The Blog

March Promotion!

By Kim Banting,

Spring is fast approaching and it’s a great time to think about cleaning up your diet and cleaning out your body.  Over the winter, we are bundled up in warm clothing and eating heavier, more comforting foods.  This can weigh down the body and cause you to feel sluggish and lazy.  Once the snow melts and the sun starts shining, it’s time to get moving again and start eating foods that will help you feel lighter and more energetic.

Book an appointment with me for a Food Journal Analysis.  Keep a 7 Day Food Journal and I will review it with you and show you where you can make simple improvements to your current habits that will help you to reach your health goals.

This is a 1 hour appointment that I normally charge $100 for, but for the month of March, you can get my help for only $20!

Whether you are looking to shed a couple of pounds, improve your health or just want to get motivated, this is a great tool that will help you to feel vibrant and refreshed!

Email me at or call me at 647-202-7649 to book your appointment!

Don’t wait, this offer is only available for the month of March.


Is Your Stress-Release Backfiring On You?

By Kim Banting,

It’s Friday afternoon and so many of us are looking forward to the weekend.  It’s been a busy week at work and your stress levels may be soaring. For some of us, a trip to the pub with co-workers is on the table to blow off some steam; but are after work drinks helping to lower your stress levels?

Having a couple of drinks can promote the neurotransmitter GABA, which helps to lower adrenaline and make you feel relaxed.  So after a stressful work week, we can feel sociable and far less serious, at least for a little while.  However, after about an hour or so, GABA levels lower which causes us to feel irritable, so maybe we have another drink, and another…The problem arises because too many drinks will suppress your GABA levels.  We don’t always notice this because after a session of drinking, we go to sleep while still under the effects of the alcohol.

Alcohol also disturbs your normal sleep cycles and interrupts dreaming.  Dreaming helps to refresh the brain.  You wake in the morning to find you are mentally tired and grouchy because of low GABA levels and dehydration.  You also feel sluggish as your body detoxifies from the alcohol you drank the night before.

The bottom line is, that 1 drink will help you to relax, but too many drinks will leave you more stressed in the long run.


It’s Promo Time!

For the month of March only, I am offering Food Journal assessments for only $20!!  Send me a message at and we can book your appointment!   This service has a value of $100, so you really want to take advantage of this now!


Our Emotional Connection to Food

By Kim Banting,

I would like to offer you a different perspective of the phrase “you are what you eat”.


Our five senses deliver an emotional response.  Have you ever smelled fresh cut grass and been reminded of the first time you ever noticed it?  or felt a soft, warm rain on your skin and recalled a specific time and place?  or picked up a photograph of a loved one and were immediately taken back in time with that person?  We carry memories in our senses that bring up very strong emotions.  When we see a table spread with a family meal, hear the sound of onions sizzling, smell a freshly cut apple, touch the leafy greens of a salad we are tossing or taste something we carefully prepared, we are sending signals to our body that prepares it to receive this food.  We are also exchanging energy between our body and the food that affects how it will nourish us!  It may sound crazy, but it’s absolutely true.


Imagine this:

You are having a terrible day.  You feel miserable and just want to get home and shut yourself away from everything and everyone.  On your way home, you are walking through a park and come across an apple tree.  Hanging right at eye level is the most perfect apple you have ever seen.  You pick it and take a moment to inhale the sweetness of it’s skin.  You feel it’s warmth from hanging in the bright sun.  You take a bite and it is crisp and juicy and the perfect balance of tart and sweet, and it floods your taste buds.  You take a deep, cleansing breath and find a patch of grass to sit on and enjoy your apple while breathing in the fresh air and feeling the sun on your skin.   How do you feel now?

On the other hand; you are having a terrible day and simply make your way home through busy city traffic.  You get home and find a bag of chips which you promptly open and grab a handful.  They are crispy, greasy and absolutely satisfying!  You take the bag of chips to the sofa and sit down to watch TV while you continue to eat chips until they are gone.  You don’t really recall eating the chips because you were focused on your program.  You didn’t mean  to eat the entire bag……How does this make you feel?


