostly because you are eating less food and fewer calories. Drastically cutting carbs means you’ll miss out on the nutritional benefits of healthy choices like whole grains, fruit, starchy vegetables, and legumes. Because so many foods are off-limits, it can be tough to stick with low-carb diets for very long. The best weight-loss plan is one you can stick with. To lose weight and keep it off, exercise regularly and use Canada’s Food Guide to plan a balanced diet with good food choices in the right amounts for you.

For more information, visit:

Friday, March 16, 2012

Are Organic Foods Worth the Cost?

Seeing as how tomorrow is the day we paint the town Green (St. Patty's Day), today's myth-busting topic is a little green too.

Eating natural, unrefined, unprocessed foods straight from the Earth has become very popular over the past decade. As a result, many folks believe that choosing organic products will make them and their families healthier or better off than by choosing conventional products. The argument sounds fair, but what's the real deal?

MYTH 1: Organic foods are the safest and healthiest choice for you.

THE TRUTH: Both organic and non-organic foods are nutritious and safe to eat when you’re making healthy choices based on Canada’s Food Guide. Many factors affect a food’s nutritional value, such as where and how it was grown, stored, shipped and even how it was cooked. So organic foods may have more, about the same, or less nutrients than non-organic foods. And both organic and non-organic foods are grown and produced under strict regulations to make sure they are safe for you to eat. Like any food purchase, buying organic food is a personal choice.

Find out more about organic foods:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Don’t be Fooled by “Multi-Grain.” Here’s the Whole Truth:

Whole wheat, whole grain, multi-grain, 12-grain, sprouted grain...the possibilities seem endless when we're looking for healthy carbohydrate choices. What do these different terms mean and which ones are the healthiest choices for us to eat? There are pros and cons to each, but here's a quick breakdown of a couple of common contenders.

MYTH 21: “Multi-grain” is the same as “whole grain.”

THE TRUTH: Multi-grain isn’t always whole grain. Multi-grain products include different grains, but they may not be whole. You’ll get the greatest health benefits from eating whole grains. To make sure a food is made with whole grains, look on the food label’s ingredient list for the words “whole grain” in front of each grain name. If whole grains are the main ingredients in a food, they should appear first in the ingredient list. Make at least half of your grain products whole grain each day.

More on choosing whole grains:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Vitamins and Minerals: Think Food First!

Vitamin and mineral supplements are wildly popular and readily available almost anywhere. You can pick them up while shopping at the mall, doing your groceries and even at your hair salon. But who really needs them, why and how much do they need? That's what we aim to set straight today with our myth-busting!

MYTH 5: You need vitamin and mineral supplements to be healthy.

THE TRUTH: Vitamin and mineral supplements can’t replace the benefits of healthy food or provide nutrients such as fibre, carbohydrates, essential fats and protein. Most healthy people can meet their vitamin and mineral needs by following Canada’s Food Guide. There are some times in your life, however, when you might need supplements. For example, Canada’s Food Guide recommends that adults over the age of 50 take 400 IU of vitamin D each day. Also, women who could become pregnant, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding need a daily multivitamin with folic acid. Talk to your doctor or Registered Dietitian about your needs before taking any supplements.

Learn more about vitamin and mineral supplements:

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sprinkling Sea Salt Because You Think it’s Better For You? Think Again!

It's finally Friday :) Today's the that many of us relax and unwind after a long week by going out to restaurants for dinner with friends or family. Socializing over food is great, but where there's restaurant food, there's usually SODIUM!! Today's myth-busting is to ensure that you're not fooled by fancy names.

MYTH 7: Sea salt is natural so it’s better for you than table salt.

THE TRUTH: Sea salt, just like kosher and gourmet salt, has about the same amount of sodium as table salt. It is not a healthier choice. Too much sodium can be harmful to your health. The differences between sea salt and table salt are taste, texture and how they are made. Table salt is mined from dried-up ancient salt lakes. Some table salts include iodine, a nutrient that helps prevent thyroid disease. Sea salt is made by evaporating seawater and tastes different depending on where it’s from. Whichever salt you choose, use less. For a flavour boost, sprinkle food with orange or lemon juice, garlic, herbs or spices.

And there you have it! Get the scoop on salt:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

How much protein do you really need?

Happy Thursday! NIM's Myth Busters here again doing what we do best. Today we're looking at National Nutrition Month's MYTH #28: Eating a lot of protein helps build muscle.

Here's THE TRUTH: Protein alone does not build muscle mass. A strength-training program, along with enough calories from healthy foods, recovery time and sleep, are also needed for building muscle. Sure, you need protein, but overdoing it adds extra calories and won’t build bigger muscles. While most people get enough protein from their daily diet, strength-training athletes, like bodybuilders, might benefit from more protein, especially in post-workout snacks. But even that extra amount of protein can be met by simply choosing protein-rich foods from Canada’s Food Guide, such as lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, lower-fat milk and alternatives, and legumes.

More information on fuelling your fitness:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sugar, Sugar or Sugar? It's All the Same to Your Body!

Are you ready for some more nutrition myth busting? Here's one that dietitians (and I'm sure you) hear all the time...

MYTH 30: Honey, brown sugar and agave syrup are better for you than white sugar.

So what's THE TRUTH? Nutritionally speaking, they are all pretty much the same. While some people consider brown sugar, honey or agave syrup to be more natural, they are still sugars. All are concentrated sources of calories with very few other nutrients. Your body can’t tell the difference between them and white sugar. In fact, your body handles naturally occurring sugar in food or processed sugars and syrups in the same way. Excess sugar in any form gives you extra calories. Whether you choose to use honey, brown sugar, agave syrup or white sugar, use small amounts.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March is National Nutrition Month!

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 is dedicated to busting up popular food and nutrition myths by bringing the truth to Canadians from dietitians, the food and nutrition experts.

Since today is the First day of March, let's kick things with a myth and truth, shall we?

MYTH 2: Avoid carbs if you want to lose weight.

THE TRUTH: Cutting carbohydrates (carbs) might help you lose weight in the short term, but it’s mostly because you are eating less food and fewer calories. Drastically cutting carbs means you’ll miss out on the nutritional benefits of healthy choices like whole grains, fruit, starchy vegetables, and legumes. Because so many foods are off-limits, it can be tough to stick with low-carb diets for very long. The best weight-loss plan is one you can stick with. To lose weight and keep it off, exercise regularly and use Canada’s Food Guide to plan a balanced diet with good food choices in the right amounts for you.

Cutting carbs to lose weight? Are you doing more harm than good? Find out here

For more information, visit: