Do we really need Canada’s Food Guide?

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Darlene Pashak
Éditorialiste Invitée
Guest Editorialist

Canada released its newest food guide last week, which has been in the works since 2013.  Different from other editions, it has relied on science, extensive consultations and not the food industry.

Darlene Pashak
Éditorialiste Invitée
Guest Editorialist

Canada released its newest food guide last week, which has been in the works since 2013.  Different from other editions, it has relied on science, extensive consultations and not the food industry.
Another striking difference is how broad the guide is. No longer suggesting a specific recommended number of servings from food groups, the guide nudges people in a direction: away from alcohol, sugary drinks, eggs, meat and dairy, and toward grains, vegetables, fruit and water.
But it still misses the mark in terms of advising Canadians about nutritional eating.
Even science-based recommendations can be flawed or incomplete. The whole “low-fat” revolution was based on the Seven Country Study by Ancel Keys launched in 1958 linking fat consumption to cardiovascular disease.
Not coincidentally, this is when the obesity epidemic, diabetes and heart disease rates all skyrocketed. It was later determined that data from other countries was omitted because it did not support his hypothesis; this is known as a bias and does not constitute solid research.
Low-fat ended up equalling poor nutrition: processed, high calorie, sugar-laden foods not intended for human bodies to digest and use efficiently for fuel.
Our bodies are designed to absorb foods in their most natural state. Look around the globe: different cultures have subsisted for centuries on natural, locally sourced foods. How can fruit be a staple in a Canadian diet, when most of Canada does not produce fruit year round? We have eaten meat, eggs and dairy long before the government told us how to eat, because it was found in our own backyards.
The agricultural revolution brought us sugar and grain products, changing our diets with these high carbohydrate foods, and industry concocted ways of further processing food to appeal to our tastes, but not our health. The new food guide got that part right, at least—eat less processed foods.
A whole body of growing research seems to have been ignored: the ketogenic diet and fasting. Keto is a high fat, low carbohydrate, moderate protein diet. This means no sugar (natural or added), almost no fruit, only low carbohydrate vegetables, protein found in full fat dairy, meat and fish. Evidence indicates health benefits for all kinds of modern day diseases, including inflammation, obesity,
cardiac problems, fertility issues, diabetes, cancer and even Alzheimer’s (which has been dubbed Type 3 Diabetes).
Full fat eating has returned! And so has common sense as we return to eating the way our early ancestors did: consuming food in their natural state.
Do we need the government to tell us how to eat? Do your own research. What makes sense? What supports your health? As individuals with different body compositions and ancestry, one size will not fit all, and it is easy to figure out what your body needs: just listen to it!