The new Canada Food Guide recommends vegetables, fruits, whole grains and should choose plant-based proteins. (Unsplash)

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

Canada’s new food guide does away with food groups and portion sizes, focusing instead on broader guidelines that include eating more plant-based protein and drinking more water.

The food-guide facelift unveiled today reflects a new approach by Health Canada aimed at promoting healthier eating and lifestyle choices, rather than emphasizing serving sizes and specific foods.

Hasan Hutchinson, director-general of nutritional policy and promotion at Health Canada, said an online, mobile-friendly suite of resources has been developed to meet the needs of different users including the public, policy makers and health professionals.

“The guide continues to provide advice on what to eat, but now it also emphasizes that healthy eating is more than the food you eat,” Hutchinson said.

Canadians should eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains and should choose plant-based proteins — such as legumes, nuts and tofu — more regularly, the guide says.

It also stresses that Canadians should make water their beverage of choice as a way to stay hydrated without consuming calories.

Updated recommendations also highlight foods that undermine healthy eating and lead to higher risk of chronic disease. Processed and prepared foods that are high in sugar, salt and saturated fat should not be consumed regularly, the new guide says, with a special emphasis on the risks associated with alcohol.

“Dietary risks are one of the top three leading risk factors for chronic disease burden in Canada, however nutrition science is complex and often results in conflicting messages. This is why Canadians need credible healthy-eating information to guide their food choices,” Hutchinson said. “These are the reasons for which it was necessary to revise Canada’s Food Guide.”

In eliminating specific food and portion recommendations, the guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group. Hutchinson said the intent was not to eliminate dairy from the guide and pointed to examples where low-fat, low-sodium and unsweetened dairy products are listed within other recommended food categories, including suggested healthy proteins and beverages.

Early indications the guide would promote eating more plant-based protein sparked concern among dairy and beef farmers, who are worried about the long-term impacts the change in messaging could have on their livelihoods.

READ MORE: Federal Food Guide makeover worries Canadian farmers

READ MORE: The debate over the new Canada Food Guide

In a statement released earlier this month, the national policy and lobby organization representing Canada’s dairy farmers warned the decision could have a detrimental impact on future generations and harm a sector that continues to be “negatively impacted by the concessions granted in recent trade agreements.”

The new Food Guide was developed with input from science and health experts and excluded the input of industry to avoid past concerns about political interference.

“We really needed to keep that distance for any perceived or real conflict of interest,” Hutchinson said. “We felt very strongly about that because in the 2007 Food Guide there was a fair amount of criticism about the influence of industry and we think, to make sure we keep the confidence of Canadians and health professionals and other stakeholders, it was necessary to stay quite strict on that.”

New messages are also included in the new guide that promote healthy behaviours involving food, such as reminding people to be mindful while eating and to eat meals with others.

The document released Tuesday is only part of Health Canada’s new healthy-eating recommendations. A report directed at health professionals and policymakers is to be released later this year, which will include more details on amounts and types of foods for hospitals, schools and seniors’ facilities to us to create menus or diets in clinical or institutional settings.

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Precipitation levels low for the month of June

Both June and July have seen low to average precipitation levels in comparison to last year, says meteorologist

CN train derailment cleared between Terrace and Prince Rupert

The CN mainline is now open, following a train derailment mid-way between… Continue reading

Nechako Valley Otters bringing home multiple medals from swim meets

The next meet for the Nechako Otters is on July 21 and 22

State of local financial crisis declared in Fort St. James

The District will have a job fair on July 31 to help workers find transitioning jobs

Regional real estate sales down so far in 2019

Real estate sales in the northwest and Bulkley-Nechako regions of British Columbia… Continue reading

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read