- The emphasis on our relationship with food.
- The change in the food groupings.
- The emphasis on plant-based foods.
- The message that there is no one “right” way to eat.
Dietitians also appreciate the process by which the food guide was revised.
“I like that industry-funded research did not inform the development of the guide,” said Judy April, clinical dietitian from Dawson Creek. “This goes a long way to increase the trust the public has in the recommendations.”
Let’s take a closer look at the process of updating the food guide.
Establishing the need
Prior to the current version, the guide was last updated in 2007. The science around healthy eating is ever-changing; new information is always becoming available. It’s important that Canadians have up-to-date guidelines that they can trust. For example, the old food groups were no longer supported by science as strongly as the new groupings are.
Updating Canada’s food guide
Updating the food guide was no small feat! The process was long and involved a combination of research, and public and professional consultation. The goal of Canada’s food guide is to support Canadians to live healthy lives, and to create environments that support health. Therefore, the process to update the guide was detailed, unbiased, inclusive, and thorough.
How did scientific evidence inform the update?
The first step was to look at the evidence on healthy eating. Many sources of information, and only the best, most up-to-date evidence, was used to update the guide.
Did Canadians have a say in updating the guide?
It was important for Health Canada to hear from Canadians. Their consultation process included using online discussion forums and focus groups to reach the public, health professionals, Indigenous organizations, and health charities.
What input did food industry have on the guide?
In order for Canadians to be confident in the new guide, Health Canada committed to putting the health of Canadians first. In other words, it was important that those who hold a financial interest in the healthy eating guidelines did not significantly influence the guide. Yoni Freedhoff, a physician and Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Ottawa has said: “I can’t think of anyone with greater conflicts of interest in the creation of a food guide than the folks who sell and promote the food.” (Originally quoted in this CBC article.)
As such, the food industry did not inform the updates to the food guide.
More is needed to support healthy eating
The goal of the food guide is to support the health of Canadians over the age of two years. Importantly, the food guide is only one part of creating an environment that supports healthy eating. Additional initiatives to support Canadians in healthy eating include: a food policy for Canada, healthy eating strategy, and a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy.
Learn more about the food guide
- Wondering where dairy went? Check out dietitian Lise’s blog for the answer!
Want to learn more about processed foods? Dietitian Flo is here to help!