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


No sound here at the moment - but is that a bag of dried strawberries?

Health Check’s nutrient standards are based on Canada’s Food Guide
Every food product and menu item in the Health Check program must earn the right to display the Health Check symbol by meeting specific nutrient standards based on Canada’s Food Guide ***or by bribing donating generously to the Heart and Stroke Foundation ***

**Above quote has been edited for accuracy.

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.

Food Category: Dried Fruit Snacks Products must fit the criteria per 40 g serving
    - No added sugar - Fat free - Source of vitamin C (5%) or vitamin A (5%) or folate (5%) or fibre (2 g)
That does seem like a pretty low bar
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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.


I used to think Canadians were wise people, but after seeing this, not any more. They’re more like United States Lite.

Could you provide a link to that quote? I honestly would like to see that : )
I’ve done a cursory glance at their site, but have yet to come across it. Thanks!

Sorry, I did not accurately read what you wrote ; )
I see now!

I don’t think you can be fair in broadly painting the people of any country. Accept the Icelanders. Everyone knows those guys are morons.

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?


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.


Or perhaps nutrition isn’t as simple as governments keep trying to make it.

They seem to love pouring effort (and money) into coming up with food groups or redesigning labels or running informative ad campaigns, but none of that addresses that the poison is in the dosage. Until they can train people that the amount that goes in their mouth is at least as important as what goes in, no badge system is going to accomplish anything.

I’d argue that “heart smart” type labels damaging because it creates a false sense of security. Someone sees an advertisement that a thing is healthy and eat three times as much of it because what could go wrong?

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The “food groups” thing is actually pretty sound. It’s more important to make sure people are eating a balanced diet than eating a certain amount. Generally, the latter isn’t a huge priority because by eating a balanced diet, most people will end up eating healthy. Telling people, “Don’t Eat too frequently.” is like telling people, “Don’t urinate too frequently.” It’s not an effective message. You can’t quit food “cold turkey” or get a “food patch”. Food is essential, and eating is instinct.

When I was working with dieticians in a hospital, the kinds of nutrition-related problems people were having had less to do with how much they ate, and everything to do with what they ate. People with renal problems consuming too much sodium, people with diabetes eating getting too much in carbs, people with cardiac issues drinking a full cup of half-and-half every morning. Here’s the fun part- for most of these people, food choices never caused the illness.


And, the corollary to ‘the dose makes the poison’ is
‘the individual makes the dose’.

Unfortunately, when you combine government with the broad-strokes of epidemiological surveillance, the results are…no surprise, even broader strokes.

The further problem arises where government ‘partners’ with industry, and non-profits accept corporate donations. There’s a reason such romantic triangles are the stuff of Hollywood formulas - we just have to ask ourselves why that has any place in public health.

Australia’s Heart Foundation gave McDonald’s their “tick of approval”… for a $300,000/year fee (only to selected meals, but who looks at the fine print?). It was revoked a few years later, presumably in part due to reputational damage.


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.


Alice, that was a Canadian celebrity spokesperson.

Yes, I was… perturbed.


It is a bag of gummies

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I wonder, however, if they know how to spell “except?” Otherwise, funny post!