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Paleo Diet – What is It?

Diets are not always easy to maintain. However, with the appropriate knowledge on exactly what it means to “diet” and the types of foods that you are putting into your body, as well as a little bit of tenacity and determination, you would actually be surprised at just how easy having a healthy diet can be to sustain.

Unlike certain fad diets that are out there today (most of which focus solely on fast weight loss and counting calories), diets such as the Paleo diet (also known as the “Hunter-Gatherer” diet) are designed to be long-term and help control your glycemic levels, increase your HDL cholesterol levels (otherwise known as the “good” cholesterol), and restrict certain (but not all!) carbohydrates, with the focal point being on your overall well-being. Following a Paleo-based diet is beneficial to your health and decreases your risk of certain health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, osteoporosis, and even certain cancers. Accompanying weight loss, a Paleo based diet also improves your digestion, reduces chronic inflammation, and gives you more energy.

Celery, salmon, chicken, pork, apples and peaches are just some of the examples of foods included in a Paleo-based diet. For a comprehensive list, click here.

The term “Paleo” comes from the prehistoric era from over 2 million years ago known as Paleolithic. If you think about it, processed foods and many of the ingredients that we are ingesting into our systems today did not exist back then – food had to be found or hunted. The Paleo diet gets back to basics, so to speak, and was established upon the foods and lifestyles of our prehistoric ancestors. It predominantly consists of grass-produced meats, omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, walnuts, flaxseed oil, soybeans), rich antioxidants (fruits and vegetables), while it excludes things like processed foods, dairy, grain products, salt and sugar.

The Paleo diet is all about limiting certain foods and strategically choosing others, and it is one of the best diets that you could go on to preserve a healthy body and mind. One incentive of following a Paleo-based diet is the fact that you don’t have to count calories and can even indulge in some of your favourite foods and beverages, as long as it’s done in moderation. For example, dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or higher, is a great source of antioxidants and can lower your risk of heart disease, and while the Paleo diet doesn’t encourage anyone to start drinking alcohol, studies have also suggested that two antioxidants found in red wine, Polyphenol and Resveratrol, can also improve heart health.

Meal planning can be the most difficult part of finding success with any diet, but is an important factor of the Paleo diet, and below are just a few small examples of Paleo-based foods. There are also many different Paleo recipes available online.

Common Health Concerns for Men

As anyone would, men also face certain threats to their health as they age. It isn’t unusual for men to go to the doctor less frequently than women. As a result, men are at a much higher risk of developing serious, life-threatening health conditions. Below, I outline some of the different health concerns men face, along with information on how they are diagnosed and what you can do to treat them.

1. Prostate Cancer
Prostate Cancer Canada recommends that men be screened for prostate cancer by the age of 40 – this according to new guidelines released in 2013. As of 2016, over 20,000 Canadian men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 1 in 8 men will die from it. Prostate screening is initially done by a PSA test – a simple blood test that can determine the amount of PSA protein that is in your blood. Not only can a PSA test indicate whether or not you have prostate cancer, but it can also detect other prostate-related conditions. Common symptoms of prostate cancer include difficulty urinating or having a frequent urge to urinate (especially in the evening), painful urination, or the inability to urinate. Symptoms of prostate cancer are not always present, therefore early detection is important.

2. Heart Disease
While heart disease can affect men and women equally, it is still a health condition that men often worry about. If heart disease runs in your family, you area at a greater risk of developing heart disease yourself. However, other factors also play a part in determining whether or not you will develop heart disease at some point in life – including diet and exercise. It is important to see your physician for annual checkups. At an appointment, Dr. Ali Ghahary will check a patient’s blood pressure and also refer them for basic blood testing, which is often helpful in determining cholesterol levels. If high, this can be a precursor to heart disease.

3. Erectile Dysfunction
While this can be an uncomfortable subject for patients to talk about, it is more common than one might think. According to a recent study done on almost 5,000 Canadian men between the ages of 40 and 80, at least half of those have had ED. Men who have had their prostate removed, have diabetes, and smoke are at a greater risk of developing it.

4. Weight Management
As men age, their metabolism slows down. If your metabolism is slow, your weight can increase. It is important to stay physically fit and make healthy food choices. Read Dr. Ali Ghahary’s articles titled ‘The Surprising Health Benefits of Exercise’ and ‘Weight Loss and Weight Management’ for more information.

