This was a big week in the world of nutrition news for Canada! The new Canada Food Guide was unveiled after much anticipation! It has been a topic of conversation around here and I thought I would briefly touch on my thoughts regarding the changes.

Overall, I am quite pleased with the direction of the food guide – more produce, water as the drink of choice & connecting with others while eating. Those all get two thumbs up from me. Involving your children in the kitchen, creating a family budget and thinking about how to foster healthy choices at home, school and work are all excellent things for us to be thinking about. In fact, many of the recommendations that were made are things that I’ve been telling my clients for quite some time already. To have an official document to back that up does feel pretty great.

A few drawbacks? The recommendation of low fat dairy, the use of margarine instead of a whole food option such as butter or coconut oil as well as white & highly refined flour in the suggested recipes is a little tough to swallow. I also didn’t see anything about being sure to include healthy fats such as those found in salmon, olive oil or raw nuts & seeds. There has been much research & discussion in the world of nutrition about the importance of healthy fats to our hormone regulation, nervous system and overall brain health and yet I still have a sense of a little fat phobia in the document.

In the arena of dairy, I do think we are wise to enjoy in moderation overall, however consuming low-fat dairy decreases our ability to absorb vitamins A, D, E, & K. Vitamins D & K support the absorption of calcium. This means that when we only choose low fat dairy, we are affecting how well our body can utilize calcium.

“Several meta-analyses point to the resounding conclusion that, although dairy products contain a high SFA content, their consumption induces a positive or neutral effect on human cardiovascular health [16,17,269]. In addition, consumption of full-fat dairy products contributes to higher intakes of significant nutrients, in particular vitamin D and vitamin K. Considering current scientific evidence, after years of controversy the negative image of milk fat is weakening. Therefore, consumers can continue to moderately consume full-fat dairy products as part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle, however fermented dairy products would be preferential for optimum nutrient intake and potential cardiovascular health benefits. The authors suggest that less emphasis is needed on the impact of milk and dairy product consumption on serum cholesterol levels but more emphasis should be placed on inflammatory biomarkers to elucidate the cardioprotective mechanisms of dairy products. “

source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5867544/

I absolutely recognize that the Government of Canada did not have an easy job.  They are attempting to appeal to the masses, which we all know is a tough thing to do. I do imagine the recommendations to change overtime and suspect that we won’t find ourselves in the future using such an outdated document like we have been the past several years. I hope to see this food guide as a living document with the ability to change with current best practices.

This is part of what makes my work so specialized. When working with clients, I don’t have a prescribed list of do’s and don’t’s for every condition, lifestyle and age group. Rather, I get to know you, I ask lots of questions and together, we figure out what is the right diet for you. It takes careful thought & research on my part, a sense of ownership on your part and it evolves over time. This is the beauty of holistic and personalized care. If you are interested in learning more about the services I offer, I invite you to connect. Simply send me an email at amy@designedforyounutrition.com or 519-503-7926.