This week, the Government of Canada released a dramatically overhauled 2019 version of the Canada Food Guide which completely removes dairy and meat protein food groups and instead emphasizes a plant-based diet. The dinner-plate graphic that replaces the previous rainbow of four food groups now features a plate half-full of brightly colored vegetables, with the other half emphasizing equal portions of proteins—particularly plant-based proteins such as walnuts, tofu, and beans—and whole grains such as quinoa and brown rice. “Among protein foods, consume plant-based more often,” the new guide outlines. “The regular intake of plant-based foods—vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and plant-based proteins—can have positive effects on health,” it states, linking plant-based diets to lower risks of cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes. The recommendation to eat a specific number of serving sizes across each food group has also been removed, as has information about what makes up a serving size. Instead, the guide’s interactive, mobile-friendly website provides a less prescriptive approach to eating but encourages Canadians to make water their “beverage of choice” and limit foods high in sodium, sugar, and saturated fat. The guide also includes instruction on behaviors associated with healthy eating patterns, suggesting to “be mindful of your eating habits,” “cook more often,” and “eat with others.” Last year, the Government of Canada announced an initiative to develop its plant-protein agricultural sector with an investment of approximately $150 million through its $950 million Supercluster Initiative.
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