I’m so thrilled to let you know that Canada’s 1977 Food Guide has been updated. The Canadian Government has dramatically overhauled its iconic guide introducing a simplified approach that emphasizes plant-based eating and reduces the emphasis on meat and dairy.
Plant-Based More Often
As a Nutritionist I concur. Eating a variety of healthy foods each day will have a dramatic effect, not only on our health but on our lives.
The guide explains that we need to have PLENTY of vegetables and fruit Enjoy moderate protein and choose whole grains.
Even within the “protein” category, meat and dairy is de-emphasized. “Among protein foods, consume plant-based more often,” the new guide says. “The regular intake of plant-based foods – vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and plant-based proteins – can have positive effects on health,” including lower risk of cardiovascular disease, colon cancer and type 2 diabetes.
Sugar, Sodium and Fat, OH MY!
Don’t you just love the comment on the guide “Make water your drink of choice”.
The new guide labels 100-per-cent fruit juice as a “sugary drink” associated with dental decay, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Obesity and chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, are a major public health concern in Canada. Diet, particularly a diet that is high in sodium, sugars and saturated fat, is one of the top risk factors for chronic diseases. The new guide includes warnings on foods high in sodium, sugar and saturated fat.
The new guide also includes instruction on behaviors associated with healthy eating patterns: “Be mindful of your eating habits;” “cook more often;” “enjoy your food;” and “eat meals with others.”
The Research - Food and our Health
The Evidence Review Cycle for Dietary Guidance (ERC) is Health Canada’s systematic approach to gathering, assessing, and analyzing data relevant to dietary guidance. This process helps to ensure that guidance from Health Canada on healthy eating, such as Canada’s Food Guide, remains scientifically sound, current, relevant, and useful.
Dietary guidance is evidence-based information and advice about making food choices that promote health and reduce the risk of obesity and nutrition-related chronic diseases.
The 2015 ERC identified 29 reports that examined the relationships between food intake and nutrition-related outcomes of public health concern in Canada. The outcomes of concern were: cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, osteoporosis, and obesity.
For numerous topics, the convincing conclusions re-affirmed Health Canada’s current understanding of food and health relationships. These included conclusions related to:
- Sodium and increased risk of high blood pressure
- Trans fatty acids and increased risk for cardiovascular disease
- Dietary patterns – characterized by higher consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and seafood, lower consumption of red and processed meats, refined grains, and sugar-sweetened foods and beverages – and positive cardiovascular disease outcomes.
Nutrition-related chronic diseases and conditions continue to be issues of public health concern in Canada. The food and nutrient intakes of Canadians indicate that for many, different food choices are required to improve the quality of their diet.