The traditional four food groups that we’ve known for decades have been eliminated with the release of a new and improved version of Canada’s Food Guide.
Health Canada has done away with the rainbow design displaying the four food groups and their recommended serving sizes. Rather than recommending specific serving sizes of foods categorized into the four food groups, the main focus is on what, when and how we eat. Since many Canadians found the old portion size guide confusing, Canada’s Food Guide now lends concise, easily applicable advice regarding how much of what you should be eating.
The biggest change? Less meat and dairy, more plants and water. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are all still listed as important parts of a healthy diet, but there has been a recommendation to cut down on traditional sources of protein, such as meat and dairy. With the four food groups abolished, the former “Meat and Alternative” food group has been replaced with a grouping of protein foods, removing the emphasis on meat in hopes of encouraging more people to consume plant-based proteins.
Fruit juices are no longer being recommended due to their sugar content. Instead, it is recommended that water becomes your beverage of choice. Also listed as other options are tea, coffee, lower-fat milk and plant-based beverages, however these are less preferred and should be consumed in moderation.
Not only does Canada’s Food Guide now provide much more information, it also presents Canadians with thought provoking questions and statements that can aid in the recognition of one’s poor eating habits. Consumers are encouraged to be mindful of how, why, what, when, where and how much they eat. Also being encouraged is awareness of food marketing and how it can affect your choices. Canada’s Food Guide suggests sticking to your grocery list and not impulsively buying foods.
Rather than waiting over a decade to make its next changes, the government has said the guide will evolve gradually as new nutritional evidence comes to their attention.