Researchers Challenge Common Views on Saturated Fat, Sodium and Sugar

Researchers are challenging the way Canadians think about saturated fat, sodium, and sugar, and are ready to explore the pitfalls posed by the nutrient-focused approach used in dietary guidelines. This took place at a series of cross-Canada symposia titled “Straight Talk about Nutrition Guidelines” held in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and Moncton in November and organized by the Registered Dietitians at Dairy Farmers of Canada.

Traditionally, nutrition recommendations and guidelines have been based on studies largely focused on the effect of specific nutrients on specific risk factors such as LDL-cholesterol or blood pressure, as opposed to looking at the impact of whole foods on actual disease risks. However, this approach to dietary guidelines has largely ignored the true impact on actual health of nutrients, and more importantly real, whole foods.

Research is making it increasingly clear that we need a more food-based approach in our nutrition recommendations that takes into account the true impact of foods on overall health. “With this large growing body of evidence, we, as health professionals, need to be aware of this new data and information which may challenge some of our views,” said Isabelle Neiderer, registered dietitian and Director, Nutrition with Dairy Farmers of Canada. “This is becoming particularly apparent in the areas pertaining to saturated fat and sodium where a growing body of research is questioning some of our assumptions.”

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