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Changes to Canada’s Food Guide

Recent changes to Canada’s food guidelines have just been announced with the intention of making it easier for Canadians to make better and more informed food choices.

What You Need to Know

One of the biggest changes to the 2019 guidelines is getting rid of the idea that you should eat a specific number of portions from every food group. Health Canada has also done away with the portion size recommendations because they received overwhelming feedback about how confusing and unhelpful Canadians felt these recommendations were.

The new guide now gives you a more generalized set of recommendations and includes a simple, easy-to-understand visual representation of what a healthy variety of foods looks like.

One final change to the food guide is the removal of traditional food groups to make room for easier meal planning. The revised guidelines recommend that about half of your food intake should be colourful fruits and veggies and that the remaining half should be split between whole grains and “protein foods.” The guide also suggests that Canadians should opt for plant-based proteins rather than dairy or meats.

An interesting addition to the food guide is the recommendation to increase water intake. The visual guide says to “make water your drink of choice.” Health Canada officials have noted that a majority of Canadian’s sugar consumption is in the form of drinks such as juice and soda, so they hope to help everyone think about sugar intake and choose water instead.

How These Guidelines Can Help Older Adults

Following these recommendations can be especially helpful for older adults now that they are less focused on specific foods and portion sizes. The overall message is now about variety and proportion rather than strict rules.

Older adults are more susceptible to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, so it’s important to maintain a balanced diet. In addition, choosing foods like healthy fats, plant-based proteins and fibrous whole grains can support a hardier immune system and give older adults a noticeable energy boost.

Institutions like the World Health Organization note that seniors often lack enough variety in their diets, and when this is combined with their changing nutritional needs, it leads to malnutrition and can contribute to long-term health problems. [1]

The new guidelines set out by Health Canada are simple to understand and easy to incorporate into almost every diet. Adjusting food intake to better match these new recommendations can help with immune function, proper nutrition and overall improved wellness for older adults.