Canada's Food Guide Getting a Plant-Inspired Makeover

The Government of Canada has released its full list of proposed "evidence-informed" Guiding Principles, recommendations and considerations for a new suite of Canada's Food Guide resources, set to be rolled out in early 2018.

The Guiding Principles states that the "majority of Canadians don't eat enough vegetables, fruits and whole grains," and therefore "need to make different choices to meet these recommendations." Health Canada's draft recommends:

  • Regular intake of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and protein-rich foods -- especially plant-based sources of protein [emphasis added]
  • Inclusion of foods that contain mostly unsaturated fat, instead of foods that contain mostly saturated fat
  • Regular intake of water

The guideline encourages "a shift towards a high proportion of plant-based foods," and advocates for a limit on red meat intake and a replacement of foods high in saturated fat with nuts, seeds and avocado. There is also a section on the environment, which states:

"In general, diets higher in plant-based foods and lower in animal-based foods are associated with a lesser environmental impact, when compared to current diets high in sodium, sugars and saturated fat."

The recommendations are not yet finalized and Health Canada is encouraging people to provide their input through an online consultation, so that the recommendations can be developed "into consumer messages, tools, and resources" to "assist Canadians with healthy eating."

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Lena Tachdjian is a certified nutritionist and a writer, who splits her time between Canada and Armenia. She writes about nutrition, health, food, recipes, culture, travel, animal rights, and more. You can follow her on her nutrition and travel blog

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