Thursday, January 17, 2013

Harveys for Heart Health?

You may have seen that the Canadian Heart & Stroke Foundation has added its Health Check to four  meal combinations on Harvey's menu.  The story recently hit the headlines in our local news, because of the still high sodium content of these combo meals.  With maximum recommended total daily sodium intake at 1,500 mg a day, they provide more than half a day's salt in one sitting.

This is a fair comment, but it doesn't get me nearly as riled up as the fact that the nutrition information on the advertisement tells you nothing about the sugars in this meal:

To find out about the carbohydrates, you have to go back to the home page, click through to the nutrition table, and scroll down to what Harvey's calls their "healthier options".

It's a long table, so I've cut and pasted it a bit to hone in on the carbohydrates.  If you were to order the Grilled Veggie Burger combo with vinaigrette dressing, you'd be looking at 57g (61g-11g+8g) of carbohydrates.  The grilled chicken and original combos all sit above 50g as well.

To put carbohydrate counts into perspective, I always like to go back to Mark Sisson's carbohydrate curve
For "effortless weight maintenance", Sisson recommends no more than 100g to 150g of carbohydrates a day.  The "sweet spot" is at 50g to 100g a day.  

Even if you're not overweight, you would (or should) be interested in keeping your heart healthy, and similar daily targets are relevant.

After consuming your choice of combo meal (assuming no fries, and no sugars whatsoever in your beverage), there's not much left for the rest of your day's meals.

How is it that the Heart and Stroke Foundation can give its check of approval to a combo meal that provides more than 50g of net carbohydrates?   

How is it that carbohydrates don't make it onto their radar at all?

I haven't eaten a Harvey's burger in years, though I used to like theirs better than any others, so this might be my restaurant of choice if I were inclined to grab a burger, even though I don't eat bread any more.  And I do get the difference in purchasing an occasional snack or treat that throws my numbers off, as opposed to doing it on a regular basis.  However, the way I see it, H&S's health check implies there'd be nothing wrong with eating one of these combos every day, if you were so inclined.

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