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  #1   ^
Old Tue, Jan-22-19, 18:42
doreen T's Avatar
doreen T doreen T is offline
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Exclamation Canada releases its new Food Guide for 2019 .. good, bad, ugly?

The new Canada’s Food Guide explained: Goodbye four food groups and serving sizes, hello hydration

Health Canada’s updated manual for healthy eating offers fewer hard-and-fast rules and broader advice about how to live better. Here are some of the highlights

January 22, 2019


The federal government has dramatically overhauled its iconic Canada’s Food Guide, introducing this week a new, simplified approach that encourages plant-based eating and reduces the emphasis on meat and dairy.

For the past four decades, Health Canada has instructed Canadians that a healthy diet consists of specific servings across “four food groups,” set against a rainbow background. But the new guide, unveiled on Tuesday morning, not only does away with the four groups; it eliminates serving numbers and sizes altogether. It also replaces the “rainbow” with a new icon: A plate.

Here are the some of the biggest changes from the new food guide.


The four food groups had, until this week, remained more or less unchanged since they had their debut in the 1977 Canada’s Food Guide. Those groups consisted of milk and milk products; meat and alternatives; grain products; and fruits and vegetables.

The new guide, revealed by Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor on Tuesday, reduces those groups to three. The message in that change is clear: Eat more plants, and less meat and dairy. As such, the remaining groups are: fruits and vegetables; whole grains; and proteins – a new umbrella category that combines both dairy and meat, along with plant-based proteins such as tofu and chickpeas. Even within the “protein” category, meat and dairy is de-emphasized. “Among protein foods, consume plant-based more often,” the new guide says. “The regular intake of plant-based foods – vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and plant-based proteins – can have positive effects on health,” including lower risk of cardiovascular disease, colon cancer and type 2 diabetes.

This shift away from meats and dairy sparked fierce opposition from the respective industries. In 2017, The Globe reported that the meat industry and other government departments were lobbying Health Canada to soften its approach. And earlier this month, Tom Lynch-Staunton, a representative for the Alberta Beef Producers, told The Globe it would be “dangerous” to equate meat with plant-based proteins.

A statement from the Dairy Farmers of Canada on Tuesday said the new guide “does not reflect the most recent and mounting scientific evidence available.” Previous statements from the organization had warned that the move would be “detrimental to the long-term health of future generations” in addition to having a negative impact on local dairy farmers.


The new guide is distilled into one strikingly simple image: a plate of food filled with roughly half fruits and vegetables, and the remaining half divided into whole grains and proteins. The image is meant to convey a simple message, according to Health Canada: Eat a diet made up of roughly half fruits and vegetables, and half of the remaining two categories.

Gone are the specific recommendations to eat a specific number of serving sizes across each of the groups. Gone too is information about what makes up a serving size for different types of food. “What we heard from Canadians and stakeholders [on the previous guide] was that it was very difficult, and a bit too complicated to use,” said Hasan Hutchinson, director general of the Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion in Health Canada.

The new approach, he said, “is not about portions, per se, but about proportions.” By following the “half fruits and vegetables” rule, he said, the department hopes to make the guide “real and actionable in your everyday life.” He added that more specifics may be added later, though likely geared toward health professionals or for institutions who need guidance in developing meal plans and diets.


The instruction encouraging Canadians to make water their “beverage of choice” is meant to fulfill two purposes: to promote hydration, and also to limit the consumption of sugary or alcoholic beverages. “In 2015,” the guide says, “sugary drinks were the main sources of total sugars in the diets of Canadians, with children and adolescents having the highest average daily intake.”

And while previous versions of Canada’s Food Guide had recommended 100-per-cent fruit juice as a healthy option equivalent to a serving of fruit, the new version reverses this – despite heavy lobbying from the beverage industry, as reported by The Globe. The new guide labels 100-per-cent fruit juice as a “sugary drink” associated with dental decay, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The new guide also introduces new warnings against alcohol consumption. Alcohol, the guide says, “contributes a lot of calories to the diet with little to no nutritive value.” Alcohol intake is also linked with increased risk of certain types of cancer, including liver and oesophageal.


While Canada’s Food Guides in the past have been preoccupied with what foods to eat, the new version also includes specific warnings about what not to eat – namely, processed and prepared foods that are high in sodium, free sugars and saturated fats.

“In recent years, the availability and consumption of highly processed products has increased significantly," the guide says. This shift has been linked with rises in obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and certain types of cancer.

Examples of these processed foods listed in the guide include muffins, hot dogs, frozen pizza, chocolate and soda. “Prepared foods,” meanwhile, refer to restaurant or similar ready-to-eat meals that are typically high in sodium, sugar and saturated fats.


