One of the biggest goals and perhaps revelations of the latest edition of the Canadian Food Guide is that it leans towards more plant-based eating.
But why the sudden change on the part of Health Canada?
Are they out to get the beef and dairy industries? Are they in the pockets of big kale? Maybe they just actually care?
In my view, pretty much each and every one of us could benefit from increasing our consumption of whole, unprocessed plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes nuts and seeds.
A 2017 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study revealed that people who ate more of those foods tended to have a lower risk of premature death ( fish made the list too).
Contrarily, people who ate more red and processed meat tended to have an increased risk of premature death.
When you eat more plant based, two things happen.
#1 You get less of the stuff that you DON’T need more of:
- Saturated Animal Fat
- Animal Protein
- Preservatives ( in the case of processed meat)
- Unhealthy compounds that form when meat is cooked/charred at high temperatures ( ie: BBQ)
#2 You get more of the stuff you DO need more of:
And what happens to your body when you get more of the stuff you need, and less of the stuff you don’t?
People who eat more plant foods and less animal foods tend to have:
- Lower blood cholesterol levels
- Lower blood pressure
- Better blood glucose control
- Lower risk of heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, prostate & colon cancer
That’s a whole lot of benefits.
Health Canada knows that:
- High blood pressure and blood cholesterol are two of the most common and avoidable reasons that people are prescribed medication for.
- Heart disease is the #1 killer of North Americans that has a significant dietary component (and second to lung disease overall.)
And, with the changes to the new food guide, took action from a public health perspective to work towards solving that problem.
Andy De Santis RD MPH