Candy gets "Health Check" seal of approval by Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada gives candy its "Health Check" seal of approval. This doesn't sit well with Yoni Freedhoff, MD, an assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa, who made a video in which he told the dietitians at the Heart and Stroke Foundation that they ought to be ashamed of themselves and mortified.

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  1. I'm reserving judgement until my Registered Dietician friend gets back to me with her thoughts. I will say that a lot of doctors are not up to date on diet and nutrition because it's not their specialty. But for this video, that's really neither here not there.

    At least here in the US lot of these "heart smart" type labels are not heavily policed and often just need to meet some minimum requirements for saturated fat, trans fat, and fiber content. After that it's basically a rubber stamp. Here's the thing I learned from working with PHA (Partnership for a Healthy America) rules: It is damn near impossible to set standards for labeling certain foods "healthy" that can't be worked around. PHA dictates that you can't have certain kinds of snack food items in front of the cash register at a hospital cafeteria. Well, somehow that excluded candy bars, but included pork rinds. Mainly because pork rinds have the kind of minimum sugar level to make them "healthier" I guess.

    Generally what's healthy for one group of people is not for another. Genetics, disease, income level, and physical mobility all contribute in some way to making any one food "healthier" for someone than another. So I guess my big point here is: There is no such thing as a universally healthy food. There are only food that are better in certain ways than others for certain people.

  2. I've seen stuff like this before with the Health Check symbol. Basically, if it's low in fat, no matter what else is in it, it'll get the stamp of approval. The narrow view that is taken is, "fat and cholesterol are bad for the heart -- if it doesn't have those, it's okay."

    I think the doctor made an excellent presentation, and I hope he makes other videos about nutrition and posts them.

  3. I can hardly wait for the bumper (bummer) stickers!

    Candy Kills

    Mothers Against Candy Canes

    Just Say No
    (to HoHos)

    Look Twice!
    Candy is Everywhere.

    Corn is for Gas Tanks -
    Not Huge Flanks.

    People eating candy in public areas will be castigated
    and insulted. Because, second-hand binges.

    And just think - red and white striped ribbon campaigns.
    Oh, the millions we shall raise!

    The charity runs! And just think - instead of shaving your head, you can put on 40 lbs in a show of solidarity.

    The tee shirts! Just think, wear your XXXL to condemn XXXL.

    The educations programs! They'll show 'Reeses Madness', and
    before and after pix of people who snorted Smartees.

    But....who will be the celebrity spokesperson?

  4. The Heart and Stroke Foundation was widely criticized a few years ago the last time this issue was brought to the public's attention. The Foundation's PR people expressed surprise at the controversy.

    Taking a look at their, ahem, "Licensing Fees", I can't imagine that the the program supplies a large percentage of their income budget. I can't imagine that it's worth it, given the damage this program does to their reputation...unless you're a upper-level manager there.

  5. A note to non-Canadians - this is the Canadian version of seething hatred, lips foam-flecked with rage. I was uncomfortable watching such a display.

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