1. Health Canada allows sugar-laden cereals to be counted among its ‘grains’ category, and recommends that Canadians make ‘at least half’ of their grains whole.
The guidelines appear to be very friendly to nutritionally-stripped refined wheat.
Whole grains are higher in fibre, are minimally processed and linked to lower risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses; guidelines should advise people to choose virtually all whole grains.
2. Health Canada recommends consuming 2 cups of milk per day.
There is no good reason (health-wise) for dairy to be singled out as its own food group, as it is neither health-promoting or disease-fighting. The highest rates of osteoporosis and fractures occur in countries with the highest dairy intake. Dairy consumption is also linked to prostate cancer in men. A high prevalence of lactose intolerance and a lack of dairy intake in some diets within Canada’s multi-cultural population offer further reasons for omission of dairy products as a food group.
The secondary recommendation to ‘drink fortified soy beverages if you do not drink milk’ does not place enough emphasis on plant-based alternatives (e.g. soy, oat, or rice drinks). The guide also fails to mention plant food sources of calcium, such as legumes, dark leafy greens, broccoli, and some nuts and dried fruits.
3. Health Canada recommends consuming 2-3 tablespoons of unsaturated fats, such as canola oil or margarines, each day.
This advice risks easily being misinterpreted, allowing people to believe that they should cook with more oil or use oil-based salad dressings or mayonnaise. Instead, healthier sources of fat like legumes (beans, peas, lentils), nuts and seeds should receive more attention.