Here's how Canada's Food Guide has changed over the past 77 years

Here's how Canada's Food Guide has changed over the past 77 years

Health Canada says it is working to ensure that the revised Food Guide is inclusive of Indigenous Peoples, reflecting social, cultural and historical context.

The update, released on Tuesday, doesn't feature specific food groups or serving suggestions, as it has in the past.

"Healthy eating is more than the foods you eat - being mindful, cooking more often, enjoying your food, eating meals with others, using food labels to education yourself, limiting foods high in sodium, sugars or saturated fat and being aware of food marketing", she said. This is exactly what the new Canadian food guide is promoting.

The new food guide's focus on drinking is in contrast to the 2007 edition, which only mentioned the high calories and sugar content as reasons to limit alcohol, arguments the current guide repeats. The 2015 report also says dairy products were Canadians' "major" source of calcium.

What about milk? Instead of giving a separate section to dairy products, the latest guide focuses on moving towards a plant-based direction.

Dairy has long had a central role in health policies in Canada and other Western cultures.

Over the next seven decades, milk, fruits, vegetables, cereals and breads, and meat and fish were all recommended in some way, shape, or form. That was music to the ears of Toronto-based nutritionist Lianne Phillipson, who told CTV News Channel she had already been encouraging her clients to add more produce to their diets.

Gone are the days of the rainbow composite of four food groups consisting of fruit and veg, grain products, dairy and meat.

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"Lumping milk products together with other protein foods will lead to inadequate intakes of important nutrients", the Dairy Farmers of Canada's Isabelle Neiderer, a registered dietitian, said in a recent statement. And while children can reject healthy food at home, at school, she said, "when everyone gets it, no one rejects it".

Hutchinson said Health Canada still recommends lower-fat diary as part of a nutritious diet. "How they adapt will be of interest", said Simon Somogyi, a University of Guelph professor studying the business of food. Jill Harvie, public and stakeholder engagement manager for the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, pointed out an image of beef is included on the food guide as an example of a "protein-rich food", along with eggs, nuts and lentils.

Hasan Hutchison, the director-General of nutritional policy and promotion with Health Canada.

In contrast, according to Health Canada, scientists have argued that humans have no nutritional requirement for animal milk. He suggested as the new food guide's message is institutionalized over time, it could affect consumer behaviour to the point that Canada's supply-managed dairy and poultry sectors end up overproducing within just a few years.

In its first update to the guide since 2007, Health Canada abandoned its rainbow of four food groups in favour of a picture of the flawless plate: half fruits and vegetables, one quarter for protein, one quarter whole grains.

"For too many years, Canada's Food Guide has compromised our health, environment and animals by emphasizing meat, dairy and eggs as being foundational in our diets".

"It is a golden opportunity for sustainable agriculture", she said.

This fuss-free food guide focused on a plant-based diet, filling nearly half the plate with fruits and vegetables.

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