The Guiding Principles within Health Canada’s plan to revamp the Food Guide is full of flaws. Let’s look at a few:
Cutting Out The Wrong Food
The Evidence Review for Dietary Guidance Technical Report reported a significant number of Canadians consumed less than the recommended number of daily servings from the meat and alternatives food group:
• 48% of women 31-50 years of age
• 69% of females older than 70 years of age
• 56% of teenage boys.
Protein, a core nutrient of the meat and alternatives group, is essential throughout all life stages ensuring healthy growth during growth spirts and maintaining muscle mass during adulthood and our senior years. Making it harder to get that protein, by alienating some sources of it, is a flawed method to improve health.
The Wrong Data
Health Canada espouses a commitment to the best evidence approach; however, the Evidence Review for Dietary Guidance Technical Report used 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) data; not the more recent 2015 iteration. Why did Health Canada do this assessment using 2004 data when the next iteration was in field? Why not wait a year and develop guiding principles using a more current Canadian context of consumption patterns and eating behaviours?
The Extra Calories Aren’t Coming From Meat
Health Canada clearly wants to address the issue of overweight & obese Canadians. But their search at the meat counter and dairy cooler is the wrong place. An analysis of the 2015 CCHS data found half (48%) of Canadians’ daily calories are from ultra-processed foods; only 7% of the daily calories are from fresh red meat. Go after the real culprit!