When Canada released its very first food guide back in 1942, it advocated for Canadians to consume at least 4-6 slices of bread, a pint of milk, and a serving of potatoes a day—among several other recommendations. Fruits and vegetables were two distinct food groups, as were eggs and milk. The guide also encouraged Canadians to eat as much as they wanted, stating that they could “add these and other foods as you wish.”
At the time, Canada’s Official Food Rules—as they were called—were an important achievement in public health. The guide was meant to help tackle malnutrition among low income Canadians, especially during World War II rationing. Since then eating habits have changed dramatically, as well as our understanding of nutrition. As new research has come to light, Canada’s food guide has been updated several times, with the latest version launching not too long ago.
Here is a closer look at the changes included, as well as a look into why nutritionists find them so beneficial.
A Guide that Is Easier for Canadians to Follow
One important change that the newest food guide brings is an easy-to-use and intuitive approach. It breaks away from previous food guides which focused on servings. Instead it emphasizes proportions, illustrating how much of any meal should include fruits and vegetables, protein, and whole grains. According to the new guide, half of any meal should consist of fruits and vegetables, a quarter should consist of protein foods, and the remaining quarter should include whole grains.
As professionals with a diploma in nutrition know, this approach can be very helpful to people looking to change their eating habits. The average person doesn’t have the same in-depth understanding that a nutritionist has, and so can often be intimidated by complex recommendations. By making information more accessible, the latest food guide can feel less intimidating and easier for Canadians to incorporate into their routines.
Encouraging the Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables
Nutritionists know that fruits and vegetables contain many important vitamins and minerals, and are essential to a healthy diet. Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits are packed full of vitamin C. Sweet potatoes and carrots have plenty of vitamin A. Leafy greens are an excellent source of vitamin K— and the list goes on.
Nutritionists know that fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet. For this reason, it’s encouraging to see the newest food guide place such a heavy emphasis on their consumption. By recommending that Canadians fill half of their plate with fruits and vegetables, the newest food guide will help to promote healthier eating habits.
Pros with a Diploma in Nutrition Know it’s Good for Water to Be the Drink of Choice
Previous iterations of the food guide were comfortable recommending fruit juices and even chocolate milk. However, nutritionists know that sweetened beverages provide plenty of empty calories, and can contribute to weight gain. This is because beverages tend to leave us feeling less full, while still packing in many calories. As a result, it’s much easier to overconsume and gain weight over time.
In addition, even freshly squeezed fruit juices have very low nutritional value and are filled with sugar. This is why graduates of a nutrition diploma program recommend avoiding fruit juices and other sugary beverages. It’s also why they’re please to see that the latest food guide makes water its drink of choice.
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