Taking its cue from the widely acclaimed Brazilian approach, the new Canadian guide also includes instruction on behaviours associated with healthy eating patterns: “Be mindful of your eating habits;” “cook more often;” “enjoy your food;” and “eat meals with others.”

A statement from the Community Food Centres Canada described this guidance as “a critical step forward is the inclusion of advice not only on what we eat but how we eat – cooking more at home, enjoying food, and eating with others – which, taken together, encourage a more communal and healthful approach to eating.”

The Canadian Medical Association, too, applauded the “overall direction" of the new guide. “The CMA," CMA president Dr. Gigi Osler said in a statement, "is particularly supportive of the evidence-based review and extensive consultation process used to draft the new Guide, to ensure it was founded on unbiased research.”

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  #2   ^
Old Tue, Jan-22-19, 20:31
deirdra's Avatar
deirdra deirdra is offline
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I'm not impressed. The Grain lobby must have cowed them into setting aside 25% of the plate for animal fodder that is not essential for human life. And by lumping vegetables & fruit together, the vegetable-haters will fill half their plates with sugary fruit. I expect to see autoimmune diseases, obesity and diabetes become more prevalent in Canada because of this "science-based" guide. I do agree with the less processed food, more water, and eating at home recommendations, which have served me well.
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  #3   ^
Old Wed, Jan-23-19, 06:30
JEY100's Avatar
JEY100 JEY100 is offline
To Good Health!
Posts: 11,155
Plan: IF Fung/LC Westman/Primal
Stats: 222/171/169 Female 5' 9"
Progress: 96%
Location: NC

No mention in The Globe and Mail of push-back from a group of LC doctors and nutritionists. Only the response from the big, bad meat and dairy lobbies.

Are steak and cheese healthy? Doctors group says Canada’s Food Guide is wrong on diet
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  #4   ^
Old Wed, Jan-23-19, 08:00
s93uv3h s93uv3h is offline
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Plan: Atkins & IF / TRE
Stats: 000/014.5/015 Male 5' 10"
Progress: 97%

all of these minor course corrections will not have the impact of 1977's United States Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs Dietary Goals for the United States. mostly these minor nuances are c y a.

another good review of how we got where we are - a Jan 2015 Dr. Peter Attia video. he mentions Gary Taubes several times.

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  #5   ^
Old Wed, Jan-23-19, 08:15
M Levac M Levac is offline
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Plan: VLC, mostly meat
Stats: 202/200/165 Male 5' 7"
Progress: 5%
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

If we accept the premise that people's opinions have been considered, how can we accept that a minority opinion got translated into a majority guidelines? To wit, it's said to be more simple with half-fruits/veggies and half-other stuff, but in fact it's more like 7/8 plants, 1/8 animals (if that). Effectively, it legitimizes a vegan diet, in spite of being deemed, by all accounts, deficient in several essentials like B12, A, D, E, K.

The logic here is that if less is better, then none is best.

On top of that, the prohibition on saturated fats emphasizes eating less meat, whereby none is best. Prohibition on sodium intake also adds to the deficiency, whereby no salt is best. Prohibition on sugar intake is the only one that makes any sense from all points of view (except from the producers', of course, but who cares about them), also whereby none is best.

I was just about to say that I'm done with that stupidity, but the good guy in me wants to make some good points anyways.

When it comes to essentials, there's only one way to look at it. To illustrate, let's use the risks stuff we say about too much salt for example.

The logic of too much sodium is bad

If too much is worst
Then less is better
If less is better
Then none is best

The logic of salt is essential

None is worst
Some is better than none
Enough is better than some
More than enough - i.e. too much - is best

When we say too much sodium is dangerous for any reason, it gets translated in practice into "none is best". This is true for anything we say "too much is dangerous", like meat, saturated fats, fat, protein, salt, sugar, processed foods, vitamin A (especially from animals like in liver and such), etc. The reverse is "eat at least, a minimum of", which gets translated into "too much is best", for things like carbs and fiber, where nobody ever says something like "too much fiber is bad for you". We end up with meals packed with carbs, a tiny pat of butter if we're lucky, a token piece of overcooked extremely lean meat, lots and lots of bread, all given to kids and patients and whoever else is cared for by the state in public institutions.

Now with these new guidelines, there ain't no meat and no butter and no salt and it's all good. As a good guy, I'd like things to go right, but as a hardcore cynic I think it's gonna take a few kids and patients to get sick and die just so the morons who wrote those guidelines learn a lesson, and I think that's what we'll get.