These two scenarios show that our emotions can influence what we eat, but also, that what we eat can influence our emotions.  Since the food you eat contains the necessary building blocks for your cells and tissues, consider how the emotion you feel while eating will impact these building blocks, cells and tissues.  Therefore, how we eat is just as important as what we eat.  Taking the time to create a calm, relaxed environment, and noticing your food: look at it, smell it, touch it and then taste it; putting your fork down between bites and chewing slowly while noticing all the flavours and textures that come up; being aware of your food and feeling gratitude for your meal…all of this creates our mindset so that while you are eating you are charging your food with energy as well as aiding in a smooth and efficient digestive process.


When we eat in a relaxed manner, when we feel calm and are enjoying our food, our body prepares for digestion by secreting saliva and hydrochloric acid , both of which affect activity in the intestines and our microbacteria (probiotics) which further assist in the breakdown of our food.  Feeling joyful while eating helps to promote more healthy bacteria in the gut which aids digestion and boosts our immunity.  Feeling stressed, fearful or angry while eating reduces numbers of good bacteria and allows pathogens to flourish which is detrimental to digestion as well as your entire health.


Another part of our emotional connection to food lies with how we identify ourselves through our food choices:  I’m a vegan, I only eat raw foods, I’m a meat eater, I’m gluten-free, dairy-free, an omnivore, only eat organic, vegetables are rabbit food, etc.  We associate an image with each of these labels that cause us, and others to draw conclusions about the other choices we make.  If you are a healthy eater, do you also make your own hemp clothing and live off the grid?  Are carnivores violent, insensitive people?  No, of course not.  However, our associations with our food choices does, to some extent affect our molecular function as well as impacts how others will treat us.  When I say this affects our molecular function, I’m referring to how our emotions can affect our physical bodies and our health.  Remember my earlier imagery of the bad day and finding the apple.  A very simple experience can have a powerful result on your well being.


So the next time you are having a meal, take the time to sit down and take a few deep breaths before eating.  Look at your food.  Smell your food.  Feel grateful for your meal.  Set your fork down between bites and chew each bite thoroughly before swallowing.  I guarantee that this experience will change the way you feel after your meal.






Cooking Beans and Lentils

By Kim Banting,

Earlier this week, I had just suggested that beans and lentils are a really great plant based protein for vegetarians, and then someone in the group asked me about….GAS!  So here I am to give some tips and much needed pointers about how certain cooking methods may help to alleviate this unfortunate problem.

Beans and lentils belong to the legume family, which includes beans, lentils, soy and peanuts.  Legumes contain starches that are referred to as galactans which are short chain fermentable carbohydrates or FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharies Disaccharides Monosaccharides And Polyols).  Quite the mouthful!  Let’s just call them legumes and understand that they contain starches that can cause bloating and flatulence.

The good news is that there are cooking methods that will help break down these starches, making them much easier to digest.

1.  Try buying sprouted lentils and beans.  You can find them in many grocery stores now, although only a few varieties are available.  However, you can sprout your own by buying ORGANIC beans and soaking them overnight in water.  After soaking for 12 hours, drain and leave them in a mason jar or sprouting tray.  Every 12 hours, soak them again and drain until you see small tails sprouting from them.  This usually takes about 3 days.  At this point, you can now cook the legumes.  You have cut the cooking time in half by soaking for so long.  For example, green lentils which normally take 25 minutes to cook, will now cook in 10 minutes!

2.  If you haven’t planned 3 days ahead, worry not, because you can still soak your beans for 8-12 hours and you will still break down some of the starches that cause bloating.  Be sure to drain and rinse well, then add to a pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, then drain and rinse well again.  One last time, add to a pot and cover with 3 inches of water.  Add one or two pieces of seaweed like kombu or dulse.  Seaweeds contain all 56 essential minerals and during the cooking time, they will dissolve and enrich the beans.  Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until tender.  This time is different for all beans and lentils.  Lentils cook quicker; between 15-40 minutes and beans anywhere between 1-2 1/2 hours.

