Published: Sat, January 26, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

"We really needed to keep that distance for any perceived or real conflict of interest", Hutchinson said.

He recently spoke to hundreds of people in the beef industry about the upcoming food guide, who he said were not overly happy with the plant-based narrative, and suggested they "befriend the enemy".

A document put out by Health Canada for consultation said most Canadians do not eat enough vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and many also consume drinks with lots of sugar.

Yet, Health Canada made a commitment to not meet with industry during the food guide revision process.

Foods that contain mostly unsaturated fat should replace foods that contain mostly saturated fat.

"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.

"I am very impressed with the new structure of the food guide", registered dietitian Shauna Lindzon told us.

The latest edition does away with many standard elements, like food groups, serving sizes and the recommendation that 100% fruit juice can substitute whole fruits.

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It notes long-term consumption is associated with increased risk of many types of cancer including - liver, mouth, colorectal and breast, as well as other serious health conditions including hypertension and liver disease.

In addition, no fewer than 46 lobbyists registered to lobby government on the food guide and had dozens of meetings with representatives of at least 23 government departments, offices or agencies over the past year and also met with at least 43 MPs, senators or their senior staffers. Eat meals with others. 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.

"Our domestic production for these commodities may require recalibration in the near future, and many of our farms could disappear", Charlebois said in an email.

"Today's announcement of the new Food Guide recognizes that fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet", said CPMA President Ron Lemaire.

The organization has warned that any drastic change would be harmful while the sector is still dealing with concessions granted in recent trade agreements.

Hasan Hutchinson, director general of nutritional policy and programs at Health Canada, acknowledged the change in a conference call with reporters this week, noting, "there has been, over the last several years, the awareness that there's a substantial disease burden attributed to alcohol intake". Last week, a team of global scientists said a "planetary diet" - drastically low in red meat and high in legumes (beans and lentils) - could save millions of lives and the planet. But Health Canada does work with the provinces, and is expected to unveil a "Healthy Eating Pattern for Health Professionals and Policy Makers" this year. She said the industry must do a better job getting its message out.

Neiderer said she is concerned dairy is listed as a protein. The guide now clearly states that food and beverages in publicly funded institutions - including hospitals and schools - should align with the eating guidelines.

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