Canada’s food guide has been updated after more than a decade and it recommends fruits and vegetables should make up half of our plates at any meal. The new food guide is being praised for a lot of things and “simplicity” is one of the reasons. Astonishingly, it considers the old recommended portions and serving sizes as “idiotic and ridiculous”. Where there are people who are praising it for its simplicity as being health Canada food guide, it’s also being criticized for being too simple at same time, funny isn’t it?
The new guide recommends that Canadians choose proteins that come from plants rather than animals, Drink water, fill half a plate with fruits and vegetables. Fruit juice is discontinued as a recommended drink and is labelled as “liquid sugar”.
Surprisingly, gone is the rainbow of the old four food groups, replaced by a model which revolves are “Single Plate”, half of which should be filled with fruits and vegetables while a quarter each to whole grains and proteins. People into the dairy and cattle business are not taking it easy that the “Milk and alternatives” and “Meat and alternatives” have lost their status as official standalone food groups and have been lumped into the protein-rich category instead.
At a briefing on Tuesday, Dr. Hasan Hutchinson was asked why anything related to dairy is absent from the composite plate and snapshots of “heathy Eating”. He replied, “Certainly in the picture of the composite plate you’ve got, ah, yogurt that’s right there in the protein group.” Mr. Hutchinson is the director general of Health Canada’s office of nutrition policy and promotion. Mr. Hutchinson also told the reporters that the long-awaited rewrite is based on an extensive, rigorous and efficient scientific review and research using the best available evidence, and that industry-commissioned reports were intentionally excluded to reduce any perception of conflict of interest, real or perceived and most importantly to maintain ‘the confidence of Canadians.”
Among the changes in new health Canada food guide, the previous four food groups – vegetables and fruit, grain products, milk and meat have all become history. Instead, we will be learning about food into three groupings which are, vegetables and fruits, whole grains and protein foods. The previous recommendations for specific portions are not only discontinued but also labelled “ridiculous and inconvenient”. Dr Yoni Freedhoff who is an associate professor in the department of family medicine at the university of Ottawa said that “Nobody weighed and measured their foods. Nobody really followed it, nobody knew what a serving size was. They were ridiculous and idiotic, but they provided the food industry with something really powerful to market – especially the dairy industry, which talked about how many servings of dairy you needed to have per day, and how Canadians were doing a poor job with that.”
I personally agree with what Dr. Yoni Freedhoff had said, the previous food guide was not only impractical but also very biased in terms of interests, as it motivated a consumption of dairy more than necessary which reflected that previous research which lead to Canada’s official food guide was rigged and influenced. The new guide instead focuses on proportions, with an emphasis on a high proportion of plant-based foods. It also recommends replacing foods that contain mostly saturated fat (cream, high fat cheese, butter and the like) with foods that contain mostly unsaturated fats, like nuts, seeds and avocados. A diet higher in vegetables and fruits is linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, eating more nuts or soy protein can help improve blood fat levels, and processed meat has been linked to higher risks of colorectal cancer.
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