Answering your most asked questions about #CanadasFoodGuide
After years of consultation and review of nutrition research, the new Canada’s Food Guide is here. Read on to find out my Dietitian review here:
What is new about
Canada’s Food Guide?
The old “all in one” single
worksheet has been replaced by an online suite of resources at Canada.ca/FoodGuide.
format better meets the needs for you personally or for your work (there are
different users including the general public, policy makers, and health
will find research documents, simple snapshots, videos, recipes and practical
What are some of the
highlights in the new Canada Food Guide?
- Movement away from food groups, number
of servings and portion confusion to a simple
visual of a balanced plate:
- 1/2 plate vegetables and fruit (fresh,
- 1/4 plate protein foods (more emphasis
on plant-based proteins such as legumes, nuts and seeds; also includes milk and
yogurt as well as meat, poultry and seafood).
- 1/4 plate whole grains (such as brown
rice, whole grain pasta, whole grain bread, quinoa)
- 1/2 plate vegetables and fruit (fresh,
- Emphasis on drinking more water, less alcohol and sugary beverages.
- Actionable advice on HOW to eat (not
just WHAT to eat) to encourage families to enjoy
food, eat together, cook more often
and being mindful of eating habits.
- Updated recommendations on reducing saturated fat, sodium, and sugars
such as confectioneries and sugary drinks such as soft drinks and sweetened
web content to support
Canadians to eat healthy whenever, and wherever they go.
- Considerations for incorporating traditional foods for Indigenous Peoples, cultural
diversity and environmental sustainability.
- Additional guidance will be needed by
individuals with specific dietary recommendations by the help of a Registered Dietitian. Dietitians are the only university trained
and regulated health professional in the nutrition field.
Is the Canada Food Guide recommending a move to only
plant based foods or a vegetarian lifestyle?
No – the advice is to choose
How were the
guidelines put together?
The best available evidence was
- only high-quality scientific reports on
food and health from respected authorities including systematic reviews on over
100 food-related topics
- over 400 convincing conclusions
Evidence Review for Dietary Guidance 2015 and the Food, Nutrients and
Health: Interim Evidence Update 2018, form the foundation of the new Food
were excluded to reduce the potential
for, or the perception of, conflict of interest.
How can we be sure the information is trustworthy and the food industry did not bias the Food Guide?
openness and transparency in how and who was involved in the guide:
Submissions received during public consultations were summarized in What We Heard reports available at Canada.ca.
- When Health Canada senior officials met with organizations to discuss the development of the Food Guide, details including the name of the organization and purpose of meeting, were posted on Canada.ca.
- Health Canada’s Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion officials responsible for drafting the Food Guide did not meet with industry representatives to discuss the Food Guide.
Industry-commissioned reports were excluded to reduce the potential for, or
the perception of, conflict of interest.
is the bottom line and the potential challenges of Canada‘s Food Guide?
The new Canada Food Guide provides simple visual plate rather than
food groups and serving sizes. There
are also more expanded online tools to
get the general population thinking about healthy eating broadly.
- As someone that has been teaching the concept of a balanced meal containing 3 key components for many years, this was a refreshing change from the days of the old rainbow guide.
- The simple visual guide to aim for your plate to contain 1/2 vegetables and fruit, 1/4 plate protein and 1/4 plate grains is a move in the right direction.
The new Canada Food Guide focuses
on not just what to eat but also how to eat with emphasis on cooking, eating together and mindfullness.
- I see
a loss of culinary skill being passed onto kids because of increased processed
food consumption for busy families so an emphasis on cooking is absolutely
critical for the health of Canadians.
also see a trend of undervaluing the importance of family meals because of many
competing work and extracurricular activities happening over the dinner hour. When we eat together so much more happens
around the dinner table than just eating – it is a time for connection.
emphasis of mindfulness was also something I was really excited to see given the
ability to understand emotions, hunger and fullness cues is a lost skill for so
many people, especially those struggling with weight concerns.
If you are like many of the clients
we see in our nutrition counseling practice, the 2 main challenges in using the food guide will be:
1: How to personalize the information for your own life:
can think of the Food Guide as a general population tool and a good place to
start. To further customize the
knowledge for your own unique needs you can look to the skills of a Registered
Dietitian to help you personalized your nutrition plan. Personalized advice from a Dietitian can help
you navigate unique goals, health issues, sports performance, relevant
information for your age or family situation, cooking skill, cultural diversity
and food preferences.
that just like physicians have unique areas of specialty, dietitians have many
different areas of specialty. Some dietitians specialize in sports nutrition, pediatrics,
eating disorders, weight concerns or digestive health to name a few. Find the right dietitian for your needs.
2: How to inspire action and sustainability:
As Calgary Dietitians in
practice since year 2000, the biggest barrier many of our clients face when
trying to eat healthier is not knowledge.
The bigger challenge is that knowledge doesn’t necessarily lead to
The Registered Dietitians on
our team work with our clients in our Calgary nutrition counseling office or
virtually by phone or video education to customize advice for each person and
build in behavior change and accountability strategies to move people through the
change process. In order to help you achieve health, address a weight concern
and improve meal planning skills a coach can help. A trained and experienced Registered Dietitian
can also help you address a medical issue such as IBS, high cholesterol, diabetes
and eating disorder and more.
There is not one way to eat – the Food Guide can get you started, working with a Registered Dietitian can further
Where can I find out more information about Canada’s Food Guide and healthy eating?
Visit the Canada Food Guide website here for all the details: Canada.ca/FoodGuide. #canadasfoodguide
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