For some people, lentils are easier to digest than dense beans.  However, for some people, no amount of careful cooking will make them comfortable to digest and they should be avoided.  Don’t worry if you are a vegetarian though, because there are plenty of plant based protein foods to choose from: hemp hearts, quinoa, wild rice, brown rice and leafy green veggies are just a few of my favorites.


Beat Your Food Cravings!

By Kim Banting,

Tips to Confront Overeating

At Parties:

  1. If it is potluck, bring something you enjoy and know you can eat guilt-free.

  2. Eat what you want, but in moderation. If there are bacon-wrapped scallops on the table and they are calling your name, have one. Otherwise you may end up overindulging in other snacks as a distraction.

  3. Don’t overdo it. Enjoy the food, but remember to keep portion sizes small and balanced. Eat slowly, savouring the food and avoid choosing only foods with poor nutrition.

  4. Eat at home before you go out. Choose a snack that is nutritious and high in protein such as tuna salad on flax crackers or a bowl of hearty bean soup. Being satisfied will help you control your cravings.

  5. Focus on the people rather than the food. Position yourself in conversations away from the food and keep your back turned to it.

  6. Drink in moderation and eat before you drink to prevent a drop in blood sugar. Also, drink plenty of water. In fact, take 1 full glass of water to every alcoholic drink you have.

  7. If you do overindulge, get back on track the next morning with a nutritious breakfast and add an extra 30 minutes to your exercise routine.

Stress Induced, Other:

  1. Wait. Cravings will often disappear after 15-30 minutes.

  2. Cravings will often disappear with distraction, so focus your attention on something else. If you can’t stop thinking about that food, then choose to eat a smaller serving or indulge in a healthier option.

  3. If you tend to have specific times of the day where you are inclined to binge or crave poor food choices, having something non food related to look forward to can help deter the craving.

  4. Keep healthy snacks on hand for quick snacking at times of day you know you tend to want poor choices.

  5. Keep your food journal posted on the fridge. It reminds you to think before you are eating. Post-it notes on your snack cupboard with messages about your goals can be great, positive reminders as well.

  6. Make rules around food, such as you only eat while sitting down with no distractions or you always set your fork down between bites. Your focus on your meal will help you become more aware of your body’s signals of satisfaction.

  7. Find a friend who is like-minded about food and eating. Support is a key to success.

  8. Don’t skip meals and choose wholesome, balanced meals and snacks to nourish your body. Proper nutrition is key to overcoming cravings.

  9. Refuse to allow others to sabotage you or break your resolve. People who aren’t ready for health changes often have a hard time supporting people who are ready and will unconsciously push you to join them in indulgence.

  10. Every time you resist the urge to purchase junk foods, put the money you would have spent in a jar and watch it grow. Indulge in an item you have really wanted or better yet, new clothes for the new you!

  11. Never shop when hungry. Make a list, set a budget and stick to it.


Conscious Eating Workshop

By Kim Banting,


Let’s reconnect with our food!

We all live fast-paced, busy lives.

Many of us are grabbing convenience foods and eating on the run.

It’s time to slow down, pay attention to what we are eating and shift gently into making healthier choices.

Join me on November 16th, 2015 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm at Studio89 at 1065 Canadian Place, unit 104, Mississauga, ON for a fascinating discussion about how food affects our brains and bodies, followed by a Conscious Eating meditation that will help you to discover the TRUE JOY of eating!


Scared of Saturated Fats? Read This!

By Kim Banting,

We only know as much as our current scientific research has shared with us.  It changes constantly and contributes to a lot of confusion when it comes to our health and what foods we consider to be wholesome or harmful.  Saturated fat is another confusing food to contemplate. For the past 60 years, we have been advised to reduce or eliminate saturated fats and cholesterol from our diets and substitute them with polyunsaturated fats, however, the current evidence does not support these guidelines and the adverse health effects associated with the consumption of saturated fats are most likely due to other factors.

