The following are highlights from the 2018 Symposium on Nutrition and Health brought to you by the Registered Dietitians at Dairy Farmers of Canada
Renowned experts at the 2018 Symposium shed light on several hot topics related to gut health, including:
- how the gut microbiota affects overall health
- when and how to apply the FODMAP* diet
- how yogurt can benefit cardiometabolic health
- strategies to manage lactose intolerance
*FODMAP stands for Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. FODMAPs are found naturally in a wide range of foods – fructans including fructooligosaccharides (FOS) (artichoke, garlic, onions, wheat, rye), galactooligosaccharides (GOS) (pulses), lactose (in milk), fructose in excess of glucose (pears, apples and honey), and sugar polyols (stone fruits, some vegetables and artificial sweeteners). Source: www.dairynutrition.ca
Dr. Karen Madsen presented on the gut microbiome and its role in health. Humans have coevolved with a vast array of microorganisms that profoundly influence all facets of our health and wellbeing. Dysbiosis, an altered balance of gut microbiota, is implicated in a wide range of health conditions, including: inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, autoimmune diseases, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity. We now know that diet clearly impacts the makeup of our gut microbiome and dietary changes can substantially alter microbial composition and metabolism.
Dr. Jane Muir, one of the developers of the FODMAP diet, highlighted how RDs can apply this diet in practice, ensuring patients follow a 3-step approach and do not restrict important food groups. For example, the initial low FODMAP phase of the diet should only last 2-6 weeks, and this should be followed by a re-introduction phase to identify individual sensitivities and find a good balance between symptom control and expansion of the diet. It is important to re-introduce foods to improve variety, nutritional adequacy, and social inclusion and because some FODMAPs are prebiotics.1
Dr. André Marrette outlined the evidence related to yogurt and cardiometabolic health. Strong consistent evidence from multiple meta-analyses shows an inverse association between yogurt consumption and type 2 diabetes risk.2 Studies also suggest that yogurt consumption is likely to contribute to the maintenance of a healthy weight.3 Bioactive peptides released during fermentation may explain some of the beneficial effects of yogurt consumption on cardiometabolic health via their role on the gut microbiota.
Dr. Susan Barr presented data on the prevalence of Lactose Intolerance in Canada and strategies for its management. Lactose intolerance, whether real or perceived, is a potential health concern for many Canadians. Approximately 16-21 % of adults in Canada perceive themselves to be lactose intolerant.4,5 This can lead to the avoidance of milk products, which can in turn make it harder to meet requirements for calcium and other key nutrients (even with consumption of alternative beverages and supplements). Health authorities advise those who are lactose intolerant to not exclude milk products from their diet. Health professionals can work closely with clients to ensure dairy products are not needlessly avoided using a number of practical strategies to manage lactose intolerance.
- Tuck C and Barrett J. Re-challenging FODMAPs: the low FODMAP diet phase 2. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2017;32:11-15.
- Drouin-Charier JP et al. Systematic review of the association between dairy product consumption and risk of cardiovascular-related clinical outcomes. Adv Nutr2016;7:1026-1040.
- Fernandez MA et al.Yogurt and cardiometabolic diseases: a critical review of potential mechanisms. Adv Nutr2017;8:812-829.
- Barr SI. Perceived lactose intolerance in adult Canadians: a national survey. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 2013;38:830-835.
- Dairy Farmers of Canada Nutrition Tracking. 2018.