Canada's new and improved food guide - Montreal Times - Montreal's English Weekly Newspaper

Henrietta Brewer
January 26, 2019

For those of us who have been diligently counting our servings of fruit, veg and dairy every day, the new guide is particularly jarring - no structured food groups?

Gone are the days of the rainbow composite of four food groups consisting of fruit and veg, grain products, dairy and meat.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said updating the guide was not a responsibility government took lightly. Whereas now it's changed and now it's included with other sources of calcium and protein.

When the food guide review began several years ago Health Canada officials said the facelift would be based on input from scientists and health experts as well as feedback from Canadians. In addition, Health Canada recommends eating more nuts or soy protein, which can help improve blood fat levels, while warning that eating processed meat is linked to higher risks of colorectal cancer.

For years, people had criticised the guide for kowtowing to the meat and dairy industries.

Lemon said beef has an unfair reputation, due partly to concerns around the amount of fat in red meat, but that it's still an important source of protein for Manitobans.

Health Canada did not respond to a request for comment late Tuesday afternoon.

"What is striking about the new Canada's Food Guide is the shift to a broader approach - talking not only about what Canadians should eat, but also how they should eat", said Nathalie Savoie of the Dietitians of Canada.


Canadians are advised to fill half their plate with fruits and vegetables, a quarter with starches or grains and a quarter with protein. "But without an investment from the federal government in healthy school food, it will not have its intended impact".

The US did something similar in 2011, when it switched from the "food pyramid" diagram to "MyPlate".

The president of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers, Bill Huber, says members passed a resolution last week in Regina expressing concern about the new Food Guide.

"I see the food guide as a challenge for many industries".

For decades, parents have been giving their children flavoured milks as a way to entice them to consume dairy.

"This is all new", she says, perceiving an attempt afoot to unite disparate efforts.

Dr Jenkins created the Glycaemic Index in the 1980s, and now follows a plant-based diet for environmental reasons.

Stay tuned for more information on Canada's new food guide.


The dairy industry is - not surprisingly - less than thrilled about these changes.

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"There is abundant research that demonstrates that milk products with various fat content can be part of a healthy diet".

Petitpas Taylor said part of the reasoning behind the increased focus on plant-based proteins was a recognition that many Canadians have lifestyles where meat may not be a major part of their diet.

What is interesting to note is that even the protein category-which contributed to a quarter of the plate-largely consist of plant-based proteins including lentils, tofu, seeds, and chickpeas.

Canada's new dietary guidance includes concrete advice for Canadians on healthy food choices and healthy eating habits.

He says Canadians are lucky to have the abundance of healthy food choices that we have, and debating what's "the best" food for us, is a luxury many people around the world don't have.


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