In 1955, scientific researcher, Ansel Keys introduced his lipid hypothesis which claimed that dietary fat raised blood cholesterol and increased the risk of heart disease.  Initially he blamed all fats, but eventually he pointed his finger at saturated fat alone and stated that unsaturated fats such as vegetable oil were beneficial, while saturated fats from meat and eggs were harmful.  Health Canada jumped on board, telling us to avoid butter, eggs, meat and high fat dairy foods and emphasized the low fat diet craze to prevent Cardiovascular Disease.  The public bought this advise and switched to margarine, leaner meats and fish, but heart disease has risen anyway.

In a recent British Medical Journal review, titled “Saturated Fat is Not The Major Issue”, Dr. Aseem Malhotra wrote “saturated fat has been demonized ever since Ansel Key’s landmark “7 Countries” study in 1970.”  When Ansel Keys shared his theory, many other researchers pointed out that there were many other factors that could have been contributing to heart disease, and that Mr. Keys conveniently excluded information that did not support his ideas.  The countries he chose for his 7 countries study with the highest rates of heart disease were also the countries with the highest sugar consumption, yet this was quietly swept under the carpet.  In spite of critics pointing out the discrepancy, the public ate it up and began to consume inflammatory vegetable oils and trans fats while avoiding saturated fat like the plague.  Until the mid-90′s, scientific researchers assured us that trans fats were complete harmless.

While some fats do raise cholesterol, and others lower it, it is not total cholesterol that is of such importance, so much as the type of cholesterol.  Your total ratio of HDL to LDL is very important, but so is the type of LDL!  I will get to this in a bit.  For now, let’s agree that saturated fat raises both HDL and LDL where sugar only lowers HDL.  This is important, because HDL is the good cholesterol and LDL is the bad.  Next, the quality, or source of your saturated fat is crucial.  A fast food burger, or any beef that is mass produced in a CAFO is NOT quality meat.  (CAFO stands for Confined Agricultural Feeding Operation)  The animals raised in CAFO’s are never exposed to a grass pasture.  They spend their entire existence in a concrete or mud enclosure, knee-deep in their own waste.  They are fed genetically modified corn and soy, which is not their natural diet.  This feed is designed to make them gain their maximum weight in the shortest time.  These animals are depressed and sick and must be given antibiotics to combat the bacterial growth that is inevitable given their living conditions and poor diet.

Grass-fed cattle are raised in what we would typically think of as the family farm environment.  They are let out to pasture daily to graze on plants.  They move around in a clean environment and get exercise.  These cows are only supplemented with organic feed if necessary during harsh winters.  These are healthy, happy animals and nutritionally they are far superior to CAFO animals.  Just consider two humans: one who eats plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and gets regular exercise to another who eats mainly processed and refined foods and lays around indoors-who will be in better health?  Grass-fed cows are lower in saturated fat than grain-fed cows and this saturated fat is higher in stearic acid (does not raise cholesterol and may even lower LDL), and lower in palmitic acid and myristic acid which raise cholesterol.

Our understanding of cholesterol has changed over the years; not only do we know that HDL is healthy and LDL is bad, but within LDL cholesterol there are molecules that are large and fluffy (good) and some molecules that are small and dense (bad), meaning some LDL is good.  Eating some saturated fats like coconut oil will help to raise this healthy cholesterol.  As an added bonus, many saturated fats have properties that make them anti-microbial which helps our immune system and they are fuel for our mitochondria which helps boost energy and metabolism.  That’s right, some fat will help you burn calories!

When studying the causes of any disease, we must always look at all possibilities.  In the research on Cardiovascular Disease, saturated fat and cholesterol got the bad press while sugar flew under the radar.  Sugar, especially HFCS and other highly refined, man-made sugars have been on higher consumption for the past 70 years, just like the increase in Cardiovascular Disease!

  • 1830: 15lbs/capita, mostly molasses-today: 150lbs/capita, mostly HFCS
  • 1900: 1/3 of people lived on a farm-today: 1% of people live on a farm
  • 1910: type 2 Diabetes affected 1 in 30-today: 1 in 3 is at risk
  • 1910: butter consumption was 18lbs per person per year and CVD was <10%-today:  we eat <4lbs per year and CVD is >45%!

