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Canada's New Dietary Guidelines Push for Plant Foods

The country's nutritional recommendations ask citizens to consume less meat and dairy and more plant-derived protein.

The Canadian government issued a new set of proposed dietary guidelines last week for the country’s citizens. The drafted guidelines now suggest a “regular intake of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and protein-rich foods, especially plant-based sources of protein,” while urging citizens to consume less meat and saturated fat derived from animal products. While meat and dairy are not absent from the guidelines, plant sources of nutrition are recommended more prevalently than the country’s guidelines in past years. The draft guidelines also go beyond health recommendations, touting plant-based foods as more eco-friendly. “Diets higher in plant-based foods and lower in animal-based foods are associated with a lesser environmental impact,” the guidelines state. In contrast, the most recent dietary guidelines issued in the United States in 2015 do not acknowledge the benefits of consuming a plant-based diet, despite a growing number of scientific studies that point to a diet devoid of animal products as optimal for promoting health. In addition, the 2015 guidelines removed the upper limit recommendation for cholesterol intake, a modification that medical organization Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine believes was influenced by the egg industry.

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