Canadian Men’s Health Foundation

Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterized as a complex neurobiological condition that impacts the function of the immune, endocrine, nervous, hepatic and gastrointestinal systems. In addition, it can also severely impact one’s social interactions and development, causing repeated behavioural patterns. The prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder has grown to well over 100% in the last decade. 1 in 68 children have ASD, making it one of the most commonly diagnosed neurobiological conditions in Canada today.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is caused by both environmental and genetic factors, though there has not been a definitive determination as to what, exactly, causes ASD. What is known about ASD, however, is that it can occur in all ethnic and racial backgrounds, and it is a lifelong disorder.

Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder as early as possible can make a world of difference. As it commonly appears in infancy and childhood, there are a number of warning signs that parents should watch for in their children.

While some of the impairments in correlation with autism may only be mild for some children, those same impairments can be quite challenging for others. For example, how your child socializes and interacts with others. This includes verbal and non-verbal communications, how they think and behave, as well as how they relate to their peers and the outside world. It is important to monitor your child’s development to ensure that they are meeting all of the appropriate cognitive, social and emotional milestones for their age. While it’s not always the case, these sorts of delays in development put your child at a heightened risk of having ASD. A child with ASD may also regress. For example, they may stop communicating or using certain words that they would have otherwise commonly used before, (i.e. saying “hello,” “mommy,” etc.) They may also lose interest in games and television shows that they previously enjoyed. Regressions of this nature are considered serious and should not be ignored.

In slightly older children, the signs of autism become much more diversified. They may seem aloof or detached, have difficulty connecting with others and making friends, have trouble discussing their feelings, and dislike being touched. Older children with autism may also have speech and language impediments, such as grammatical errors, repeating words, failing to understand humour or other emotions, and speaking in an abnormal tone. Children with autism also tend to avoid eye contact and will not use gestures to explain how they’re feeling, making them seem robotic-like in nature. It is also not uncommon for a child to have difficulty adapting to change – even something as simple as furniture being moved.

If you suspect that your child might have autism, or if you have any concerns relating to your child’s development, it’s important to address this with your family physician or paediatrician.

Brain Tumour Awareness

In recent years, discussion on brain cancer and tumours has increased. While brain cancer isn’t considered to be one of the most common types of cancer that one could be diagnosed with, it still affects an estimated 3,000 Canadians and 23,000 Americans each year.

Given that there are as many as 100 different types of brain tumours and that they can appear in different parts of the brain, symptoms can oftentimes be vague as well as vary in intensity from person to person. In fact, you can develop symptoms of a brain tumour quickly or gradually – but the symptoms will usually always progress over time. One of the most common initial signs of a brain tumor is head pain – usually described as a headache. While having a headache every now and then isn’t necessarily a specific indicator of a brain tumour (as headaches and migraines are both very common), it can be a potential indicator if your headaches are recurring, worsen over time, or if they do not get better by taking over-the-counter pain relievers (such as Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen.) Headaches associated with brain tumours can also be brought on my something as simple as leaning over (as this causes an increase in pressure in the brain), or you can even wake up with a headache.

Someone with a brain tumour may also develop cognitive changes, as well as balance and muscle problems. Cognitive changes can include memory lapses, such as forgetting where you put things or asking the same questions repeatedly – or, you may also have difficult answering questions that are posed to you. You can also develop behavioural changes, though these are usually first noticed by those who are close to you or around you often, such as friends, family, or co-workers. If there is a tumour growth in the cerebellum, this can lead to issues with balance and coordination; for example, dropping things, bumping into things, or even tripping and falling from time to time, a s well as loss of muscle strength, and even one-sided paralysis. Seizures are also possible as brain tumours progress, and more than 40% of individuals with a brain tumour will have at least one seizure to due interference in the brain’s normal electrical activity. It’s also possible to have a partial seizure, which can include symptoms such as trouble speaking, smelling strand odours that others cannot detect, as well as uncontrollable arm shaking.

When it comes to diagnosing brain tumours, they are often detected through MRI or CT scans – while radiation, chemotherapy and surgery are often the standard treatments, there are also other types of treatment methods that oncologists recommend depending on the type of tumour that the patent has been diagnosed with. For example, patients with glioblastoma have undergone an advanced treatment method known as optune therapy in which the patient wears a cap-like device that then transmits electrical currents to disrupt the cancer-cell division. Immunotherapy is another treatment method used to attack tumours and help reengineer immune cells and kill/remove the tumour cells from your body. In addition to brain tumours, immunotherapy is also used on other types of cancer, such as melanoma. For tumours that are difficult to reach surgically, a heat treatment known as later interstitial thermal therapy is also an option. It is also commonly used on patients who suffer from drug-resistant forms of epilepsy and is considered to be minimally invasive and has a quicker recovery time.