In the early 1900′s, butter and lard were staples in every home, but far less sugar was consumed and heart attacks were rare.  None of our sugar came from high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) but in the past 30 years, since it has been introduced, we have seen obesity and chronic diseases skyrocket!  A high sugar and refined carb diet may increase your risk of CVD by 4 times; specifically heart attacks!

Dietary guidelines limit saturated fat intake to a maximum of 10% of calories, but there has been no limit to sugar intake to date.  Sugar contributes to increased triglycerides, lower HDL and higher LDL as well as inflammation, which is the precursor to all chronic disease.  We have been eating more and more highly processed foods that are labelled low-fat and fat-free, but if you inspect the label, you will see that the fat has been replaced by sugar and total carbs is very high in low-fat foods.  Bottom line: do not fear saturated fat, but do choose healthy sources like coconut oil, grass-fed beef and eggs from pastured hens.  Eat a diet that is abundant in fresh fruits and vegetables and limit sugar of all kinds.  If your great grandparents wouldn’t recognize it as food, don’t eat it!


Nourish to Flourish!

By Kim Banting,

I am now offering a new service to those in the Mississauga and Brampton area.  Nourish to Flourish is anti-inflammatory, gluten-free, dairy-free meals delivered to your door!

I have found that the weak link for many of my clients is finding the time to prepare food for themselves.  Oftentimes people are cooking for their whole family and some family members aren’t interested in eating this type of food.  Other times people may be intimidated of cooking and using new ingredients.

There is no more need to sacrifice your health.  If you are one of the many people who need a specific diet or simply want to eat for optimal wellness, this service is for you!  Each week I will send you the next week’s menu choices.  $100 per week covers 5 main meals and 2 snacks/desserts.  Each dish is carefully prepared from fresh, local, seasonal and mostly organic ingredients.

Call me for more information!  647.202.7649



Food Addiction and Binge Eating

By Kim Banting,

Why do we struggle with an uncontrollable desire to eat the wrong foods, even though we know they are harmful to our health?  Processed foods contain carefully combined flavours and other sensory factors designed to keep us wanting more.  This makes them highly addictive and is very different from whole foods  which have taste and consistency of which is created in nature and therefore work with your body to satiate hunger and cravings.

Refined sugar is as addictive as cocaine, but sugar is not the sole culprit in food addiction.  ”Flavour science” is how food manufacturers combine specific flavours and textures to create Frankenfoods that we can’t get enough of.  Have you ever tried to make from scratch something you would normally buy at the store, like ice cream?  Your version will be very different in taste and consistency than the store-bought version.  Some people find this difference unappealing, but this is only because you have been trained to think the processed version is superior.  Everything that comes in a package has been enhanced to achieve a desired product.  Junk food manufacturers use “food science” to bring processed foods to extraordinary levels and create what is referred to as the “bliss point”.  This seriously confuses and muddles your body’s metabolism.  For example, artificial sweeteners disrupt your metabolic response to real sugar, exacerbating obesity and diabetes.  Your body isn’t fooled by a sweet taste with zero calories, so it keeps signaling to your brain to continue eating because the point of satisfaction isn’t reached.

What is Food Science?

Food science is how scientists change the properties of food to get a specific quality.  Below are the factors that are considered when a new product is being developed:

