Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dietitians of Canada hits bottom, digs

Wow, I'm almost speechless, but don't worry, only almost.

Yesterday Don Butler from the Citizen called me about my post regarding Dietitians of Canada's non-support of mandatory calorie labeling.

When he interviewed me he asked me what I thought DC was worried about.

I told him I didn't know but that common arguments include a mistaken belief that posting calories will cause a sudden outbreak of anorexia; that calories are not the only nutritional determinant of food; and that restaurants may have a tough time making calculations (not true for chain restaurants where uniformity of meals is integral in their success and where calorie counts already exist).

I was way out to lunch.

Nope, apparently the Dietitians of Canada are worried that,

"If a person looks at food that way, would they be more likely to make a higher-calorie choice because they think it's going to taste better?"
Oh and also that people aren't going to understand how to use the information,
"If you just post calories on the menu, how well can consumers use that information? That's a question we have."
So basically it seems that Dietitians of Canada are concerned that Canadians are nutritional morons and that they're going to believe menu posted calories are in fact some sort of new fangled taste-score and consequently choose foods with higher numbers because they think that food is likely to be "more tastier".

As I mentioned yesterday, if I were a Canadian Dietitian, I'd be absolutely mortified.

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  1. Anonymous2:35 pm

    I am enraged that these "educated" types are talking down to Canadians like we are all too stupid to understand nutrition and what our bodies need. I urge everyone to go to their website and send them a note on their contact page like I did.

  2. If this is their concern, shouldn't they consider this a wonderful opportunity to educate Canadians who perhaps aren't as knowledgeable about such things? Oy... I guess perhaps we Canadians are all dumb hosers and don't quite understand how such things work.

  3. I would encourage both of you to read an excellent book called "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think" by Dr. Brian Wansink. It explains how many food related decisions are subconsciously sabotaging our best efforts to eat healthy. When consumers seeing the word low fat on a food product they consistently eat up to 35% more of that food. When people eat at a 'healthy' restaurant such as Subway, they have a tendency to purchase unhealthy sides which leads to increased calorie consumption. (as per the research done at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab ) These mindless cues and beliefs constantly sabotage people's best efforts. Now can you see why having calories posted on menu boards may not be such a great idea after all?

    No one at the Dietitians of Canada organization is talking down to Canadians. They are reviewing the issue and coming up with a position instead of automatically deciding that calories on menu boards is a good idea.

    Many, many dietitians spend hours upon hours educating Canadians on this subject but it is almost impossible to share all that we have learned with every individual. Please do not be offended that DC doesn't have a position on this yet. It will come in due time.

    Michelle Archer, RD and Dietitians of Canada member

  4. Anonymous12:49 pm

    As a dietitian,
    I am truly appalled and the statements that Dietitians of Canada has made. I would just like to say that these statements do NOT reflect the thoughts and opinion of dietitians across Canada. I believe it is very important to provide this kind of information to the public. Dietitians of Canada should invite the opportunity to have information provided on menus so that accurate counseling and education can be provided to the individual and general public.

    In response to what Michelle Archer has said, providing no information is NOT a cure for mindless eating! Read that book again!
    -Disgusted Dietitan (a NON- Dietitians of Canada Member)