Canada unveils new dietary guidelines

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Dietary guidelines, Physical activity, Nutrition, Health canada, Canada

Health Canada this week updated the country's food guide for the
first time in over a decade to provide the "best, most current
information available for eating well and living healthy,"
according to Canada's health minister Tony Clement.

The new Food Guide was developed after consultation with over 7,000 nutrition experts, including dietitians, scientists, doctors and researchers.

The dietary guidelines encourage Canadians to focus on vegetables, fruit and whole grains; to include milk, meat and their alternatives; and to limit foods that are high incalories, fat, sugar and salt.

Health Canada, the Federal department responsible for the nation's health, is also now recommending a Vitamin D supplement for Canadians over the age of 50.

"Canada's new Food Guide reinforces the Heart and Stroke Foundation's messages to Canadians about the importance of consuming vegetables and fruit, limiting trans fats and combining a healthy diet with regular physical activity,"​ said the organization's CEO, Sally Brown.

The guide breaks down dietary recommendations according to Canadians' age and gender. An interactive web component - My Food Guide - also helps consumers personalize dietary information according to their age, sex and food preferences. The personalized guide will also include culturally relevant options from a variety of ethnic cuisines.

The nation's new guidelines recommend an average of eight servings of fruit and vegetables per day for Canadian adults, as well as around seven servings of grains, half of which must be whole. Milk and meat, or their alternatives, are recommended at an average of two servings per day.

The guide also promotes physical activity as a complimentary balance to a careful selection of foods. Portion size is also addressed, in an effort to help reduce the nation's overweight and obesity rates.

According to the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey: Nutrition (CCHS) 23 percent of Canadians aged 18 or older - an estimated 5.5 million adults - are classed as obese, with another 8.6 million, or 36 percent, being overweight.

For more information on Canada's new Food Guide, click here​.

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