Autopsy - Kid/patient/whoever died of multiple severe deficiencies
Parents/hospital staff/caretakers/whoever - I don't understand, I followed the official guidelines as best I could
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  #6   ^
Old Wed, Jan-23-19, 09:08
GRB5111's Avatar
GRB5111 GRB5111 is offline
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Plan: Ketogenic (LCHFKD)
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Well stated, Martin
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  #7   ^
Old Wed, Jan-23-19, 09:42
WereBear's Avatar
WereBear WereBear is offline
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Plan: Epi-Paleo/IF
Stats: 220/136/150 Female 67
Progress: 120%
Location: USA

I agree with Martin. If I ate like that... I would be better than the SAD, but still: fat and sick and miserable.

The message in that change is clear: Eat more plants, and less meat and dairy.

Last edited by WereBear : Wed, Jan-23-19 at 10:40.
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  #8   ^
Old Wed, Jan-23-19, 11:11
Meme#1's Avatar
Meme#1 Meme#1 is offline
Posts: 10,640
Plan: Atkins DANDR
Stats: 210/188/160 Female 5'4"
Progress: 44%
Location: Texas

My main thought is "where's the beef"
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  #9   ^
Old Wed, Jan-23-19, 11:31
Dodger's Avatar
Dodger Dodger is online now
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Stats: 225/170/175 Male 71.5 inches
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Location: Longmont, Colorado

I agree with the drinking water and the eating of some vegetables, but the rest seems to based on vegetarian wishes. It even borders on veganism.
I wonder how much of the science is just meaningless epidemiology studies.
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  #10   ^
Old Wed, Jan-23-19, 11:32
M Levac M Levac is offline
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Posts: 6,485
Plan: VLC, mostly meat
Stats: 202/200/165 Male 5' 7"
Progress: 5%
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

OK, so new guidelines give the green light to a vegan diet in all public institutions. Well, it's gonna have an effect everywhere else. Meat producers will lose a major market share there, then they'll dump all that unsold meat in grocery stores, prices will drop. Good for me, I want cheap meat.

Here's the weird thing. For people who disagree with those new guidelines, they'll take their kids, themselves and their loved ones out of those public institutions, the schools, the hospitals and the elderly care. So, home schooling, home recover post-surgery, home care for their parents. The weird thing is that this group of people who disagree with the guidelines is growing. Now that the guidelines are even more polarized and more exclusive (in spite of being less prescriptive), this group is gonna grow even more. We'll just end up forming a single front against the vegans. Even the vegetarians are gonna get on our side cuz they eat some meat, but they call it fish or eggs.

A while ago I proposed that we all got together informally just by linking to other diet forums regardless of diet type. Well, those guidelines will proverbially force everybody's hand. I mean, do you see that crap? The vegans just took over. We gotta get together now and start talking. I mean, how far do you think they gonna try to take it? Yeah, legislation. Can't let that happen. We gotta talk.
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  #11   ^
Old Wed, Jan-23-19, 11:42
CityGirl8 CityGirl8 is offline
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Plan: Protein Power, IF
Stats: 238/204/145 Female 5'8"
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The upside of that plate is that the "fruits and veggies" side is mostly veggies. There's a bit of an apple and some berries, but fruits don't have their own sections, as if they're some how vital, and it's not full of oranges and bananas. Also, the cereals and grains section isn't full of pictures of boxes--remember how those used to be a regular feature of these recommendations? Everything on that plate is real food. And there's no sugar, cookies, granola bars, etc.

Of course, it would look a lot better with all the extra grains and legumes moved to the grain section and the tofu moved in with the veggies, so you could see the real protein. That's very misleading. But I can't really imagine Health Canada getting away with telling people that right now. The vegetarian lobby is just too loud.

Overall, if you were already a generally healthy person in a healthy weight range and you followed the eating pattern recommended with the veggies and grains section, plus some good protein, you'd probably do okay. It's a fairly low-sugar plan and it might keep most people out of weight and health trouble. It won't fix existing health or weight problems, but it's not designed to do that.

It's the upper right quadrant I find the most worrying.

I'd love it if they had two plates--a regular one and one for vegetarians. The one for vegetarians could have all the beans and tofu moved to the other sections, and then just dairy in the quadrant--or nothing in that quadrant if you wanted it to be vegan. That would be more honest and realistic.
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  #12   ^
Old Wed, Jan-23-19, 13:23
Meme#1's Avatar
Meme#1 Meme#1 is offline
Posts: 10,640
Plan: Atkins DANDR
Stats: 210/188/160 Female 5'4"
Progress: 44%
Location: Texas

The first thing I would eat would be to try and find the little bits of meat and egg on the top right side then pick out a couple of nuts and leave the legumes mixed in which turns into sugar.

