Canada joins other countries to encourage a balanced diet - and here's why

lead image

What's interesting is the innovative approach towards mealtimes

For the first time in 77 years, Canada has changed its iconic Canada Food Guide. The food rules concerned with holistic and balanced nutrition have been amended. And they believe these guidelines will improve health while meeting modern dietary lifestyle needs.

Canada Food Guide overhauled in big style

Canada Food Guide

Image | Canada Food Guide

Canada’s Food groups were first created in 1942 to make sure people had enough to eat during the world war. They recommended people to fill their plates with one food item from four different food groups – dairy, meat, vegetables and grains.

Now, the overhaul of the Food Guide has seen the food groups change and people’s plates would look more vibrant as a result. Food groups only consist of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and meat and dairy. Also, there’s less focus on specific portion sizes. People are encouraged to cook for themselves and learning to be self-sufficient.

So does this mean just eat less meat and more vegetables?

Canada Food Guide

Image | Pexels

Countries around the world have different food schemes to encourage healthier diets and balanced nutrition in meals. For example, the five a day campaign in the United States and the United Kingdom recommends eating five portions of fruit and vegetables in our daily food intake. Whereas Australia’s “Go for 2 & 5” campaign encouraged eating two portions of fruit and five portions of vegetables daily.

Asian countries also have their own healthy food schemes that promote better diets and healthier lifestyles. Japan’s Shokuiku food nutrition guidelines emphasise a balance between grains, fish and meat, milk, vegetables, and fruits. Thailand has also adopted a similar approach to encourage people to maintain a healthy weight by eating from the same food groups. On the other hand, Singapore recommends people fill their plate in the same way that Canada now encourages. There are three food groups which are also the same as Canada’s.

In other countries, governments use an alternative approach to deter people from eating unhealthily. In the Philippines, the government have imposed a new tax on sugar-sweetened drinks in a bid to assist people to drink more water.

The benefits of a balanced diet

The trend is to eat more vegetables. This is because they are full of nutrients and minerals that boost our immune system, help our body function and fight off illnesses like cardiovascular diseases.

Furthermore, people worldwide are encouraged to include more seafood in their diets, instead of just rely on meat as their protein source. Seafood contains omega-3 that lowers the risk of heart disease, while also being a rice source of potassium, iron and selenium.

Grains are still on the menu, but we are encouraged to rely less on this food group as a source of carbohydrate. Over time, it was discovered that a lot of other food groups contain carbohydrates which are higher in nutritional value. Take fruits, for example. They not only contain carbohydrates, but also fibre that has many health benefits.

Whichever food guidelines you follow, the message is clear why it’s important to eat healthily. If you don’t have a balanced diet, then you run the risk of becoming obese.

Obesity has many health risks, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes and even certain types of cancer.

While doing more exercise doesn’t sound appealing, the common phrase “you can’t outrun your fork” has never been truer.

Written by

Vinnie Wong