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Canada’s New Food Guide is Going (Mostly) Vegetarian

For most of us, the Canadian Food Guide is as much a relic of childhood as the MuchMusic Video Dance, or asking a/s/l? when meeting someone online.

So, why are you hearing about it today? For the first time in more than a decade, the Food Guide is getting an update.

Health Canada will release the new edition in the coming months, but a report highlighting details of a draft version reveals what we can expect. The biggest change will see the four food groups – dairy, meat, fruits and vegetables, grains – amalgamate into three: vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and protein foods.

Meat and dairy will be masked by the “protein” label. That means pork chops, chicken, fish and the like will be showcased alongside graphics of tofu, chickpeas, and peanut butter. The point is not necessarily to discourage the consumption of meat, but to emphasize a more veggie-intensive diet.

The majority of Canadians don’t eat enough vegetables, fruits and whole grains,” said Health Canada. “What is needed is a shift toward a high proportion of plant-based foods, without necessarily excluding animal foods altogether.”

You can imagine this new direction does not sit well with professionals from the soon-to-be-axed categories.

“Not only will this harm the dairy sector and the hundreds of thousands who depend upon it for their livelihoods, it also risks harming Canadian consumers by creating confusion about the nutritional value of dairy,” said Dairy Farmers of Canada Pierre Lampron.

Why does this matter when everyone’s true food guide these days is Instagram? The Food Guide is still used by doctors, nutritionists, and public institutions when creating meal plans, which means most Canadians will be impacted by its recommendations at one point or another.

Christian Nathler

Christian Nathler is a contributing writer at Notable Life.