A new version of Canada’s food guide is set to be unveiled Tuesday, a move nutrition experts say is long overdue.
The last revision to the food guide was in 2007, one of only a handful of changes since it was introduced in 1942.
In the 40s, the guide was called “Canada’s food rules,” and was changed slightly to reflect the four main food groups that we’ve come to know.
The current guide features a rainbow visual coordinated by four groups of vegetables and fruit, grain products, milk and alternatives, and meat and alternatives.
Drafts of a few looks at the new guide that were shown to focus groups eventually circulated online, and it appears as though the concept of four food groups will be gone when it is revealed Tuesday.
Dairy and meat could end up being in the same category, with a greater emphasis placed on fruits and vegetables.
The revamp is already getting backlash from industry and lobby groups including the Dairy Farmers of Canada.
The revision process has been underway for several years – and since the beginning, Health Canada said it would not be meeting with lobby groups from the food and beverage industry during the process.
Based on what he’s seen, Sylvain Charlebois, professor of food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University said the revised food guide will harken back to the original.
“If you compare the current food guide with the one we had in 1942, the original one, they’re very much the same,” he said. “Instead of four food categories we had six. We only merged eggs with meat, and fruits and vegetables. If you add a few illustrations and colours, that’s pretty much what we have today.”
Animal-based foods will not be promoted as much as other categories, he said.
“Now the focus is not going to be on promoting food products like milk, beef and fish. We’re actually going to be promoting fibres and proteins. That’s the language we’re going to hear starting tomorrow.”
Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor will unveil the new food guide Tuesday at Jean-Talon Market in Montreal.