In 1992, Canada created and released ‘Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating’. Although it wasn’t the first of its kind or concept, it was this guideline that kick-started, fueled, and continues to fuel (amongst other things) the obesity and diabetes epidemic. By definition, an epidemic is a widespread occurrence of a disease in a community at a particular time’. For something to be considered an epidemic, you would need to see more cases of the illness than one would normally expect to see (based on previous experience). In many cases, the word epidemic describes a disease that creates a threat to the general public and that kills many people. Because of the drastic, unprecedented, and recent spike in diabetes and obesity, which has been associated with over 25,000 Canadian deaths annually, all boxes on the epidemic checklist are ticked.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
So what does the Food Guide to Healthy Eating have to do with this growing epidemic? Well, the answer is short and sweet: Its recommendations.
In 1992, Canada made a recommendation of 5 – 12 servings of bread, cereals, rice, and pasta EACH DAY. These recommendations were based on selective, and cherry-picked studies. Science has since caught up with these recommendations and it has proved time and time again that eating a high carb diet, or even eating carbs in excess (especially refined carbs and sugar) is the cause of obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. So with bread, cereals, rice, and pasta is the food group of priority, it’s no wonder a lot of us are overweight and dealing with a growing number of health issues that have only become prevalent throughout recent years.
5 – 12 servings of bread, cereals, rice and pasta EACH DAY
Now carbohydrates aren’t all bad. They are our body’s main source of energy and after they are consumed they are broken down into smaller units of sugar (glucose), which enter the bloodstream and are transported to various tissues and organs including muscles and the brain, where it is used as energy. If the body doesn’t require all of the glucose that is consumed, it stores it as glycogen in the liver and skeletal muscles (the muscles attached to your bones). The body has a limited storage capacity for glycogen, and if the glycogen stores are full, glucose is then stored as fat. There is not one definitive quantity that dictates how much glycogen we can all store because as with almost everything – it varies amongst everybody. You will however be very surprised at how little you actually need! And it certainly isn’t 5 – 12 servings per day for the majority of us.
BUT THEN THIS HAPPENED!
In 2007, Canada’s Food Guide was updated possessing slightly better guidelines, and has also begun to touch on a prior missed critical point – more customized guidelines for gender and age differences. When it comes to exercise and nutrition, a one-size-fits-all approach does not work. Although biochemically and physiologically we all function the same way, we all have different deficiencies, nutrient levels, absorption rates and abilities, weaknesses, and strengths. So my optimal diet may be vastly different from yours, and in fact, it more than likely is! A diet high in protein and very high in non-starchy, fibrous vegetables, should be the base diet used to counteract the damage high-carb diets have caused and are causing. From there, you should always listen to your body and how it responds to different foods consumed – do you hit a mid-day slump? How about a mid-morning or mid-afternoon one? Are you energized throughout the day? Do you sleep well? Do you get bloating after meals or cramps or become gassy? Are your moods constant or all over the place? Do you have acne? These are all things you can look out for to know if a diet is working for, or against you. Team your newfound body awareness with a good trainer, and you’ll be all set to take over the world! (If not the whole world, YOUR world at least).
Contact OBF Gyms for a complementary assessment to get started with one of our trainers today!