Canada’s Food Guide

The concept of balanced nutrition as an aspect of health and wellness has existed for decades.  The World Health Organization (WHO) established April 7, 1948, has always believed that “an adequate, well balanced diet combined with regular physical activity is a cornerstone for good health”.  Unfortunately, a loss of commitment to this mandate has caused “an escalating global epidemic of overweight and obesity…[that]…is taking over many parts of the world”.   4 the Luv of Food seeks to teach and restore the aspects of healthy, balanced eating to a new generation.  In doing so, we believe we can help Canadians, not only reverse the trend of a country’s declining health, but achieve an ideal body size and most importantly, be able to pass this knowledge of healthy eating along to the next generation.

Since 1942, the Canadian government has ‘endeavoured to prevent nutritional deficiencies and to improve the health of Canadians” through the use of a food guide.   The food guide encourages a healthy eating pattern by suggesting adequate nutrient intakes of vitamins and minerals as well as specific nutritional requirements of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.  The nutrient intakes, once expressed as four food groups, is now a tri-sectional plate that suggests eating a variety of healthy foods each day.  These foods provide micro nutrients that are required to prevent nutrient deficient diseases such as rickets, beriberi, scurvy, and anemia.  See below.

Until the recent release of the new food guide, the nutritional requirements were expressed as servings per day and represent acceptable macro nutrient distribution ranges (AMDRS).  These ranges are percentages of daily calories for each of the three macro nutrients – carbohydrates (45-65%), fats (20-35%), and proteins (10-35%).

By choosing from a wide variety of whole foods and thus meeting nutrient intakes, Canadians have managed to thwart nutrient deficient diseases.  However, the less than definitive serving recommendations for meeting nutritional requirements as well as a shift away from traditional diets, has prevented Canadians from achieving the well-balanced eating pattern necessary for good health.  This has resulted in a nationwide health concern as rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease continue to climb.

Despite its consistency over the years, its scientific foundation, and its simple, visual appeal, Canadians have struggled with following the food guide’s recommendations.

As recent as 50 years ago, most meals were prepared at home using local produce and fresh livestock.  As well, the more abundant use of whole foods naturally contained the varietal balance of the three macro nutrients.  The lack of a definitive way to meet the AMDRs and the social and economic changes in the past several decades have brought about a tremendous shift in the way people eat their macro nutrients.  By manipulating ingredients to 1) reduce perishability and increase shelf-life, 2) enhance convenience, and 3) keep food costs down, the processed food industry has upset the natural balance of macro nutrients in Canada’s current diet.  With 1) both parents working outside of the home, 2) less time for homemade food preparation, 3) an increased availability of convenience foods high in carbohydrates or fats, and 4) a multitude of options to dine out, the foundation for healthy, balanced eating that was once passed down to the next generation, no longer exists. This latest trend has Canada’s diet falling significantly outside of the food guide’s recommendations that are necessary for good health.

Canadians need to return to a balanced diet and stay within the AMDRs in order to be in compliance with Canada’s Food Guide (CFG) and achieve a healthy eating pattern.

Though the consumption of convenience foods was once an appealing concept, the need to compensate by perpetually dieting in response to a decline in health, has left the next generation of Canadians looking for a healthier way to eat.  We believe in educating this generation to the value of following the recommendations in Canada’s Food Guide. We believe in using CFG as a cornerstone for good health because it uses the science of nutrition to guide Canadians in making healthy food choices and thus, improving lifestyle. We also believe that part of the challenges in understanding and following the food guide has been that the current format isn’t definitive in its nutritional requirements and fails to meet the needs of all audiences.

4 the Luv of Food has developed a simple tool that replaces the suggested servings in each food group to identify whether the consumer is eating foods that meet CFG’s nutritional requirements.   Using this tool means better compliance with the food guide and a lifestyle change towards a healthy eating pattern.  The tool is called the Balance Factor .  The Balance Factor simply balances your carbohydrates while letting your body fluctuate your fats and proteins as needed and uses the nutrition facts label to determine if the food or combination of foods falls within the AMDR of carbohydrates. See Balance Factor on this website.

Choosing foods/meals that meet caloric needs and using the Balance Factor ensures the consumer is achieving their nutritional requirements and complying with Canada’s Food Guide.