Thoughts on Canada’s New Food Guide

By Jana Manolakos

It turns out your mom was right: You should eat more fruits and vegetables, and according to Canada’s new Food Guide, eat more plant proteins and whole grains. Unveiled in January, the new Guide also tells you “how” to eat as well as “what” to eat, pushing for more water and less fruit juice, which it says is just liquid sugar.

Dietitians of Canada contributed to the new guide, last revised in 2007, and are big fans of it. CEO Nathalie Savoie said, “We fully support the direction of Canada’s Food Guide with its suite of tools, including the robust, thoughtful and up-to-date dietary guidelines for health professionals and policy makers. The recommendations and online tools for consumers are easy to understand, evidence informed and in line with the type of guidance that dietitians already use with their patients, clients and communities.”

Yves Savoie, CEO of Heart & Stroke, adds, “It was designed to make preparing and sharing healthy food a pleasure, while improving our health.”  

But accolades over the new guide have fallen flat in some farming communities over concerns about the reduced emphasis on animal proteins, like the kind you find in milk. Dairy Farmers of Canada suggests that there is abundant research demonstrating that milk products are good for you. Isabelle Neiderer, Director, Nutrition & Research at Dairy Farmers of Canada, says, “The scientific evidence supporting the nutritional benefits of milk products in the promotion of bone health and prevention of chronic diseases, for instance, is stronger than ever, and new evidence continues to accumulate.” 

When it comes to processed foods, Michi Furuya Chang, Registered Dietitian and Senior Vice President, Public Policy & Regulatory Affairs for the Food and Consumer Products Association, says, “Canadians should be limiting their intake of nutrients of concern, such as sodium, sugar and saturated fats. However, categorizing food as ‘highly processed’ unfairly vilifies food that can be part of a healthy diet, and that many Canadians rely upon as a convenient, affordable, safe and nutritious option.” 

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