Bone, Joint and Muscle Health

The bones provide our bodies with support – such as the skull, which is responsible for the formation of our face as well as protecting the skull; the backbone, which is responsible for protecting the spinal cord – the pathway that transmits messages back and forth between the brain and body; the ribs, responsible for protecting the lungs, heart, liver and spleen; and the pelvic, which protects the bladder/reproductive organs and intestines. While bones may seem light, they are also able to withstand weight.

Then there are the joints. The joints are where the bones meet and allow is to be flexible. Without joints, we wouldn’t be able to move at all. In addition, the muscles also play a similar role and aid in flexibility.

The bones consist of calcium, sodium, phosphorus, collagen and other minerals. In order for the bones to stay healthy, calcium is required. When the bones lack calcium or other minerals, they become much more susceptible to fractures and breaks. Calcium is commonly found in milk. If you are lactose intolerant then you may want to consider taking a calcium supplement.

As we overwork our bones, joints and muscles, we become more susceptible to injury. There are a number of injuries that can happen to the bones, joints and the muscles, with the most common being breaks or strains/sprains/fractures. These types of injuries are commonly seen in contact sports, such as football, and occur frequently in school-aged children. RSIs (Repeititve Strain Injuries) can also commonly occur as a result of bone, joint or muscle overuse. For example, if you write or type on a regular basis without taking breaks, you may develop conditions known as carpal tunnel or tendinitis. These can be severely painful and debilitating conditions if left untreated.

The best course of action you can take to treat these types of injuries is, of course, rest – meaning no writing, typing or playing any contact sports until you are fully healed. I also recommend the use of a Coban self-adhesive bandage. Wearing a bandage regularly will help to protect (and better support) your bones, joints and muscles, and will prevent injuries from occurring in the future.

Invisible Disabilities

According to the World Health Organization, 15% of the world’s population (that’s an estimated 1.1 billion people) identify as having some form of visibility.

In Canada, there are currently more than 6.2 million (22% of the population) individuals aged 15 or older living with some form of disability affecting their quality of life. Among those 6.2 million, 57% of those diagnosed with a disability have one that is considered mild or moderate, while 43% of those diagnosed with a disability have one that is considered to be severe, significantly affecting their daily activities, freedom, and quality of life. Disabled persons represent the world’s largest minority group, and it is one that any one of us can become part of at any time.

According to the Canadian Survey on Disability study, the top 10 disability types identified are:

• Seeing
• Hearing
• Mobility
• Flexibility
• Dexterity
• Pain-related
• Learning
• Developmental
• Mental health related
• Memory

Many disabilities diagnosed are considered “visible.” For example, you may recognize someone with a disability of there are in a wheelchair, have trouble walking, or carry a white cane (a tool that those who are blind or visually impaired rely on when navigating their surroundings.) However, it’s also important to note that many of the disabilities that one can be diagnosed with are not always as obvious. These are known as “invisible” or “hidden” disabilities, which also affect a large number of Canadians. Examples of some of the invisible/hidden disabilities include:

• Mental illness (depression, anxiety, personality disorders)
• Autism
• Asperger’s
• Sensory processing difficulty
• Cognitive impairment (dementia, traumatic brain injuries)
• Hearing loss
• Low or restricted vision

When it comes to invisible disabilities, there is often a stigma attached. Those who have an invisible disability are often accused of faking their condition or trying to milk the system, while there is also certain language that is often used to further stigmatize those with an invisible disability or illness (i.e., “he/she looks too young to have a disability.”) – language that needs to change. When it comes to invisible disabilities, the fact that they cannot be seen does not lessen the significance of someone’s disability, and there is not one specific distinction between invisible VS visible disabilities, and it’s important to emphasis this.

The Sugar Epidemic: What are the Risks?

