Submitted by: Marie Traynor RD
Registered Dietitian and Public Health Nutritionist, Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

The theme for this year’s Nutrition Month is to take the fight out of food, and many people find themselves fighting through a tremendous amount of nutrition information out there, and not all of it is credible. Dietitians of Canada suggests the following tips to help spot nutrition misinformation. Ask yourself these five questions:

Is the person or product promising a quick fix? If it sounds too good to be true, then it likely is!

Are they trying to sell you products, such as special foods or supplements, instead of suggesting how to improve food choices at home, at play, at work or while eating out?
Is the information based on personal stories, rather than on facts? Although it’s nice to hear about a success story from a celebrity, it’s not proof that something works, or is true.
Is the claim based on a single study, or a few research studies? Were the studies with animals, or humans? Are you similar to the humans that were studied? The stronger the study design, and the more studies that draw the same conclusions, the stronger the evidence that something it true.

Lastly, ask about the person’s qualifications. You wouldn’t ask a celebrity how to build a safe bridge, you’d ask a professional engineer. You wouldn’t ask a contractor to fill your cavity, you’d ask a dentist. The same applies for nutrition advice. The title “dietitian” is protected by law, just like a nurse, dentist or pharmacist. In Ontario, look for the initials “RD” to identify a registered dietitian.

And while a delicate topic – our digestive systems can sometimes feel like we are fighting with our food. If a person regularly struggles with gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea or any other digestive problem, please see a doctor or Registered Dietitian (RD). To keep your digestive system healthy here are four tips from the RDs at EatRight Ontario:
Eat lots of fibre rich foods like vegetables and fruit, whole grain breads, pastas and cereals, and legumes like beans, peas and lentils. But add fibre slowly to your diet, with lots of liquids, water is best! If you add fibre too quickly it may cause pain or bloating.
Move your body. Regular physically activity helps keep food moving through your digestive system. Adults should aim for 150 minutes a week.

Eat and go to the washroom regularly. Regular meals and snacks help to move food through your body. Prevent constipation by going when you feel you need to. As waste sits in your large intestine, the stool loses water and becomes harder to pass.

Talk to a Registered Dietitian if you think certain foods trigger digestive problems. If you chew gum, eat fast, use a straw, or suck on hard candy, the swallowed air could be causing gas. The same thing can happen with smoking and the Health Unit can help if you want to try to quit.

For more information visit www.healthunit.org where you’ll find a directory of local Registered Dietitians. Connect with the Health Unit on Facebook and Twitter. Speak with a Registered Dietitian at no cost by calling EatRight Ontario 1-877-510-5102.

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