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Analyzing Canada’s new food guide

Analyzing Canada’s new food guide

New guide encourages consuming a plant-based diet 

Staff Writer
Some ag industry members are concerned by Health Canada’s update to Canada’s food guide.
Canada’s new food guide, released Tuesday morning, recommends eating “plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grain foods and protein foods” and choosing “protein foods that come from plants more often.” 
The previous edition of the food guide listed milk and alternatives, and meat and alternatives, as two of four food groups. Now, both categories are combined in the new version of the guide. 
The Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO), for one, is worried about these changes, a Tuesday DFO update said. While dairy remains a component of the new food guide, DFO is “extremely concerned that the Guide prefers Canadians consume plant-based proteins rather than dairy and animal-based proteins, and to only consume low-fat dairy without evidence to make these recommendations,” Graham Lloyd, DFO general manager and CEO, said in the update. 
 “Unfortunately, this new Guide makes recommendations that go against the findings of Health Canada’s 2015 Evidence Review on Dietary Guidance, the public position of thousands of North American doctors, as well as sound scientific evidence: ‘When examining medical data, there is no scientific basis for the federal government to advise Canadians to reduce their dairy consumption. Recommendations to stop or reduce consuming any particular food must rely on conclusive scientific and medical findings. There is no conclusive evidence to recommend Canadians stop consuming high fat dairy or reduce dairy intake,’” Lloyd added. 
The Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) builds on this sentiment, highlighting some of the health benefits associated with dairy products. 
“While the food guide has changed, milk products continue to play a valuable role in helping Canadians make healthy-eating decisions on a daily basis,” Isabelle Neiderer, DFC’s director of nutrition and research, said in a Tuesday release.
“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,” she added. 
Linda Bryson, a dairy farmer in Lambton County who farms with her husband Dennis, disagrees with how Health Canada has handled changes to the food guide.
“There are some good things in it, like the fruits and vegetable (consumption), but cutting dairy, your meats, your animal fats, I think that’s a big mistake. I think, in about 10 to 15 years, they’re going to have so many health problems, especially for young children,” she said to today.
“Look at the osteoporosis there is now. You’re telling me you’re going to get enough calcium out of broccoli?
“Meat is getting leaner because the public has been demanding that. And, the way you prepare your meat, that’s an education thing. It can be leaner, but you get more than just protein out of your meats and dairy products,” she said.
The Canadian Pork Council (CPC) has also issued comments on the updated food guide. The organization praises the inclusion of lean red meat, like pork, in the protein foods section of nutritious foods that should be consumed daily, a Tuesday CPC release said. 
But the CPC also stressed the differences between protein sources.
“It is important to note that plant and animal proteins are not equivalent. Each has a unique nutrient package,” said Mary Ann Binnie, CPC nutrition manager, in the release. “Pork contains all the amino acids you need, along with many B vitamins, iron, zinc and other essential nutrients needed to grow and repair our bodies.
“We are privileged to be able to choose among a wide variety of affordable protein sources, but some protein sources, like pork, are more efficient at delivering health benefits,” she added. “My advice is to enjoy pork with lots of vegetables and whole grains and benefit from a mix of foods that delivers greater nutritional value.”
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Comments (2)

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Having to deal with customers that have deficiencies in minerals and vitamins, we are daily discussing better food choices with them. A variety of foods is best, and from known sources. Eliminating beef will cause liver damage in the long term due to B12 deficiencies. Plant based B12 is not the same, and supplements are not being absorbed well. Fish has too much mercury, and plants don't deliver enough protein and omega 3 fats. When you consume mostly vegetables, they should be organic to avoid pesticides and fertilizers. People that eat a lot of vegetables tend to get protein from soy in tofu, which contains high levels of estrogen. Calcium from food sources like healthy dairy is extremely important because it is very difficult to absorb in pill form.
Petra Stevenson |Jan 25 2019 1:19PM
I’d like to know if the people readjusting our food guide are totally following these recommendations. Are they taking supplements to achieve enough protein, calcium, iron etc.? One would have to consume a lot of plant products to take in the necessary elements. I also am concerned about many of our plant based foods. We don’t grow many locally, especially in winter, so rely on imports. They are often “ treated” with ??perservatives to keep them FRESH looking but what nutrients are left in items harvested weeks ago? There are a lot of other life styles, besides diet that contribute to ones overall health. Balancing these is the trick. There are far too many fast food restaurants everywhere one goes and many people use these on a regular bases.
Louise Arsenault |Jan 25 2019 8:32AM