Leadership Centre

Supporting leadership capacity building within Ontario.

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Enhancing leadership competencies, facilitating thoughtful discussion and examination of leadership issues for public health professionals.

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Community Food Advisor

Promoting safe and nutritious food selection, preparation and storage practices.

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Public Health and You

Your questions about public health answered...all in one place.

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Ontario Public Health Association

Committed to improving the health of Ontarians.

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Since 1949, OPHA has served as a catalyst for development in the Public Health sector.

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Nutrition Resource Centre

Credible public health nutrition at your fingertips.

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Strengthening the capacity of health professionals across all care settings and in all communities across Ontario.

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The Better Path to Weight Management

The Better Path to Weight Management
Our next #30in30 #nutritionmonth blog post is from Cara Rosenbloom, Registered Dietitian. Thank you for submitting!
For people looking to manage thier weight, there’s no shortage of diet advice coming from multiple channels. Plain-Jane guidance to eat right and exercise is not particularly exciting and it comes with no celebrity endorsement, but for many people it’s the only thing that works. Unfortunately, that simple messages is clouded by the much louder voices that shout gluten free! Paleo! Detox! Juice cleanse! 
It’s difficult to ignore the multitude of websites, magazine and TV segments that feature famous faces convincing us that life improved when they began to avoid gluten (or any other maligned nutrient du jour). These events lead consumers to believe that if they follow suit, they can be like the celebrities they see.
It’s time to reset this thinking. Without any scientific credentials, it’s illogical to take the word of your favourite star over the tried-and-true advice from nutrition researchers. I’d like to tell you what the science reveals.
The best way to manage weight
Obesity is complex. Genetics, activity level, environment, diet and social-economic factors all influence weight, and since obesity has no one specific cause, there can’t be one precise solution. Gluten alone does not cause obesity. Nor does salt, sugar, potatoes, grains or any other single food or nutrient in isolation. It’s a bigger picture, where diet and lifestyle choices intermingle. And celebrity-endorsed fad diets are not the answer to this dilemma.
Over the years, researchers have studied many different dietary patterns to see if one method is better than others for weight loss. A recent meta-analysis of all diet types examined 48 studies. Researchers noted that significant weight loss can be achieved with many different diet plans, and one size does not fit all. 
Weight loss can be achieved by following a low carbohydrate diet, but can also work if you follow a Mediterranean diet or vegetarian diet, both of which are high in carbohydrates, including vegetables, fruit, whole grains and legumes. Many different eating plans can work – the key is finding the one that you can stick to in the long term, where you enjoy the food and it becomes your lifestyle. If you love bread, it’s doubtful that a grain-free diet will work for you. And if you love meat, you probably won’t stick with a vegetarian diet. You need to be happy with the plan you choose.  
People who start a diet that’s hard to stick with will ultimately give up, and they feel like they have failed. This negative pattern repeats itself over and over again, frustrating the dieter. The best diet for you is one that you enjoy life-long. Most likely, that means it’s NOT a diet that eliminates whole food groups or ingredients.
More whole foods
A key factor that strings together successful eating plans is that they all minimize processed foods in favour of eating more whole foods. That means vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, legumes and lean protein are favoured, while intake of highly processed food with lots of preservatives, food colouring and refinement is reduced.
Appropriate portions of foods that are as close to nature as possible have the added bonus of reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, dementia and some types of cancer. The other benefit of whole foods is that they lead you back into your kitchen to prepare them, and cooking meals from scratch is key. 
Think twice before giving up grains
One of the hottest trends in weight loss is to remove grains from the diet, and whether it’s low carb, grain-free or just eschewing gluten, this idea has little merit. In fact, a review of 66 studies shows an inverse link between whole grains and weight – that means people who eat more whole grains actually weighed less compared to those who rarely consume whole grains.
Bonus: A 2015 study from Harvard showed that eating whole grains is associated with up to 15 percent lower mortality—particularly from heart disease.
The bottom line? Find what works for you. Work with a registered dietitian to figure out the best plan. And remember, if it sounds implausible or too good to be true, it probably is. 


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