Can you really eat well with Canada's food guide?

Updated: Dec 29, 2020

So, the Canadian government recently updated their "Candida" Food guide. The previous version had a huge focus on grain products, milk and alternatives and meat and alternatives. In my "business", we called it the Candida food guide, because the focus on grains was just asking for this opportunistic overgrowth of pathogenic yeast (same thing that causes thrush in babies). The previous recommendations had an adult male eating 8 servings of grain products a day. To put that into perspective, that's 8 slices of bread (in Canada, there is generally 20-24 slices in a loaf). That much grain is no good for anyone except the industry that produces it. They also had a focus on dairy and alternatives, in the assumption for the calcium - however, the recommendations for this category fall very short on the absorbability for calcium.

The new guide

They have done some pretty significant updates to the guide, and have gone for a plate composition (from what I find, the US still goes by a pyramid, with he huge focus on grain products). The focus on the plate is now vegetables (where it should be)! Eat "protein foods", "make water your drink of choice", and "choose whole grain foods" in a 50/25/25 split. This is a great leap forward from previous guides, but don't forget, is a generalization. They've also added healthy eating recommendations, which are great suggestions for the general public.

So why does this matter?

What people don't realize, is that these published guidelines are also the baseline that public institutions have to abide by. We're talking schools, workplaces, community centres, institutions, health facilities. The food guide isn't here to tell you how to eat in your own home (although I'm sure many can take some good points, especially about the recommendations), but it dictates the policies around food when it comes to places like schools, day care centres and hospitals. They have a requirement to follow the current Canada's food guide, and this focus on fruits and veggies and less on those grains (whole or not).

So, what are the concerns?

It is expensive in Canada to veggie load your plate (I currently spend about $150 a week on produce for my family of four). Grain is a cheap filler. Will this trickle down into health care costs which are already high, as well as day care facility fees? There was comment on how meat producers were up in arms over the food guide because the focus on other forms of protein - but it isn't a clear distinction on the plate graphic other than they show some legumes in there!

Another thing they've seemed to skip on is the importance of high quality fats in the diet. Fat is a vital importance in a healthy diet; but the only mention of fats is to avoid saturated.

What to do

Take it for what it is - a guide, and a way to enforce policy in public institutions. In your home, you need to find out what works best for your family - focusing on whole foods over processed. But this guide may help you take some better steps for your family towards lifelong health and disease prevention.

#WholeFoods #CanadasFoodGuide #VeggieHeavy #PlateComposition #WheresTheFat #GivePeasAChance

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