Sugar is one of the leading contributions for obesity amongst Canadians. Sugar can be found in things like chocolate, baked goods (such as cookies, cakes and pastries), carbonated beverages (such as soft drinks), as well as other processed foods (such as salad dressings, marinades, and even infant formula.) As a physician, it’s important for me to not only inform readers, as well as my patients, about the healthy choices they could be making when it comes to their diet, but also warn them about the potential risks associated with things like too much salt, fat and sugar.

People often don’t give sugar a second thought – but what is it, exactly? Well, for starters, it’s considered a carbohydrate…but there’s much more to it than that. Sugar is a molecule that is composed of the following: 22 atoms of hydrogen, 12 atoms of carbon, and 11 atoms of oxygen. It’s commonly found in sugar beets or sugarcane, hence how it got its name.

Sugar is a staple in many Canadian households, especially during breakfast. A few teaspoons will sweeten up a bitter tasting cup of coffee, while a dash or two might add some extra flavour to a bowl of oatmeal. While it’s often said that certain things are acceptable when used in moderation, sugar is something that if used over a prolonged period of time or in excess, can lead to serious complications with your health. Things like obesity, the risk of diabetes (or complications if you already suffer from diabetes), and it can even cause tooth decay, which is one of the biggest reasons why dentists recommend brushing and flossing each day to make sure your teeth and gums are as clean as possible and to reduce the risk of cavities. Sugar is also high in fructose. If the liver becomes overloaded with fructose, the risk of developing liver disease also increases. Consumption of sugar can also cause insulin resistance, which can then turn into Type II diabetes, and it can also promote the growth and multiplication of cancer cells.

The facts about sugar addiction get even more sobering. Diabetes, the disease most commonly associated with excess sugar, continues its rapid rise, as 1.5 million people are diagnosed with diabetes each year. – MOT MAG, ‘The “Added Sugar” Pandemic – Pure, White, And Deadly’

So what can you do to prevent yourself from developing any of the aforementioned problems above? Cut sugar from your diet. If you’re someone who has consumed a lot of sugar in their diet over several years, stopping cold turkey might not be the easiest as you could have withdrawals. Signs of sugar withdrawal include cravings, headaches, body aches and pains, and mood swings. If that’s the case, you’ll want to cut back slowly. For example, if you’re used to buying yourself a vanilla latte every morning, see if there’s a sugar-free option available – most coffee shops have alternatives. Once you have been switched to that sugar-free option, remove the flavour from your latte all-together. Yes, that cup of coffee might not have that sweetness that you’re so used to tasting, but remember, it’s much better for your overall health in the long-run. Alternatively, the same thing goes if you’re eating sweets. Instead of grabbing that chocolate bar or slice of cake, eat fresh fruit. Fruits will not only give you that sweetness you’ve been craving, but they also pack a hard punch of nutritional value and other benefits, and most fruits are also rich in anti-oxidants. Things like strawberries, apples, pears, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are all great examples.

Liver Health

It might not be something that you think about very often, but the liver is one of the most vital organs in your body due to its many responsibilities (the liver has over 500 functions!) It works 24 hours a day, processing everything from the foods you eat to the beverages you drink, the air you breathe in, and even what you rub on your skin. In addition, the liver also provides your body with energy, can help you fight off infections, helps with digestion, regulates hormones (including the thyroid, adrenal and cortisone hormones), produces and excretes cholesterol, helps clot the blood, and neutralizes and destroys substances that are considered toxic/poisonous. In other words, the liver is vital to life – and when it breaks down, so will you. Below is a look at some of the most common conditions that can affect the liver, as well as some important steps that you can take to keep your liver as healthy as possible.

There are many myths when it comes to liver problems. For example, many people are under the impression that liver disease only happens as a result of drinking alcohol to excess or using illicit drugs – but that’s not entirely true. While excessive alcohol consumption can certainly put you at risk of developing liver disease, you can also develop non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This type of liver disease, affecting more than 7 million Canadians, can be present at birth, or it can also be contracted from a virus, from being exposed to certain toxins, or from certain foods and drinks. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is strongly linked to obesity, though it can also be caused as a result of malnutrition and starvation or rapid weight loss, diabetes, high blood pressure, as well as certain medications (such as corticosteroids.)

Another common myth linked to liver disease is that people think it comes with a wide range of symptoms – however, the opposite is true. Liver disease often comes with no symptoms – or the symptoms that you do experience, if any, will be mild and often mistaken for other health conditions – for example, you can experience fatigue, nausea, dark urine, and yellowing of the skin or eyes (also known as jaundice.) Even without any symptoms, the liver can still have developed significant damage.