  1. Taste and Mouth Feel.   This one is pretty self-explanatory.  The company designing the product has hired people called super tasters to go to produce farms to taste the food grown there and those super tasters then go to the laboratory and assist the scientists to create a flavour, such as strawberry, that is a sweeter, stronger, strawberry-er flavour than any you have ever tasted before.  There may be dozens of vials of “strawberry” flavour in the lab, and together, these people work to choose the most appealing version that will keep the consumer buying their product over a competitior’s.
  2. Macronutrient Content of Food:  The combination of fat, sugar and salt plus additonal flavourings target the brain’s reward centre and it keeps you wanting more.  The reward centre is the area of your brain that pumps out happy hormones, like dopamine.  This gives a chemical feeling of pleasure that can be worn out over time, similar to insulin resistance.
  3. Dynamic Contrast:  Is when a combination of contrasting sensations produces a pleasurable experience; biting through a crunchy chocolate shell into a soft, creamy centre, also called orosensation.
  4. Salivation Response:  Boosts the taste and feelings of pleasure, the food almost swims around the mouth, coating the taste buds. Foods that promote salivation are butter, chocolate, ice cream, mayonaise.  Salivation triggers desire to continue eating.
  5. Rapid Food Meltdown and Vanishing Caloric Density:  (Can you believe this?!??!  The people making food for us to eat actually consider these things.  This is an actual thing!)  Foods that melt quickly in the mouth trick your brain into thinking you aren’t really eating as much as you are.  Cheetos has perfected this.
  6. Sensory Specific Response:  Repetitive flavours  or flavour overload tend to lead to decreased sensations of pleasure.  You “get tired” of eating the same flavour again and again.  Your palate can even tire of a flavour in minutes.  Food manufacturers get around this by creating more complex flavour and sensory profiles.  The greatest successes from food and beverages owe their craveability to formulas that pique taste buds just enough without overwhelming.  This overrides your brain’s inclination to say “enough”.
  7. Caloric Density:  Junk food is designed to convince your brain that it is getting nutrition, but not fill you up.  This is accomplished by combining an ideal number of calories to prevent satiety signals from going off.  Receptors in the mouth tell your brain about how many carbs, protein and fat you are eating and how filling it is.  Compare eating chips with eating a salad.  You could continue eating more and more chips, but with the salad, you will reach a point where you are satisfied.
  8. Memories of Past Eating Experiences:  The psychobiology of junk food works against you.  When you eat something tasty, your brain registers this feeling and experience and logs it away.  Your brain picks up information that you aren’t even aware of like the temperature in the room, the sounds around you and so much more.  This is significant, because the next time you see, smell, read about or think about that food, it triggers the memory of the past experience making it impossible to resist eating it.

All of this is part of making a bag of cookies, snack cakes, french fries, etc.  How do you feel knowing that this is the manipulation that goes into creating food for people to eat?  Do you feel helpless, or powerless to fight it?  Remember this:  the more processed junk food you eat, the more you will come to crave it.  However, when you begin replacing junk food with whole, natural, unprocessed, high-quality, nutrient-dense foods, this is what your body will begin to want more of.  Junk food becomes less appealing over time.  When you make the effort to choose the better option, your body gradually detoxifies and your mood and energy levels begin to shift.  You sleep better, you wake up feeling rested, you want to exercise and you look forward to each and every day!  You will simply become motivated to keep it up.

For more information on why we over eat, read the article attached:





Health Canada Proposes New Nutrition Facts Label

By Kim Banting,


Health Canada has recognized the need to improve the overall look and user-ability of the Nutrition Facts panel and ingredient list on packaged foods. At this very time, there are changes being suggested and the new proposed look is available for us to examine. The changes are meant to make the label easier to read, easier to understand and to reflect the latest scientific information. However, it isn’t completed yet and you have the opportunity to have your voice and opinion heard! This link will take you to Health Canada’s website and there is space for you to offer your suggestions to help make this label the best it can possibly be.


I’m going to compare the current label with the new proposals and offer my humble opinion on what else may be of value.

Current label:

At the top we begin with the serving size. Right now, similar products do not have consistent serving sizes, making it difficult to make a choice.  Yogurt, for example can have serving sizes of 1/3 cup, ½ cup or ¾ cup. If you are trying to compare the nutritional value of two different serving sizes, it can be confusing. Especially if you are shopping in a hurry or have your children along with you! The serving size also doesn’t always accurately or realistically represent how much the average person really eats.

