‘Pie hole’, colloquial for one’s mouth, is believed to have evolved in the USA in the 1980s from the British expression ‘cake hole’ (coined in the mid 20th century). Pie hole refers to a mouth, as in: Shut your pie hole or, in this case: Put less in your pie hole.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Healthy, Happy Eating: No Helicopter Parents Needed

What if I told you that forcing your kids to eat is a bad idea? What if you could improve your family's health by making a couple of simple changes? Parents, you're all over this, so let's get down to it!

August is Kids Eat Right Month, which inspired me as a new mum to write this article based on a bunch of new studies about kid's health.

Contrary to many parent's beliefs and actions, children shouldn't be forced or pressured to eat anything (including veggies). What whaaat? Seriously, this latest study is just adding to the body of research showing these results. Read 'em and weep:
  • Children who had more control over food-related decisions were more likely to enjoy eating healthy foods
  • Urging a child to eat increases food neophobia (fear of new foods)
  • Offering new foods reduces food neophobia
  • Children with high neophobia scores tended to like fewer foods
Translation - You, the parent, should present an array of healthy foods to your child and let them decide how much of it to eat. Your child doesn't need to be urged, coaxed, or tricked into eating more.

Next up, family meals. There are numerous researched benefits to families eating meals together:
  • They significantly increase the amount of fruit and veggies kids eat
  • They are significantly associated with BMI z-scores (more family meals equals healthier BMI)
  • They are associated with overall higher diet quality (see a review of earlier studies here, along with tips for fun, fast family meals)
But wait, the fun doesn't stop there... New research shows parent and child food intakes are closely related across various metrics of diet quality including energy intake (total calories). This is most likely due to shared food environments, shared meals, and parental modeling.

If you, the parents, are eating at Mc Donald's (environment), your child is likely with you and either sharing your meal or getting their own Mc Donald's meal (shared food). This is due to you, the parent, modeling the consumption of that particular food. This example is, of course, a negative one.

Finally, the take home messages:
  1. No healthy child self-starves
  2. The less of a fuss you make about your kids eating, the better time you'll have and the healthier food habits your children will have
  3. Eat with your kids (and be a role model: Eat your veggies!)
  4. Make the time, watching your favourite show on Netflix can wait
I happened upon this article whilst writing the above. How to get kids involved in prepping their lunches:

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Gimme Some (Added) Sugar

Thanks for returning to Pie Hole! I'm back from "maternity leave" and will continue posting articles every month rather than every two weeks. This blog is like my baby and I want to ensure the ongoing quality of work, research, and love that goes into each article, as well as devote time to my actual beautiful new baby girl!

Following on from the insane excitement that was the release of the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans comes the new-look nutrition facts panel (NFP), coming to food packaging near you. The new NFPs boast several changes, which Pie Hole groupies will recall from the article "Label Warfare", back in 2015 when the proposed changes were announced. Let's zero-in on one particularly provocative permutation: Added sugars.
Every American not living in a cave knows we're eating too much sugar. The new Dietary Guidelines oh-so boldly and balls-ily broadcast a new guideline relating to sugar: Out of one's total daily calorie 'bank', <10% of calories should come from added sugars. Pie Hole enthusiasts will recall that from the earlier article "Dietary Guidelines: Better Late than Never".
Figure 1: FDA new proposed food label
So it seems like a great idea to add an "added sugars" item to the new NFP... Right? Well, not really, and here's why: A new study found that people who read food labels actually misinterpreted the meaning of the new "added sugars" line... Because that's what people need, a more complex food label.
Added Sugars on the label
Take a look at the new food label (figure 1). Locate the "added sugars" line (highlighted in yellow). Now, that line is indented under "total carbs", meaning that this product has 37g of carbs per serve and of that 37g, 12g are sugars (see "total sugars") and 10g of those 12g are added sugars.

Study findings 
Study participants, and I suspect many other shoppers, misinterpreted the "added sugar" line as needing to be added to the total carbs number. Who can blame them? The rules of addition are that the "total" goes at the bottom, not the top.

How to correctly interpret "added sugars"
"Added sugars" are a component of the total carbs (just like fiber and total sugars.) In other words, this product has 37g of carbs total, and of that 37g:
- 4g are fiber
- 12g are sugars
- Of the 12g that are sugar, 10g (that's 10g out of 12g) are added to this product

The bottom line (Get it? Because "added sugar" is the bottom line under carbs... You love it!)
  • It's not complicated, you don't need to do addition when reading the label (yay)
  • For the most part, avoid products with a lot of sugar and added sugar (just like trans fat)

The good news is the aforementioned study found 78% of participants reported actually reading the NFP when buying or eating food. With a little help (like this fabulous article, for example), everyone can easily and accurately decode the new label.
Additional resources: 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Popular Posts to Pique Your Interest

It's official, I'm putting myself on "Pie Hole maternity blog leave". I've put together a list of top 10 articles... And a few extras. These are a mix of most popular reads, and my personal favourites.

1. Lunch Boxes For Picky Pie Holes - Make school lunches your kids will love eating (works for big kids, and kids in adult bodies)

2. We Came, We Snacked, We Conquered: A Big Day Out - All you need to know about snacks and how to get healthy ones into your pie hole. More on snacks here.

3. Pregnancy: 10 Things to Think About When You're "Eating for Two..." - Self explanatory... When you're eating for two, you're not feeding a garbage disposal.

4. The Rules Are... There Ain't No Rules - Why "diets" don't work, here's what does!

5. Applications of MSG: From Unsavoury to Flavoury - The various, little thought of applications for MSG.

6. Quit Wheat Belly Aching (Pt II) - Everything you need to know about the current state of research regarding gluten, wheat, and real science. You can click back to pt I here.

7. Artificial Sweeteners: Not So Sweet After All - Some bacteria-laden research regarding how fake sugars aren't all things nice.

8. Coffee & Tea-ter Tottering Over Caffeine - Tea and coffee (and caffeine) a review of all three.

9. Coffee: For Better or For Worse? - For all the caffeine-addicts, a review of everything you want to know about caffeine.

10. Udder Confusion: Are Your Kids Having a Cow Over Milk? - Kids fighting you on drinking their milk? Your guide book is in this article. If you love dairy as much as me, check out this article too.

And a few extras... Because I loved writing them.

Highfalutin Gluten - What is gluten and should you go "gluten-free"?

Highfalutin Gluten (part II) - Thinking "gluten-free" through... Critically

What Ails and Cures - Why cured meat gives you colon cancer (or to quote my husband "ass-cancer"... Sorry)

Should You Steer Clear of Beer? - Everyone's talking about wine, here's cheers to beer (and there's a photo of my dog in this one!)

Juicing: Healthy Habit or Half-Witted Hypothesis? - For those on the juicing bandwagon

Juicing: Healthy Habit or Half-Witted Hypothesis? Pt II - More for those on the juicing bandwagon

Choc-It-Up to Chocolate - Who doesn't love chocolate? We can't be friends. Science says we should love chocolate.

Overeating: Unsustainable - For the millennials like me, why "plant-based" is great for us and the earth

Does this Protein Bar Make Me Look Fat - Protein-pounding gym-junkies... Here's the truth about protein

Does this Protein Bar Make Me Look Fat pt II - As above

There will be more soon. In the meantime, enjoy these!