Major Changes Coming to Canada's Food Guide

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Canada's Food Guide hasn't changed in over a decade, and now, it's getting a total revamp that could change what we see in grocery stores, in school lunches, and on our kitchen tables!

This year, the food guide is undergoing public consultation, with an entirely new food guide scheduled for 2018.

The first phase of public consultation last fall received a whopping 20,000 responses to support a healthier food guide, and to ultimately change the future of food in Canada.

As a result, the new food guide seems to be leaning away from meat and dairy products, proposing to remove the "milk and alternatives" and "meat and alternatives" groups and combining them into one.

Studies showed that there's an association between increased intakes of red meat - that's beef, pork, lamb, and goat - and an increased risk of colorectal cancer.

Further, there's also an association between increased intakes of processed meat (meats processed by smoking, curing or salting, or addition of chemical preservatives) and increased risk of colorectal cancer.

So, we might see a focus on more soy-based proteins like beans, lentils, nuts, and tofu.

While the current groupings (Vegetables and Fruit, Grain Products, Milk and Alternatives, and Meat and Alternatives) have proven useful and simple, the proposed changes aim to group together proteins, and to apply to all dietary needs, vegan or vegetarian lifestyles included.

The new guide also supports less sugar, as sugar has been linked to obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and dental caries in children.

The current draft includes an emphasis on drinking water instead of having drinks high in sugar like fruit juice, chocolate milk, and, of course, pop.

Most of the recommendations on sugars and processed foods showed that there's a desire for more information about the level of processing of foods, health risks and safety concerns, and the content and nutritional value of processed foods.

That means changes to food labels and nutrition facts - people want to be more aware of sugars, for instance, have messages about how to reduce consumption of sugars, and restrict the marketing of foods high in sugar to children.

Overall, the proposed food guide revamp highlights nutritional awareness and plant-based foods. Results for the second round of consultations are scheduled to be released later this year.

You can provide your input on the new food guide here.

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