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

RCMP target speeders in White Rock, Surrey

Officers throughout the province launch Swoop campaign

Surrey councillors say they’ve now seen policing transition plan

Locke and Hundial decline to share details of the plan, repeat calls for its release to residents

Roadside device to weed out THC can’t detect impairment, lawyer says

‘This fact alone is likely to have serious implications for Canadians’ Charter Rights,’ lawyer Sarah Leamon warns

Mariners to play Yale for Fraser Valley rugby banner

Senior boys rugby teams to rekindle rivalry on pitch in Abbotsford

CrimeStoppers seeks tips in lethal, unsolved Langley hit and run

Daniel McAuley was killed almost four years ago in Brookswood

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Most British Columbians agree the ‘big one’ is coming, but only 50% are prepared

Only 46 per cent of British Columbians have prepared an emergency kit with supplies they might need

B.C. man to pay Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party $20k over lawsuit

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

Sitting and sleeping on downtown sidewalks could net $100 fine in Penticton

The measure, which still requires final approval, would be enforced between May and Sept. 30

Survey finds 15% of Canadian cannabis users with a valid licence drive within two hours of using

Survey also finds middle-aged men are upping their usage following legalization

B.C. man killed in logging accident ‘would have done anything for anyone’

Wife remembers 43-year old Petr Koncek, father of two children

Ottawa spending $24.5M to research on health benefits, risks of pot use

$390,000 will fund two cannabis public awareness

Most Read

l -->