In a brand new food guide soon to be released by Health Canada, one of the original four food groups is being scrapped almost entirely. The document has yet to be made public, but early versions of Canada's national nutrition guide indicate that dairy is cut out almost entirely. Previously, the food guide recommended Canadians take in four full servings of dairy products, including milk and cheese, every single day. Now though, draft versions which were shown at focus groups have that number drastically reduced.
In fact, in the new food guide, there is only one small quantity of dairy represented and recommended for daily intake, one pint of milk. This removes cheese, yogurt, and other delicious products completely.
To replace it, the draft guide has an increased focus on alternative proteins like legumes and unsalted nuts as a healthy alternative to cheese. As for beverages, messaging from the new guide encourages water instead of milk.
The lack of dairy is the biggest change here, but it's not the only one. Also gone is the rainbow format of the guide that we have all grown up with. Instead, the guide simply identifies 28 different foods that should or could be eaten every day as part of a well-balanced diet. It doesn't even mention how much of each should be consumed.
The change isn't entirely surprising, however. Cutting out dairy has been a popular move for people looking to improve their health and well-being and even cut down on weight.
Even for people who aren't lactose intolerant, dairy can have negative effects on digestion, increase congestion, cause fatigue, and even lead to acne. Experts have recommended cutting dairy entirely to remedy all these problems in more.
It seems with this new draft of the food guide, Health Canada could inadvertently be making those same recommendations as well. Since the guide hasn't been released yet, there's no way to know for sure though and Health Canada is adamant that this isn't the final version.
They insisted recently that "the drafts presented in the focus groups do not represent the final versions of the guiding principles, tools or resources." None the less, the almost complete lack of dairy represented in the guide and the associated messaging could indicate a new milk-less horizon for Canadian nutrition.