December 10, 2019

Winnipeg
-26° C, Clear

Full Forecast

Manitoba farmers 'largely supportive' of Canada's new food guide

Manitoba farmers were bracing themselves for the worst in the new Canada Food Guide — perhaps a recommended diet of tofu and water.

But farm groups were pleasantly surprised and positive about what was released on Tuesday.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor unveiled Canada's new Food Guide on Tuesday.

RYAN REMIORZ/ THE CANADIAN PRESS

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor unveiled Canada's new Food Guide on Tuesday.

"We're largely supportive of where the Food Guide landed," said Brian Lemon, Manitoba Beef Producers general manager.

Lemon did not view the guide as encouraging plant-based protein over meat, as it has been interpreted in some quarters. Instead, the beef producer organization likes that the guide recommends a quarter of a person's plate be devoted to protein, and Lemon recommends beef as one of the best sources.

"Suggesting that a quarter of plate needs to be protein, I think, positions meat really well as the most nutrient-dense protein you can consume," he said. "I don't see a reason, because of this food guide, for Canadians to reduce the amount of beef they consume."

It can take three to four servings of plant product to get the same protein as a single serving of meat, he said.

"You can get the equivalent of protein from plant-based sources but you have to consume a lot more and actually have to consume a whole pile of calories to get the same proteins."

Egg producers were equally pleased with the Food Guide. "It's not a bad thing for eggs at all," said Brenda Bazylewski, Manitoba Egg Farmers director of marketing, who noted egg sales in Canada have grown for nine straight years.

The guide gives plant-based protein higher billing than in the past but that shift is taking place in society already. European-based processor Roquette is building a $400 million pea-protein plant in Portage La Prairie to tap into that dietary trend.

Livestock producers couldn't expect the food guide to ignore the trend but plant-based protein can't compete against eggs, she said.

"The thing with eggs is the quality of protein is so high. There are 14 vitamins and minerals in every single egg," she said. "Eggs contained, whereas vegetables don't necessarily, all nine essential amino acids." Bazylewski also pointed out the guide lists a single serving as two eggs, and not just one.

Dairy producers were reportedly the most chagrined by the foodguide. Some reports claimed the food guide elevated the benefits of water over milk.

Canada Food Guide history

1942

Canada's first food guide acknowledged wartime food rationing, while endeavoring to prevent nutritional deficiencies and to improve the health of Canadians. 
The publication identified six food groups (Milk; Fruit; Vegetables; Cereals and Breads; Meat, Fish, etc.; and Eggs). 
Limited supplies of certain foods, such as milk, prompted the Council to base the Food Rules on 70% of the Dietary Standard.

Canada's first food guide acknowledged wartime food rationing, while endeavoring to prevent nutritional deficiencies and to improve the health of Canadians. The publication identified six food groups (Milk; Fruit; Vegetables; Cereals and Breads; Meat, Fish, etc.; and Eggs). Limited supplies of certain foods, such as milk, prompted the Council to base the Food Rules on 70% of the Dietary Standard.

 

1949

New Dietary Standard for Canada reflected the expanding knowledge on nutrient requirements. The five food groups which were introduced in a previous food guide remained in the 1949 version of the Food Rules, but several changes were made. Bread was no longer limited to Canada Approved Vitamin B bread choices, and the butter reference grew to include "or fortified margarine."

New Dietary Standard for Canada reflected the expanding knowledge on nutrient requirements. The five food groups which were introduced in a previous food guide remained in the 1949 version of the Food Rules, but several changes were made. Bread was no longer limited to Canada Approved Vitamin B bread choices, and the butter reference grew to include "or fortified margarine."

1942

Canada's first food guide acknowledged wartime food rationing, while endeavoring to prevent nutritional deficiencies and to improve the health of Canadians. 
The publication identified six food groups (Milk; Fruit; Vegetables; Cereals and Breads; Meat, Fish, etc.; and Eggs). 
Limited supplies of certain foods, such as milk, prompted the Council to base the Food Rules on 70% of the Dietary Standard.

Canada's first food guide acknowledged wartime food rationing, while endeavoring to prevent nutritional deficiencies and to improve the health of Canadians. The publication identified six food groups (Milk; Fruit; Vegetables; Cereals and Breads; Meat, Fish, etc.; and Eggs). Limited supplies of certain foods, such as milk, prompted the Council to base the Food Rules on 70% of the Dietary Standard.

 

1949

New Dietary Standard for Canada reflected the expanding knowledge on nutrient requirements. The five food groups which were introduced in a previous food guide remained in the 1949 version of the Food Rules, but several changes were made. Bread was no longer limited to Canada Approved Vitamin B bread choices, and the butter reference grew to include "or fortified margarine."

New Dietary Standard for Canada reflected the expanding knowledge on nutrient requirements. The five food groups which were introduced in a previous food guide remained in the 1949 version of the Food Rules, but several changes were made. Bread was no longer limited to Canada Approved Vitamin B bread choices, and the butter reference grew to include "or fortified margarine."

 

1961

In this version of the food guide, food choices broadened and language softened. The revised guide retained five food groups, although much debate had taken place about reducing it to four. In the end, Vegetables and Fruit remained separate. The Cereals and Bread group was renamed as Bread and Cereals, and the quantity message for bread was discarded. However, the emphasis on whole grain cereal prevailed.

