A Look at the 2019 Canada Food Guide

Canada’s food guide

The 2019 Canada Food Guide is the most health evidence based Guide to date, with a comprehensive and inclusive approach to food selection. The diversity of food options, including offerings for vegetarian and vegan diets, with decreased emphasis on meat, eggs and dairy products, provides more information for Canadians towards making healthy food choices.

The Toronto Star, July 21, 2019 editorial made a plea for not politicizing or pandering to food lobby efforts to change the current Guide and ignoring the science linking diet to many preventable diseases.

On September 25, 2019 the Toronto Star article “Saturated fat is bad for your heart. Or is it?” challenged the recommendations of the Guide, pointing to the often contradictory information linking dietary fats with cardiovascular disease. Do reductions in butter, cheese and red meat reduce disease risk and promote good health? An abundance of information shows that those who consume the highest levels of fresh fruits and vegetables reduce their risk for a wide number of diseases, including cardiovascular, as well as reducing death from a variety of causes. Using only cholesterol levels as the biomarker for cardiovascular health is misguided, as other measures such as those for inflammation and blood coagulation provide better insight for vascular health as well as for measurement of risk for other diseases.

A whole food, high fibre, plant-focused diet is known to provide benefits for:

  • Blood sugar regulation
  • Weight management
  • Gut health, including motility and support of the gut microflora
  • Cancer risk
  • Cognitive disorders
  • as well as moderating cholesterol levels and altering cardiovascular risk

No whole food is essentially a ‘bad’ food. Portion levels and a broad selection of food from all categories may be key determinants in what distinguishes a healthy diet from one that is not. Most authorities agree that the Mediterranean Diet is a good dietary template in modifying risk for a number of diseases including cancer, diabetes, obesity, as well as cardiovascular risk.

Additionally, consideration should be given to climate and environmental impacts related to food production. Planetary health is the foundation for everyone’s health. High carbon footprint foods such as meats, cheese and eggs should have lesser focus in most diets, with greater importance given to healthy foods that can be more affordably produced and available to everyone.

Good food supports good health. Karma stocks a wide variety of fresh, local, healthy foods on our shelves! Diet diversity and whole, unprocessed foods are the foundations for healthy eating. The new Canada Food Guide is setting the right direction for promoting health.