Next we have the % Daily Value which lets the purchaser know how much of a day’s worth of the nutrient is in the serving (if you measure out and eat the suggested serving size). All of the daily percentages are based on the serving size at the top of the label, so it is important to keep in mind that if you double the suggested serving, you are doubling all of the values. This may seem like common sense, but many of us are not measuring our food, and often are eating far more than the recommended amount. Also, keep in mind that the footnote at the bottom of the panel will tells us that the values are based on a 2000 calorie diet, and it will only apply if that is what you also are eating.  (I’m not recommending a 2000 calorie diet for everyone, fyi)

The above label shows that one serving of this product is 160 calories and that 90 of these calories come from fat. That is about 55% and that may be too much depending on what the food is and the type of fat. Remember, fat is far more dense than protein or carbohydrate, giving us 9 calories per gram of food as opposed to 4 calories per gram. While fat is an important nutrient for healthy cells, balanced hormones and a well functioning brain and nervous system, if you are eating a diet that comes mainly from packaged foods, you are not getting healthy fats and you are likely getting far too much.

All of the nutrients at the top of the label (fat, cholesterol and sodium) are the nutrients we are advised to reduce by Health Canada. A percent daily value of 5 or less is considered low and is recommended here. At the bottom of the label are the nutrients we want to get high amounts of (fibre, protein and selected vitamins and minerals). A value of 20% or higher is recommended.

Now compare with the new proposed panel above. Standardized serving sizes will require manufacturers to make “serving sizes” consistent and to better reflect the amount of food people really eat. Calories will move higher and be in larger, bold font to quickly find. There are separate daily values each for fat, saturated fat and trans fat, where before there was only a percentage for total fat and saturated fat. There will be new, updated % values for sodium and sugar which will reflect Health Canada’s new guidelines. Also, carbohydrates now fall into the category of nutrients of health concern that we are advised to limit. This is interesting because in 2004, when the World Health Organization (WHO) tried to include a 10% added sugar limit in the Global Strategy for Diet, Physical Activity and Health, the US Congress, under pressure from the sugar industry lobby, threatened to withdraw US funding for the agency. The direct reference to the 10% was withdrawn from the final report. Which begs the question: who’s best interest does WHO have in mind?

There will now be a % daily value for total sugars as well as a line to indicate the added sugars. 10% added sugars is equal to 13 tsp. Health Canada is recommending total sugars daily, including naturally occurring and added, of 100 grams, which equals 25 tsp. However, they do state that less than 5% added sugars, or 6 tsp would be better. Remember this: in any and all sugars, there are 4 calories per gram, 4 grams per tsp and this adds up to 16 calories per tsp. That adds up to 400 calories per day with 25 tsp. Do we really need 400 calories per day of sugar?

As for vitamins and minerals, there will now be absolute amounts on the label where before we only had a % DV and Vitamin D and potassium will be replacing Vitamins A and C.

A new change will also be in effect for the ingredient list on packaged foods. Lists will be mandated to look consistent from package to package, will have a separate title, minimum font size and be black type on a white background, making it much easier to locate. Bullets will clearly separte ingredients and the entire list will appear in a box. Manufacturers will also be required to group similar ingredients together, helping consumers to more easily find hidden sugars. Currently, labels do not distinguish between added and naturally occurring sugars, such as the sugars found in fruit and dairy.

It is my opinion that this is a great improvement to the Nutrition Facts panel, but I have a couple of other suggestions as well:

  1. There is no mandate to include the number of servings per container either currently, or on this new panel. This would be useful for people to quickly scan the size of the package and ask if it is enough food to satisfy in the suggested size serving or would one need to eat the whole package?
  2. Health claims such as “whole grain” or “antioxidants” should give the %DV of the ingredient used in the claim.
  3. To keep the new guidelines for sugar clear, % values for total sugars and added sugars should be included, as well as the number of calories from sugar.
  4. Highlighting or using a bright colour such as red would quickly bring your eye to very high values for the foods to limit (such as trans fat or added sugars) when they exceed the recommended amount.

Be sure to visit Health Canada’s website for more information and to offer any of your suggestions!

Have a healthy day,

Kim Banting, RNCP