If you develop cirrhosis of the liver, this will usually require a liver transplant. While a transplant is a life-preserving method of treatment that will replace your diseased liver with one that is healthy, this does not necessarily mean that you are out of the words completely. Even with a replaced, healthier organ, it is still possible for liver disease to return. The same goes for individuals with hepatitis C, and in many causes the hepatitis C virus will re-affect the new liver within one year of the transplant. It’s also possible for certain auto-immune disease to re-occur following a liver transplant.

Another common condition associated with the liver is liver cancer, which is among the fastest rising cancers in Canada. There are many factors that come into play with the development of liver cancer, including alcohol consumption, obesity, as well as chronic hepatitis B and C. Just like liver disease, the early stages of liver cancer often come with no or very few symptoms – though once the cancer has progressed you may experience symptoms like abdominal pain, abdominal fluid, jaundice, loss of appetite, and weight loss. To diagnose liver cancer, there are many tests that can be done, including blood tests, as well as medical imaging tests such as CT scans, MRI and ultrasound. In some cases, a biopsy may also be performed. How liver cancer is treated depends on a variety of factors, including the stage of the cancer and the speed of the growth of the tumour, as well as your overall health. Treatment options include everything from chemotherapy to radiation therapy, surgery, embolization, and tumour ablation.

To keep your liver in good health, it is important to also be aware of the different risks that are out there that could potentially be dangerous to your liver. Acetaminophen, for example, is a widely used medication that is taken to relieve everything from headaches to joint pain. However, taking too much of it over a prolonged period of time could result in liver damage – as can other types of medications, including cough and cold products, as well as muscle relaxants. If you drink alcohol on a regular basis or drink in excess, this can also lead to the destruction of your liver cells and can lead to everything from cirrhosis of the liver, alcoholic hepatitis, and even liver cancer. Getting a tattoo or piercing can also lead to hepatitis B or C, which can affect the liver – particularly if the equipment used on you is not sterile. If you’re going to travel, learn about any potential health risks that may be common in the destination to which you are traveling to. You may need to be immunized against different diseases like hepatitis A and B, as well as other diseases such as yellow fever and malaria. However, keep in mind that many of these vaccines often take time before they will be effective and protect your body, so it’s always a good idea to get them a few months prior to your departure.

Breast Cancer Awareness

In Canada, 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. It is estimated that as many as 28,600 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Fortunately, due to advancements in research that have helped to improve things like early detection and diagnosis, the current 5-year survival rate of breast cancer is 87% – and the death rate has dropped by 44% since the 1980s. However, because breast cancer continues to be one of the most commonly diagnosed types of cancer and the second-leading cause of cancer-related death among Canadian women, there’s still a lot more that can be done when it comes to raising awareness. It’s also important to note that it isn’t just women who can be affected by breast cancer, as approximately 270 Canadian men will also be diagnosed with breast cancer by the end of this year.

When most people think of breast cancer, they equate it with finding a lump in the breast – though this isn’t necessarily the case for all types of breast cancer. In fact, many breast cancers are first found through screening mammograms and detected at a much earlier stage, before they’re even able to be felt and before any symptoms will develop. Common symptoms that can develop due to having breast cancer can include things such as changes of the skin (including swelling, redness or itching/irritation and peeling/flaking of the skin), changed in the size, shape or colour of the breasts, general pain/discomfort in or on the breast, nipple discharge, as well as thickening of the breast. These are all symptoms that you should report to your healthcare provider as soon as possible, as early detection is key.

Most breast cancers start as ductal cancers or lobular cancers, while a small number of breast cancers start in other tissues in the breast which are known as lymphomas or sarcomas. If you do happen to find a lump in the breast, this also isn’t necessarily an indicator that you have breast cancer, as many lumps are benign and not malignant. That being said, if you do have a lump, it is always important to have it checked out by a healthcare professional to make that determination – as, in some cases, some lumps can also increase one’s risk of developing breast cancer in the future. Other risk factors can include things like there being a family history of breast cancer, age, inherited mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, race and ethnicity, early menstrual periods or late menopause, exposure to radiation, and even certain lifestyle-related habits such as drinking alcohol, being overweight or obese, lack of physical activity, and even taking certain types of birth control. While things like genes are things you cannot change, you can make positive changes to your lifestyle in order to help reduce your risk of developing breast cancer – such as getting more exercise and eating healthier foods.