In this version of the food guide, food choices broadened and language softened. The revised guide retained five food groups, although much debate had taken place about reducing it to four. In the end, Vegetables and Fruit remained separate. The Cereals and Bread group was renamed as Bread and Cereals, and the quantity message for bread was discarded. However, the emphasis on whole grain cereal prevailed.

 

1977

The revised guide for the first time used colourful pictures of foods that were grouped in wheel-like fashion around a sun graphic. This Guide reduced the number of food groups from five to four - combining fruit and vegetables since their nutrient contributions overlapped. The milk group became Milk and Milk Products, paving the way for the inclusion of other dairy food choices. Meat and Alternates replaced Meat and Fish.

The revised guide for the first time used colourful pictures of foods that were grouped in wheel-like fashion around a sun graphic. This Guide reduced the number of food groups from five to four - combining fruit and vegetables since their nutrient contributions overlapped. The milk group became Milk and Milk Products, paving the way for the inclusion of other dairy food choices. Meat and Alternates replaced Meat and Fish.

 

1982

This new guide was directly influenced by a report on Diet and Cardiovascular disease. The four food groups remained the same. However, the name of the meat group was changed to Meat, Fish, Poultry and Alternates. While the emphasis on the "variety" message continued, the "energy balance" message was expanded to stress balancing energy intake with energy output. Further, a new "moderation" message appeared.

This new guide was directly influenced by a report on Diet and Cardiovascular disease. The four food groups remained the same. However, the name of the meat group was changed to Meat, Fish, Poultry and Alternates. While the emphasis on the "variety" message continued, the "energy balance" message was expanded to stress balancing energy intake with energy output. Further, a new "moderation" message appeared.

 

1992

The 1992 revision incorporated a design change which moved away from the wheel-like fashion to a rainbow graphic that displayed the four food groups, all of which bore new names - Grain Products, Vegetables and Fruit, Milk Products, and Meat and Alternatives. This guide focused on a total diet approach aimed to meet both energy and nutrient requirements, recognizing that energy needs vary.

The 1992 revision incorporated a design change which moved away from the wheel-like fashion to a rainbow graphic that displayed the four food groups, all of which bore new names - Grain Products, Vegetables and Fruit, Milk Products, and Meat and Alternatives. This guide focused on a total diet approach aimed to meet both energy and nutrient requirements, recognizing that energy needs vary.

 

2007

This revised version of the guide depicted Vegetables and Fruit food group positioned as the most prominent arc in the rainbow design. The name of the Milk Products group changed to Milk and Alternatives. It includes guidance on the amount and type of added oils and fats to consume. It also encourages regular physical activity as a benefit along with eating well.

This revised version of the guide depicted Vegetables and Fruit food group positioned as the most prominent arc in the rainbow design. The name of the Milk Products group changed to Milk and Alternatives. It includes guidance on the amount and type of added oils and fats to consume. It also encourages regular physical activity as a benefit along with eating well.

 

2019

Canada's new food guide does away with food groups and portion sizes, focusing instead on broader guidelines. The guide recommends Canadians eat vegetables, fruits and whole grains; choose legumes, nuts and tofu more regularly; and make water their beverage of choice. The guide also says processed and prepared foods high in sugar and salt should be limited, with a special emphasis on the health risks of consuming alcohol.

Canada's new food guide does away with food groups and portion sizes, focusing instead on broader guidelines. The guide recommends Canadians eat vegetables, fruits and whole grains; choose legumes, nuts and tofu more regularly; and make water their beverage of choice. The guide also says processed and prepared foods high in sugar and salt should be limited, with a special emphasis on the health risks of consuming alcohol.

- Information and photos: Health Canada, The Canadian Press

But a spokesperson for the Dairy Association of Canada said that's not what the food guide says.

"It's not negative, it's different," said Lee Finell, a registered dietitian with the dairy farmers' group.

Finell sees the guide as promoting water over "high-calorie, nutrient-poor" sweetened drinks, not milk. She said water was also promoted in the last food guide in 2007.

Milk is not less prominent but rather positioned differently, she said. "This is a nutrition-based food guide instead of an agricultural-based diet, so no one food has its own food group" like in the past, Finell said.

Unlike previous guides, Health Canada didn't consult with farm groups before writing the food guide and that had farmers leery. Consultations with agriculture in previous guides left Health Canada open to criticism that farm groups had undue influence over the diet recommendations.

 

Finell said dairy producers will continue to promote the many benefits of milk, including for bone development in children and seniors. Milk products are a key source of six of the eight nutrients that most Canadians already fall short of: calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin D, and potassium.

Chicken always comes off as the meat product with the halo when it comes to healthy eating. However, the food guide errs in putting plant-based protein on a level playing field with meat products like chicken when chicken provides superior protein, said Wayne Hiltz, Manitoba Chicken Producers executive director.

One serving of chicken breast, 75 grams, has the same protein as over 300 grams of tofu, or three cups of quinoa, or 350 grams of lentils, he said. "That's six servings of quinoa to equal one serving of chicken," Hiltz said.

bill.redekop@freepress.mb.ca

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.