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

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

Millennium Memorial Park a birders’ paradise

Findings by the Delkatla Sanctuary Society has given birdwatchers more reason to… Continue reading

Major upgrades needed for Port sewage lagoon

Engineering firm itemizes shortcomings for provincial and federal standards

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read