As for who should be screened for breast cancer, the Canadian Cancer Society suggests women who are between the ages of 50 and 69 should have a mammogram done every 2 years. A mammogram is a type of medical imaging test similar to an x-ray that can detect changes within the breast that could be indicative of breast cancer. It’s not uncommon to feel some discomfort during a mammogram, but you should let your technologist know if you are experiencing extreme pain during the test. Other medical imaging tests such as a breast ultrasound or breast MRI can also be ordered by your physician. An ultrasound can look at breast changes and lumps, as well as determine the difference between fluid-filled cysts and solid masses, in addition to being useful during a breast biopsy in guiding the needle into areas where cells need to be removed for further testing; while a breast MRI is usually done in individuals who have already been diagnosed with breast cancer and can determine the size of tumours as well as detect if there are any further growths.

When it comes to treating breast cancer, it is often dependent on things such as the type and stage of the cancer, as well as your overall health. Common treatment approaches include those that are systemic and those that are local. Systemic therapy includes chemotherapy, in which drugs are administered either by mouth or directly into the blood stream; while local therapies include things like radiation therapy as well as surgery.

Additives and Preservatives

Living a busy lifestyle often means that people will opt for buying easy or already prepared foods as opposed to having a home-cooked meal. While things like fruits and vegetables are great for anyone on-the-go (and certainly nutritious), we often don’t think twice about the ingredients that are in some of the foods we eat – such as microwave dinners, fast food, canned foods, and other processed items such as bread, pasta, ice cream, chocolate, and even certain beverages such as soda, fruit juice, and alcohol.

Because so many of the processed foods that we eat are transported from other locations across Canada and the world, they rely on certain properties to help keep them fresh and give them a longer shelf-life, as well as different additives to help maintain their taste and appearance, and to prevent growth of mold, yeast and bacteria – all of which can cause food to spoil. These additives commonly include preservatives, emulsifiers, as well as artificial flavouring and colours. Without these additives and preservatives, processed foods simply wouldn’t be appealing. While there are some additives and preservatives that are considered safe, there are others that can be harmful to our health in many different ways.

One of the most common preservatives that you will find in many foods items is ascorbic acid. This is found naturally in fruits and vegetables, while it’s also commonly used in things like cereals and even beverages. Ascorbic acid is an FDA-approved preservative and antioxidant. It can protect the body from free radicals, as well as prevents foods from spoiling. Another common ingredient is aspartame, which is an artificial sweetener similar to sugar (though it actually tastes sweeter!) While it is also FDA-approved, it is somewhat controversial and has been blamed for a wide range of health problems from headaches to cancer – though this hasn’t been scientifically proven. Other preservatives such as sulfites, sodium benzoate, and nitrite are considered to be more on the questionable side in terms of their safety. Sulfites are responsible for preventing food from browning or becoming discoloured, but have been linked to asthma-related sensitivity as well as allergies. Sodium benzoate is what prevents food from acidification and fermentation, but some researchers have suggested that when mixed with vitamin C, it can create a carcinogen known as benzene. Nitrite is commonly found in meats and is responsible for giving certain meat products, such as hot dogs, their red appearance in colour, though they’ve also been linked to certain cancers.

As for additives, the one that you probably hear the most about is monosodium glutamate – also known as MSG. It’s commonly added to fast foods as well as foods at restaurants, and in things like canned soups, salt foods, and frozen foods. Artificial food colouring (dye) is also a other common additive. It’s used in things like juices, candies, and even condiments. However, certain colours such as red (40), blue (1), and yellow (6) have been linked to sever allergic reactions in some individuals. Similarly, it is also why people who get tattoos with red ink may also develop a skin reaction. High-fructose corn syrup, which is an additive made of the simple sugar known as fructose, is commonly found in candies, snack foods, breakfast cereals, soda and fruit juices. When consumed in large amounts, high-fructose corn syrup can be harmful to our health. It’s not only linked to weight gain, but also heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

It’s important to pay close attention to the foods you’re eating and read the ingredients listed on the nutrition labels. If you can’t pronounce a particular ingredient, or if the food labels are vague, it’s probably something you’ll want to avoid. For help on healthy eating, you can find more tips here. Also, be sure to check out the Dietitians of Canada website at www.dietitians.ca for even more healthy eating tips, as well as information on where you can find a dietitian in your area.