Then I would go to the left side and eat the bits of broccoli, the one or two leaves of spinach, maybe a sliver of tomato. None of the peas, potato, carrots or fruit which turns into sugar.

The bottom right side is pure high carbs and all turns into sugar in the body so none of that.

Last edited by Meme#1 : Wed, Jan-23-19 at 13:29.
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  #13   ^
Old Wed, Jan-23-19, 14:41
violetgrey violetgrey is offline
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Posts: 25
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 188/179/130 Female 5'8"

I wonder what they've been reading. They are still pushing grains and they are saying we eat too much meat. It's a horrible food guide. Not that the previous one was any good.
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  #14   ^
Old Wed, Jan-23-19, 22:13
M Levac M Levac is offline
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Posts: 6,485
Plan: VLC, mostly meat
Stats: 202/200/165 Male 5' 7"
Progress: 5%
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

I can't believe I found this paper on the relationship between dietary fiber and plasma levels of testosterone and estradiol.

Spoiler: The more fiber, the lower those hormones. See the last sentence in the abstract:
Implications include the possible modification of prostate cancer risk through dietary intervention.

Lemme give you a very different implication, from the comfort of my chair right here. Men become less manly. Women become less womanly. Now start this process at a young age and continue throughout one's lifetime.

So, how much fiber is that fancy new food guide telling us to eat again? Paper published 1985. I've never heard anything of the sort from anybody anywhere ever. Ever. It's news to me and I'm pretty sure it's news to everybody else on this forum.
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  #15   ^
Old Thu, Jan-24-19, 06:03
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Calianna Calianna is offline
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Plan: Atkins-ish (hypoglycemia)
Stats: 000/000/000 Female 63
Progress: 50%

I see the photo as a step better than the US My Plate. The accompanying description doesn't offer much hope for real improvement though, with the way it pushes for only lean meat (if you must eat meat at all), and less dairy, low fat or fat free everything.

I was surprised to see the three little chunks of beef on there. I was also thinking that the two little yellowish squares were cheese, and although I assumed the tiny bowl of white was yogurt, I was hoping it was sour cream. I was glad to see so many nuts and sunflower seeds (at least they're approving a bit of dietary fat - those appear to be the only fat sources on that entire plate), was kind of surprised that there were 5 animal proteins shown (6, if you count what I thought was cheese), and that there weren't a whole lot more beans shown, when clearly the accompanying description is pushing for a more beany diet.

If you look at the whole grains quadrant, I see a tiny serving of pasta (compare that to the mountain of pasta you'd be served at Olive Garden), a tiny serving of rice (compared to the mountain of rice you'd be served at a Chinese restaurant), and less than half of a slice of bread (compared to the 10-12 full slices of bread recommended daily by the old food pyramid). I'm not really sure what the two dark brown portions are, since to me they don't really look like grains. Does anyone know what they are - chia? flax? If that's what they are, I wouldn't consider those to be grains. Seeds, yes, but not grains as such, and it's probably only because I'm old, but I find it difficult to think of either of those as food for humans, except in times of famine fueled desperation. But then I also don't think of grains as something to eat when real food is plentiful - I think of them as something that was originally meant to be a supplemental food, rationed during times when it wasn't possible to get enough of anything else to eat, such as during the long winter months when all fresh vegetation had been ruined by freezing weather, the chickens weren't laying many eggs because of the short winter days, the cow's milk dried up before calving, and when the hunting didn't go well.

The fruits and vegetables half - as someone else pointed out, at least it's not all bananas and oranges. I'm kind of surprised that I don't see mounds of lettuce there. Of the items shown, I eat strawberries and occasionally a few blueberries, plus not only the broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, and cabbage, I'd also eat a very small amount of the carrot (not all those things at one sitting of course). I'm not sure what the yellow and green strips are, since they look too light colored to be peppers, but if they're zucchini and yellow squash, I would eat those too.

The best thing I'm seeing in the accompanying description is the push for water as the preferred beverage, rather than leaving juice on an equal footing with fresh fruit. Someone with a metabolism that hasn't been jacked up by the previous recommendations might be able to get away with eating an apple or orange (which can take several minutes to eat), but it takes several pieces of fruit to make a typical glass of juice, which can be consumed in a few swallows, while actually still leaving you thirsty, since it takes more fluid intake to process all that excess sugar.

One can hope that when people see the new plate, they'll be more inspired by what they see there, rather than what the article describes, because to me it looks a good bit different from how it's described.
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