Two years ago I wrote a post review the Canadian Food Guide, at that time the new food guide was in the works but had not been releases. That post has been my most popular post, by A LOT.
I figured it was about time I review the current food guide. When the new guide was first released, I think we were all surprised, major changes had occurred. Gone are the days of the colorful chart! Now we have an applicable visual, a balanced plate.
At first glance it’s obvious that this guide is a big improvement on the last guide, but does that make it good?
Let’s start with a HUGE positive, water intake. The previous guide included fruit juice as an acceptable beverage, the new guide is pushing water as the beverage of choice! Yes, yes and more yes. Every single part of our body needs water to function optimally, we are literally made of water.
If the only change you made to your diet was to exclude/limit sugary drinks, you would see positive improvements in your health. I applaud the decision to make water such an important part of the new guide.
Half A Plate Of Produce
This is such an applicable, and easy to understand, suggestion. I would have suggested they stick to vegetables for much of that half and include fruit as a side. Many people don’t realize there is a difference, but half a plate of fruit would contain a lot of sugar, natural sugar is still sugar. Fruit is full of amazing vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients but it is not meant to be eaten in large quantities. Honestly, if it made no difference, I would choose fruit over vegetables because they have a much higher flavor profile. The general public needs to understand the difference.
Eat Protein Foods
I appreciate that they labeled these as “protein” and are admitting that protein comes from other sources other than meat. That being said, if you are not going to eat meat then you need to know how to pair your foods in order to get the essential amino acids that are necessary to sustain you. I think some level of education should be included in the guide to help people understand how best to choose/pair their protein sources. If you dig further into the guide you will find the recommendation to eat less animal protein and focus on plant protein. I disagree. Some of us function amazing on animal protein, some of us don’t. Some of us function incredibly on plant protein, some of us don’t. The goal here should be to make sure you are getting the necessary amino acids!
Choose Whole Grain Foods
Alright, let’s unpack this. The other categories on the plate contain multiple options but this category is strictly whole grains. Yes, grains contain nutrients. Grains also contain large amounts of glyphosates from the well-known pesticide, Round up. You know that pesticide that is banned in certain countries because of its negative health implications? Mhmm, that one. Do I think we all need to completely avoid grain, nope. I also don’t think we need to have it at every meal. Why not a side of sweet potato or squash? Let’s not forget that we are seeing a growing number of the population that have started to limit grains due to the indigestion they experience when eating them. Why not this call this category “Complex Carbohydrates” and offer a variety if options?
Where are the fats?
If we have learned anything in the past 10 years it’s that fat is a crucial part of a healthy diet. I cannot find it anywhere in this new guide. Fat is necessary for vitamin absorption and hormone production among many other important chemical processes in the body.
Teach people how to build a plate with a proper nutrient balance of carbohydrates, fat and protein. These are not difficult concepts and we shouldn’t assume that people aren’t interested in learning. The Nutrition is industry is fast growing and is set to be a TRILLION dollar industry in the next few years. People are interested!
Teach them about individual nutrient needs and why a one size fits all guide is not the answer.
Teach people about managing blood sugar and how this impacts their health. This would have a HUGE impact on the health of our country. Even “healthy” foods, when consumed in uneven amounts, can have a negative impact on our over health because of their effect on blood sugar.
Overall this guide is a big improvement from the last one but I still think there are too many politics involved in deciding what we should eat. Entire industries are effected by this guide and there is no way that was ignored when the guide was in development. As always, follow the money.