Canada’s 2019 Food Guide


New food guide to advise less meat, less dairy, and more company

Canada’s new food guide is expected to be released in the spring of 2019. It is anticipated that it will differ greatly from the previous “food rainbow” that has hung on the walls of classrooms and dietetic offices for decades.

The first Canadian Food Guide was published in 1942. At the time it was used to promote and support agriculture and the rural economy. Since then, there have been very little changes to the food guide. Our previous food guide was a simple demonstration of what most of the population knows to be four food groups: fruits and vegetables, grains, milk and alternatives, and meat and alternatives. The four classifications were seen on a rainbow design featuring a number of food examples.

This year’s food guide has a proposed illustration of lots of whole-grain foods, plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as protein foods. Notable changes will be the lack of acknowledgement for dairy, as well as referring to the previous meat and alternatives group as “proteins.” The new illustration is also said to be missing fruit juice as an example, as it is no longer seen by dieticians as a healthy necessity to children or adults.

Protein foods will include tofu, beans, fish, nuts, and peanut butter, with meat and milk also featured as two of the 28 examples. This is very telling to how much change we’ve seen in how the world and Canadians view dairy and meat products. When the food guide was created more than half a century ago, food security was problematic, and our milk and meat products were often produced by local businesses. Unfortunately, this is no longer the reality for Canadian consumers. With a number of societal, environmental, and industrial changes, the new food guide will be following suit.

According to recent research published by The Guardian, humans and livestock make up 96% of all mammals. Milk and dairy consumes a vast majority of farmland and contributes to extreme climate change and pollution, yet it only accounts for 18% of all food calories and only one third of protein. To put it simply, the dairy and meat industry is causing more harm than good.

Deforestation for farm space, methane emissions, and fertilizer use causes the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as planes, trains and automobiles combined. There is a suggested shift that scientists advice is needed to adjust our future to a sustainable one. Researchers say the average citizen needs to eat 75% less beef, 90% less pork and half the number of eggs, while tripling consumption of beans and pulses and quadrupling nuts and seeds.

The Guardian refers to 2019 as a “key year in the overhaul of a broken food system.”

Interestingly enough, another significant change expected in the food guide is not necessarily the what? Rather, the question is how? 

There is expected to be thorough advice on the habits Canadians should be exhibiting in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes cooking more, enjoying your meals, eating with others, and drinking more water all the time.

This new food guide is expected to stray from its original purpose of sponsoring the agricultural economy, and will be geared towards promoting a better quality of life for Canadians. There will be less emphasis on servings and specific types of food, and more focus on nutrients, how much we need, and our habits.