NEWS: Canada’s New Food Guide Rooted in Research, Not Food Industry Lobby



Canada released an updated food guide that contains words of encouragement for healthy eating and emphasizes food choices and how people eat, rather than portion size recommendations and food groups. The guide authors did not use any industry-backed studies in their overhaul of their national food guidelines :


“Health Canada has grown a backbone and distanced itself from industry by excising some dubious advice that was clearly designed to mollify industry, such as the recommendation to drink two glasses of milk a day and consume at least two tablespoons of canola oil every day.”

ANDRÉ PICARD , Globe and Mail


Their visual representation shows a colorful plate packed with vegetables and fruits taking up one-half of the plate, one-quarter with whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, one-quarter with protein (note the plant-based protein sources, like beans, nuts, and tofu), and a glass of water on the side as the drink of choice. These new guidelines push animal proteins and dairy products to the side and promote plant-forward diets.




Though this guide addresses dietary recommendations, it’s about more than just the food. The seven recommendations include many habits that blue zones area centenarians practiced their whole lives:

  1. Be mindful of your eating habits
  2. Cook more often
  3. Enjoy your food
  4. Eat meals with others
  5. Use food labels
  6. Limit foods high in sodium, sugars, or saturated fat
  7. Be aware of food marketing

“It’s not particularly new to say eat more fruits and veggies, people have been saying this for a while. This is not radical stuff,” said Dr. David Jenkins, the Canada research chair in nutrition and metabolism and a professor at the University of Toronto. Centenarians from the blue zones have eaten this way for most of their lives, now the rest of the world is starting to catch on.

“It’s not particularly new to say eat more fruits and veggies, people have been saying this for a while. This is not radical stuff.”

Dr. David Jenkins, Canada Research Chair in Nutrition and Metabolism



Food Guidelines From Around the World:


Japan’s Spinning Top Food Guidelines  also include physical activity.


Fiji’s Guidelines Include Recommendations for Breastfeeding


The Australian Food Guidelines use photos of actual ingredients and “off the plate” foods to eat in small amounts.


The Barbados food guide includes exercise and daily chores as well as foods that are mostly unprocessed.


The United States revised their food guidelines and food pyramids with this updated graphic in 2011.

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