Friday, 22 February, 2019


Is milk healthy? Canada's new food guide says not necessarily

Canada's Food Guide Receives First Major Revamp in 12 Years New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins
Patty Aguilar | 26 January, 2019, 00:03

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) congratulates Ginette Petitpas Taylor after she was sworn-in as Canada's Minister of Health during a cabinet shuffle at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, August 28, 2017. We've definitely seen a shift in our society's preference for vegan and vegetarian food over the past decade, that much is evident in the sheer amount of popular traditional meat alternatives flying off the shelves and onto the grills of staple fast-food chains across the country.

The new Canada Food Guide recommends that half your plate should be fresh fruits and vegetables.

Overall, the new direction of the updated Food Guide had health experts and organizations lining up to endorse the new guidelines.

"Current and emerging scientific evidence does not support a continued focus on lower-fat milk products, as it reveals that milk products that contain more fat are not associated with harmful health effects and could even provide benefits", said Isabelle Neiderer, director of nutrition and research for the Dairy Farmers of Canada.

It no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group but does include examples of low-fat, low-sodium and unsweetened dairy products.

Health Canada’s 2007 good guide.

Asked how these Canadians will afford the fruits and vegetables the food guide recommends, Petitpas Taylor said the food guide took affordability into consideration.

The document released Tuesday is only part of Health Canada's new healthy-eating recommendations. Its goal, get Canadians to eat well.

Joyce Parslow, executive director of marketing and consumer relations for Canada Beef, echoed these concerns, adding that she's happy the new guide didn't discourage Canadians from eating red meat. Canadians are also advised to replace foods with high saturated fat (cream, high fat cheese, butter) with unsaturated fats (nuts, seeds, avocados).

"The visual they've shown us is that there's a protein group and that meat is an important part of that", said Joyce Parslow, spokesperson with Canada Beef.

Early indications the guide would promote eating more plant-based protein sparked concern among dairy and beef farmers, who are anxious about the long-term impacts the change in messaging could have on their livelihoods.

It also urges consumers to choose water over other beverages, like sugary fruit juice, pop, alcohol or flavoured milk.

She points to rates of obesity, diabetes, and cardiac disease increasing, as well as rates of cancer.

The guide comes at a time many Canadians are cutting back on meat and dairy, for environment, health or ethical reasons.

"We're not telling Canadians not to eat dairy products or not to eat meat products". They add that a "planetary diet", which is low in red meat and high in legumes, could save lives and the planet.

"We really needed to keep that distance for any perceived or real conflict of interest", said Hasan Hutchinson, director-general of nutritional policy and promotion at Health Canada.

"Health Canada based the recommendations on the most up to date nutrition science and avoided guidance from the food industry when creating [the guide]", Shauna said.

"I thought it was really courageous of the Canada food guide to make inclusion of that because that's an awareness that some people are knowing and a lot aren't aware of yet", said McFadyen.

Sylvain Charlebois, a professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University says the big focus is on plant-based sources.

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