After five years of preparation, Canada's new 2019 Food Guide has officially been announced. Health Minister Ginette Petitpas-Taylor unveiled the brand new guide at an event in Montreal this morning and it looks nothing like what we are used to.
In her announcement, Minister Petitpas-Taylor also said that our lives are busier than ever and our food habits have been suffering because we are often forced to choose quick food instead of the best food. Because of this, she says Canadians deserve a simple and helpful source of advice when it comes to picking good food. That's where the new food guide comes in.
The government is convinced that this new guide will be much easier to understand. Gone is the rainbow of categories and food groups we have all grown up with. Instead, replacing those four groups is a visual image of a plate with suggested foods that Canadians should be eating every day.
The majority of those foods are fruits and vegetables, as well as plant-based protein. In fact, half of the plate is made up of fruits and vegetables, with one-quarter of it being made up by whole grains, and the other quarter is proteins, all though in the image this has very little meat.
The new food guide also focuses less on serving sizes and more on how to eat. They even go as far as to feature healthy recipes based on this guide on their website and have an online version of the guide that will be continually updated with the latest information from scientists and dietitians.
One of the most anticipated and highly controversial changes to the guide was the near-elimination of milk products. In a draft version of the guide that was released, there were almost no dairy products listed and now that the official version is out, this has been confirmed.
On the plate that represents the new food guide, there are almost no cheese or dairy products displayed at all, except for a small dish of yogurt in the protein section. The guide further recommends only low-fat dairy items like unsweetened, lower-fat milk and yogurt, and low-sodium cheese. Even alongside the plate, the government is recommending that Canadians drink water instead of milk or sugary beverages.
The guide also gives tips on how to eat, rather than just about what you should eat. They recommend cooking more instead of going out, eating with others, and to be aware of food marketing.
Both of these tips and the image of the plate are including on the new educational posters that will replace the rainbow food guide in hospitals and schools.
The food guide has been under review since 2013 when Health Canada began looking at the science behind what we should be eating to determine what would eventually go on the guide.
The past two years of the food guide process have been made up of consultations and reviews of the new guide with Canadians.