By Anna Pippus / Huffington Post
Progress! Canada’s New Draft Food Guide Favors Plant-Based Protein And Eliminates Dairy As A Food Group
Last fall, when the Canadian government began consulting the public on its plan to revise national food guidelines, I wrote that the existing food guide had lost all usefulness and credibility because lobbyists and economic concerns, rather than science, had been the driving force behind their structure and content.
I wrote that we don’t need food categories (other countries have done away with them) but if we retain them we absolutely don’t need a milk category, and the “meat and alternatives” category should instead be “protein” that gives due prominence, given their health advantages, to legumes.
Frankly, this was pie-in-the-sky. Despite these suggestions being based on sound nutrition science, I wasn’t optimistic that government would escape the long reach of the animal foods industries that have been effective in maintaining undue prominence in dietary guidelines since the 1940s.
Happily, I was very wrong.
The Canadian government has issued new draft healthy eating recommendations, which would overhaul the antiquated system of food categories—focusing instead on eating patterns—and emphasize the importance of including a “high proportion of plant-based foods.” The milk category is indeed gone in the draft recommendations, and the powerhouse legume has been elevated above animal foods.
The draft food guide’s first, foundational recommendation establishes the importance of whole foods and specifies that plant-based foods (such as legumes) are a preferred source of protein. The recommendation is for “regular intake of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and protein-rich foods, especially plant-based sources of protein.”
The draft guidelines also encourage a shift away from animal foods by advising that people eat foods with unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat (saturated fat is found almost exclusively in animal foods). The recommendation is for the “inclusion of foods that contain mostly unsaturated fat, instead of foods that contain mostly saturated fat.”
There’s no more dairy food group, a win not only for public health but also cultural inclusivity, given that up to 90 percent of some non-European ethnicities are lactose intolerant. It’s also a huge win for the cows who really don’t want us to kill their babies so we can steal their milk. Instead, the guidelines will sensibly advise people to drink water.
The draft guidelines acknowledge that our food system is inextricably linked to our environment, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, soil degradation, decreases in water quality and availability, and wildlife loss. The draft food guide states that “diets higher in plant-based foods and lower in animal-based foods are associated with a lesser environmental impact.” Expanding our conception of health to include environmental considerations makes sense because our short- and long-term mental and physical health are directly related to the health—or not—of our environment.
The guidelines are based on a comprehensive review of health evidence, considering both quality and source of the information, as well as actual information about Canadians’ eating habits. Industry-commissioned reports were excluded from consideration.
Still, the draft guidelines are not without concerns. Industry and economic influences linger. For example, in the first guiding principle—after acknowledging up-front the healthfulness of plant-based foods—an unnecessary non-sequitur sentence talks about the nutritive value of animal foods. And it is recommended that people “limit”—rather than “avoid”—saturated fat, even though this unhealthy form of primarily animal fat is linked to a variety of preventable lifestyle diseases.
Nevertheless, these draft guidelines are a dramatic improvement, putting Canada alongside Brazil as a world leader in taking back our eating recommendations from industry and promoting evidence-based eating patterns to benefit our health and planet.
This food guide hasn’t been finalized yet, so now is a critical time to participate by saying what you like (and don’t like) about the draft. Industry is already organizing and lobbying, trying to unfairly retain its foothold at the expense of our health. We need our voices to be equally loud.
Jessop Editorial Note
We thank the writer for her work as an Animal rights attorney and for her well needed compassion with this most crucial subject material.
However difficult it is, to post articles from informational sources that only seem to understand or present very topical thoughts and observations regarding consequential matters. Because for a multitude of reasons, sites such as these many people find credible and on the cutting edge of knowledge.
As it has been said, if you want to be the best, you must beat the best, and here we use our minds and those of many before us to accomplish this necessary work.
The article touches on changes we are now seeing come to fruition regarding proper nutrition which is excellent for more of our populace to see. However, when innacuracies are noticed we feel compelled to share sharper, more exacting details with our readers.
From the article- “the milk category is indeed gone in the draft recommendations, and the powerhouse legume has been elevated above animal foods.”
The legume is a powerhouse? To whom, certainly not to those seeking the pinnacle of health. I will be very clear here in the most concise form possible. We appreciate the writers concern for animals and clearly this is great that she is taking the time and effort to make more people aware of this information and for that we commend her. However, writing about nutrition and exclaiming that legumes are powerhouse foods is simply not accurate. And the constant focus about getting more protein just does not make any sense, we are not made of protein, in fact protein is simply a very small percentage of our essence.
Legumes compared to any and all type of animal so called foods are of course without question far superior in every conceivable way. The difference in the health benefits imparted to individuals that ingest legumes over dead animal tissue is so vast it is immeasurable on any scale, and this statement is so exactly simple to prove to any rational and sober mind.
Legumes though are starch based, they create and are created, and must be broken down by acids. Starches are very complex forms of sugars, beans are dormant, not live foods. This one observation alone reinforces the point of this message. Organic fruit and berries picked when ripe are the most pristine forms of energy on the face of the whole earth.
So yes the legumes compared to carcasses of animals is in fact a superfood, but compared to organic berries, fruit picked when ripe, lemons, watermelons, avocados or cucumbers, beans and the like are not even in the same realm. Remember the difference between the legume and dead animal tissue how large it is? Now imagine the difference between acidic animal flesh and a blueberry.
The amount of regenerative and building power within berries as opposed to the other is galactic in its nature. Become aware of what you are made of and this will lead one towards what they ought fuel themselves with, and that is carbon, hydrogen and oxygen which berries, melons, fruits, and some vegetables, are replete with.
The human family and our pet friends are currently drowning in acids, these acids are polluting minds, bodies and souls, and our society must awaken to this truth and begin to live and breathe on the alkaline side of chemistry before it is to late. The time is right now to comprehend what we are up against and look inwards for the solutions.