Canada’s New Food Guide

Brief summary

Canada’s food guide has been updated in more than a decade. It recommends that fruits and vegetables make up half of your plate at any meal. It also suggests that water should be your first choice of drink (as fruit juice is liquid sugar) and that alcohol should be limited.  Animal products should be reduced in favour of plant-based protein, and processed foods should be avoided. It no longer solely recommends animal-based milk but also plant-based milk alternatives. The new food guide is being praised for its simplicity.

According to Dr. Hasan Hutchinson, Director General of Health Canada’s office of nutrition policy and promotion, the new food guide is based on rigorous scientific review using the best available evidence, and industry-commissioned reports were intentionally excluded to reduce the perception of conflict of interest, real or perceived, in order to maintain “the confidence of Canadians”. Based on the new guide, food is now separated into three groupings (vegetables and fruits, whole grains and, protein foods) rather than the previous four groups (vegetable and fruit, grain products, milk, and meat). It also has no recommendations for specific portions or daily servings as that is not deemed practical. Instead, it emphasizes a high proportion of plant-based foods along with replacing mostly saturated-fat foods with those that are mostly unsaturated fats. Although some accuse Health Canada of pushing an environmentalist agenda, the food guide’s primary focus is health based on available evidence.

Written by Sharon Kirkey on January 22, 2019

Summarized by Marina Kwak