Revamping Canada’s Food Guide

Canada’s Food Guide, which hasn’t been updated since 2007, is currently undergoing a much-needed revamp. The Food Guide is used across the country as an educational tool by school teachers and health care providers to help teach Canadians the importance of a healthy diet and is the federal government’s second-most requested public document. Health Canada is currently collecting input on their guiding principles and considerations until August 14.

Community members interested in participating and providing feedback on the newly proposed general healthy eating recommendations can complete Health Canada’s online survey.

Healthy Food Principles and Considerations

The newly-proposed guidelines focus on three guiding principles:

  1. Eating a variety of nutritious foods and beverages
  2. Avoiding processed or prepared foods and beverages
  3. Providing knowledge and skills about food and health.

Health Canada plans to integrate factors like cultural diversity, how eating unhealthy foods can be detrimental to your health, and how the food we choose to eat impacts the environment.

Moving Away From Meat

The move to a more plant-based diet is a big step for Health Canada. Previous guides emphasized both meat and dairy for protein needs. The push to educate the public on how food choices affect health is also a substantial change. Health Canada created a helpful infographic on diet and chronic disease, which outlines the relationship between the health and food consumption.

Media Literacy for Food Health

Health Canada is also pushing to restrict or prohibit marketing that encourages children to eat unhealthy food and beverages, reinforcing their campaign to reduce consumption of processed foods high in sugar, sodium and saturated fats. This infographic illustrates the impacts of marketing on children’s food choices.

Health Canada has published a summary of the evidence they used as the basis for their recommendations.

Health Canada plans to release new dietary guidance for health professionals in early 2018, followed by recommendations and resources for the public in 2019. To learn more about the revisions process and the proposed changes to Canada’s Food Guide visit the links below:

Although it’s been a while since the guide has been updated, the proposed changes are only the latest in a series. The Food Guide has come a long way from its debut in 1942. “It was designed for a country at war,” according to The Globe and Mail’s summary of the evolution of Canada’s Food Guide over the years.

The Food Guide is one of the government’s most controversial documents and is subject to significant lobbying by the food industry. Health Canada needs to hear from citizens to make sure that organic food, genetically modified organisms, product labelling and ingredient transparency are taken into account. The government of Canada invites public participation until August 14, 2017.  Visit their website at www.foodguideconsultation.ca for to participate in the online questionnaire.

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