Biting into Trending Nutrition Headlines

~5-minute read

With how fast they seem to come and go, it can be tough to keep track of which foods are in season. Your favourite fruits and vegetables might only be around for a month or two before others take their place at the farmers’ market. But it seems like even the shortest-lived seasonal food cycles can last longer than the blazing crop rotation of nutrition trends.

From eating schedules to macronutrient proportions and everything in between, approaches to nutrition rapidly change. It’s hard enough for a layperson to sift through the trends, but paediatric healthcare professionals (HCPs) get an extra serving of professional challenge.

It’s no secret that childhood obesity rates in Canada are a serious concern, having nearly tripled in the last 30 years. A 2021 national survey revealed that the problem only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic — being trapped indoors led to reduced physical activity with less than 3% of kids meeting 24-hour movement guidelines. And with a child’s developing body and mind, paediatric obesity management is complex and sensitive.

It doesn’t help that nutrition trends often raise more questions than provide answers. Determining which trends belong in clinical conversations and which belong in the compost bin takes an evidence-based approach. There’s no better person to till that soil than Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator Alissa Steinberg.

With over twelve years of experience at SickKids, Markham Family Health Team, and Unity Health Toronto, dietetic clinical practice is Alissa’s bread and butter. Her knowledge and methodologies are built on a foundation of scientific evidence and clinical validity. In addition to her clinical experience, Alissa is the founder of Healthy U, providing counselling services, cooking classes, and workshops to educate and empower patients to navigate their healthy lifestyle.

“I always try to keep food fun because it’s a topic that can get overwhelming.”

Alissa Steinberg, RD

Registered Dietitian

Partnering with Paediatric Project ECHO has allowed Alissa to dish out her expertise to strengthen other HCPs’ abilities to better serve their own patients. Alissa recently gave a didactic presentation in an ECHO session titled “An Evidenced-Based Take on Trending Nutrition Headlines.” The session was designed with two learning objectives in mind:

  • Address the following trending nutrition topics with an evidenced-based approach. ​
  • Provide guidance on the application of these nutrition recommendations in clinical practice.

The three topics Alissa discussed were:

  • Metabolic rate [6:08]
  • Eating schedule [14:41]
  • Inflammation [19:16]

Obesity management can be incredibly nuanced on a case-by-case basis. Alissa’s presentation set a table of nutrition insights to guide ECHO participants in navigating those nuances with their patients and their patients’ support systems.

Alissa addressed the impacts on metabolic rate of factors such as resistance training and protein intake. From there, she spoke about the effects of eating schedules and what the latest science says about intermittent fasting. She then discussed the relationship between excess weight and inflammation, and where dairy and gluten fit into the conversation.

With each topic, Alissa leveraged her years of expertise to provide evidence-based recommendations for ECHO session participants to stock in their clinical pantries. Paediatric Project ECHO’s own pantry of obesity management resources continues to grow with each invaluable session.

Alissa’s passion for interdisciplinary education and collaborative care shone through the ECHO model of professional development. As in all ECHO sessions, following the presentation a Q&A took place with participants asking Alissa thoughtful questions from their unique professional  perspectives.

Nutrition trends may come and go, but what remains is the dedication of paediatric HCPs to solving childhood obesity. With educators like Alissa interacting with other committed, enthusiastic professionals through Paediatric Project ECHO, the ingredients for success will always be fresh.

Login to watch the recording of Alissa Steinberg’s ECHO session for a healthy serving of evidence-based nutrition insights and practical clinical guidance.

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Written by Kyle Woolsey

Web & Communications Assistant, Paediatric Project ECHO