Boiling it all down, UHN dietitians say the
new Canada Food Guide is a welcome upgrade to encourage healthy eating.
Health Canada unveiled a new and improved food guide in January, steering away from the concept of the four food groups – fruits and vegetables, meat and legumes, dairy and grains – and focusing on what to eat regularly, what to avoid and the importance of preparing more meals at home.
It sets the table for healthy eating, overall nutrition and encourages being mindful of our environment.
"Nutrition is complicated and it can't be defined with simple recommendations," says Karla Dawdy, a registered dietitian on UHN's nephrology team. "But the new Canada Food Guide is one step to help us achieve better health outcomes."
Karla was invited to provide feedback in a focus group when Health Canada began its revision process in 2017. The guide was previously revised in 2007.
"I jumped at the opportunity because at one point, I had stopped using the guide to promote healthy eating in my practice," she says. "It appeared that clients were looking for something more."
To mark Nutrition Month in March, Karla asked a team of UHN dietitians for their take on the new guide, which received an overall positive response.
"It's extremely difficult to create a resource that will satisfy everyone, but it's definitely an improvement from the previous guide," Karla says. "It's closer to meeting the needs of a younger generation, which is crucial for disease prevention."
A snapshot of the new guidelines includes:
The good – what the new guide got right:
The challenges – questions dietitians have about the new guide include:
Intended for the general population
The new food guide is research based, but it is intended for the general population.
"If you have special nutrition requirements, it's recommended to seek out the advice of a Registered Dietitian (RD)," Karla advises.
There are also specific guidelines available for nutrition during
pregnancy, lactation and