Nutrition Guidelines: Pitfalls of Focusing on Nutrients Instead of Whole Foods

The "Straight Talk about Nutrition Guidelines" symposia will look at the challenges posed by the "nutrient-focused" approach used in dietary guidelines, which has largely ignored the impact of real, whole foods on health.

MONTRÉAL (CNW Telbec) — Leading academics and researchers will reveal their latest findings to health professionals next week at a series of symposia titled "Straight Talk about Nutrition Guidelines" organized by the Registered Dietitians with Dairy Farmers of Canada. The symposia will look at the challenges posed by the "nutrient-focused" approach used in dietary guidelines, which has largely ignored the impact of real, whole foods on health. Researchers at this year's symposium will address the importance of taking a food-based, as opposed to a nutrient-focused approach to dietary guidelines:

  • Is it time to revisit saturated fat guidelines? Benoît Lamarche, PhD, FAHA, Laval University
    Current dietary guidelines encourage limiting saturated fat intake. Yet, new research suggests that the consumption of saturated fat may not be associated with coronary heart disease. In fact, recent research shows that the saturated fat in milk products have actually been associated with a lower risk of heart disease. The time has come to reassess current dietary recommendations related to saturated fat.
  • Dairy fat, obesity and cardiometabolic health: Mario Kratz, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington (Toronto and Vancouver) and Stephan J. Guyenet, PhD, University of Washington (Montréal and Moncton)
    A systematic literature review of existing studies refutes the notion that dairy fat or high-fat dairy foods contribute to obesity or cardiometabolic risk and, in fact, suggests that high-fat dairy consumption, within typical dietary patterns, is inversely associated with obesity risk.
  • Dietary sugars and health: John L. Sievenpiper, MD, PhD, FRCPC, St. Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto
    Sugars have replaced fat as the dominant public health concern in nutrition, sparking numerous debates. However, there are uncertainties and gaps in the scientific evidence linking sugar consumption with negative health effects. Sugars only contribute to weight gain insofar as they contribute to excess calories. Attention needs to remain focused on reducing overconsumption of all highly caloric foods, and more importantly, to consider whole foods and dietary patterns rather than singling out individual nutrients when developing public health guidelines.
  • Sodium recommendations - What are optimal levels? Michael H. Alderman, MD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, U.S.
    Dietary sodium, essential to human existence, has sometimes been a scarce and much valued nutrient. Recently, however, many authorities have suggested that the sodium intake of most people is excessive and can negatively impact health. Yet, there is no evidence that reducing sodium intake to less than 2.3 grams per day (as recommend in dietary guidelines) is associated with health outcomes superior to those of persons consuming between 2.5 and 5.0 grams per day, which is the average consumption.

Dates/Times/Locations of Symposia:

Vancouver- Monday, November 17, 2014
8:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Vancouver Convention Centre
East Meeting Room 1-3 (Parkview Terrace)
999 Canada Place


Montréal - Thursday, November 20, 2014
8:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Centre Mont-Royal
2200 Mansfield Street


Toronto - Wednesday, November 19, 2014
8:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
The Carlu, 7th Floor
444 Yonge Street


Moncton - Friday, November 21, 2014
8:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Crowne Plaza Hotel Moncton Downtown
1005 Main Street

About the Registered Dietitians with Dairy Farmers of Canada
The information provided by our panel of experts is designed to equip health professionals across Canada with the latest information and best available evidence regarding the role of milk products in a healthy diet. The team of dietitians with Dairy Farmers of Canada promotes the wholesome goodness of milk products as part of healthy eating patterns and encourages good nutrition for all Canadians.

Join the conversation on Twitter by using #DFCsympo before and during the event.