Updated Canada Food Guide turns away from dairy

Jan 24, 2019 | Life

Dairy is no longer one of the four major food groups according to the updated Canada Food Guide. (Danielle Blumentrath)

Danielle Blumentrath

Canada’s new food guide has a new fan, the holistic nutritionist. At least up to a point.

Katie Venturi, a Holistic Nutritionist student studying at The Institute of Holistic Nutrition, said removing dairy from the guide is a step in the right direction.

She is happy with the guide’s new image that divides a plate because “it is putting a lot more emphasis on vegetables and plant-based proteins which should have been changed a lot sooner but, is a step in the right direction.”

Venturi said she didn’t like the previous guide, in particular dairy.

Health Canada released the updated food guide Jan. 22. The food guide, which hasn’t been updated since 2007, minimized the role of dairy in the Canadian diet.

The guide states drinking a glass of milk every night at dinner may no longer be the best option. Instead, Canada Food Guide states a glass of water is better.

The new guide urges people to eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and protein foods, both plant-based and meat.

The guide no longer provides the recommended number of food group servings per day, but instead, encourages people to consume higher quantities of certain food and less of others.

The guide focuses on making healthy eating a habit. Eating vegetables and fruits, whole grains and protein foods often will develop a healthy eating pattern and maintain one’s health.

The guide urges people to fill a quarter of the plate with whole grains like rice, pasta, or quinoa. The other quarter should be loaded with protein, preferably plant-based, such as lentils or beans. The last half of the plate is reserved for vegetables and fruits.

The changes to the iconic rainbow food guide promote the higher plant-based diet to increase fibre intake and lower the consumption of processed meats. That could reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, colon cancer, and type two diabetes.

For many, dairy can cause skin issues, weight gain, and digestive problems and dairy has not been included in their diet for some time. The new Canada Food Guide recognized the 367 million Canadians and how many different diets that people follow.

However, for dairy lovers who have used the 2007 food guide a significant source of a healthy, balanced diet are confused as to whether or not they should consume dairy.

But dairy is still part of a diet, although with a diminished role in the guide, said Toronto dietitian Tracy Jane Toledo, who also approves of the updated food guide.

“The removal of dairy is not completely gone,” Toledo said. “Dairy is an excellent source of protein, Vitamin D and Calcium, and it is an easy way you get your nurturance that the food guide highlights.” 

Toledo said moderate amounts have been shown to provide essential proteins and nutritious recommended by the guide.

The food guide is a reference point for Canadians to understand what to eat on a regular basis to maintain health. Choosing foods that have little to no added sodium, sugars or saturated fats would be beneficial.