After a multiyear project to revise Canada’s Food Guide, the Canadian federal government has introduced a new food guide that dramatically overtakes its iconic previous one, shifting its focus towards encouraging plant-based eating, and reducing emphasis on meat and dairy products.
What to avoid?
Most highly processed foods contain added sugar, saturated fat, and sodium, and are also recommended as foods to avoid in the revised guide. Relying on ‘ready-to-eat’ foods and drinks contributes to an unhealthy lifestyle, and has been correlated to higher obesity rates and abnormal blood-cholesterol levels.
Canada’s Food Guide debuted its ‘four food groups’ ideology in 1977, which remained mostly consistent until now. The food groups consisted of milk and milk products, meat and alternatives, grain products, and fruits and vegetables. With the new food guide, the number of groups have been reduced to three: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and proteins. The new proteins category consists of meat and dairy, however, also includes plant-based proteins. With this new emphasis on plant-based foods, there is intent and effort being put towards reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, colon cancer and type 2 diabetes, which are linked to high intakes of red meat.
Another shift in the guide introduces instruction on healthy eating patterns, such as being mindful of eating habits, cooking often, and eating meals with others. These ideologies revolve around general eating behaviors, and can have an immense impact on overall health, in addition to the new food guidelines.
The new Canada’s Food Guide is supported by evidence that has been reviewed since 2015 in the Evidence Review for Dietary Guidance: Technical Report. Health Canada’s decisions regarding dietary guidance are primarily made on a scientific basis, considering them in a Canadian context in addition to the use of existing dietary guidance. With new research being conducted every day, Health Canada has committed to ensuring the guidelines are current and relevant for the growing population and the future of Canadian well-being. For information regarding the revision process of Canada’s Food Guide, please visit https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/canada-food-guide/about/revision-process.html.
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