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The "new" Canada Food Guide: what you need to know

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” (From author Michael Pollan’s Manifesto)

The new 2019 Canada Food Guide is a simplified approach that encourages plant-based eating and reduces the emphasis on meat and dairy.

In the past, the Canada Food Guide was often influenced by major food lobby groups (can you believe that the guide writers even changed their recommendations based on complaints from groups such as the Canadian Meat Council and the Dairy Bureau of Canada?!)

It has been 15 years since a revamped food guide was released.

Overall, I am happy with the changes, and find it encouraging to see these new healthy eating trends.

Some of the major distinctions from the old guide are:

  • No more “4 food groups”: The four food groups had remained more or less unchanged since the 1977 Canada’s Food Guide. Those groups consisted of milk and milk products; meat and alternatives; grain products; and fruits and vegetables. The new guide reduces those groups to three (fruits and vegetables; whole grains; and proteins);

  • Encouraging alternatives to “meat protein” (more plant-based eating);

  • Dairy products are almost completely wiped out;

  • Discouraging the consumption of sugar (including fruit juice!) and processed foods;

  • Suggesting consumers be aware of food marketing, and pay more attention to food labels when shopping;

  • Making water the “beverage of choice” in order to fulfill two purposes: to promote hydration, and also to limit the consumption of sugary or alcoholic beverages;

  • Addressing “food behaviours”: cook more often at home, eat meals with others, be mindful of your eating habits (I covered the importance of ‘mindful eating’ in a previous post), and enjoy food.

Looks like this version of the Food Guide has finally caught up with scientific evidence on diet and health!

Choosing whole foods and planning healthy meals contributes to good health and may help prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

Bon Appetit! 😋


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