The updated document will emphasize plant-based protein
By Diego Flammini
A Canadian ag organization is concerned about the pending changes to a national food document.
Health Canada’s new version of the Canada Food Guide will include an emphasis on plant-based proteins.
Promoting plant-based proteins the same way as traditional sources of protein could have a negative effect on Canadian agriculture and reduce nutrient consumption, Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) says.
“Milk products and other protein foods are not interchangeable,” Isabelle Neiderer, a registered dietitian and director of nutrition with DFC, said in a statement. “Milk products provide different nutrients aside from protein that are important to health. Lumping milk products together with other protein foods will lead to inadequate intakes of important nutrients.”
Highlighting plant-based proteins could help Canadians eat more produce, however.
Canadian consumers don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables, a study in the Canadian Journal of Public Health said in 2017.
Over 75 per cent of the population weren’t meeting the Canadian Food Guide recommendations for fruit and vegetable servings, the study said.
Health Canada isn’t identifying animal-based proteins as unhealthy, but rather is showcasing the potential benefits of alternative sources.
“Regular intake of plant-based foods, so vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and these plant-based proteins can have positive effects on health,” Hasan Hutchinson, director general of nutritional policy and promotion at Health Canada, told the Canadian Press on Friday.
Some beef producers don’t appear to be concerned with Health Canada’s upcoming changes to the Food Guide.
“I’m all for consumers having options,” Sheila Hillmer, a beef producer from Del Bonita, Alta., told Farms.com. “As long as the facts are told, and people understand the true nutrition of beef and the role it plays in our diets. There’s room for all different types of food sources.”