Canada's Food Guide

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Canada's Food Guide, from Health Canada (released January 2019).

Canada's Food Guide is a nutrition guide produced by Health Canada. It is the second most requested Canadian government publication behind the Income Tax Forms.[1] The Health Canada website states: "Food guides are basic education tools that are designed to help people follow a healthy diet."


Canada's first food guide was introduced in 1942 to provide guidance to Canadians on proper nutrition during a period of time when wartime rations were common. The 1942 version was called the Official Food Rules. In 1944 the guide was revised and renamed Canada's Food Rules. In 1962, the guidelines were revised and renamed to Canada's Food Guide.[2] In 1992 the named evolved to Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating and in 2007 it evolved to Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide.[3] Canada's Food Guide was updated and released to the general public in January 2019. Unlike previous food guides' emphasis on food groups and recommended servings, the 2019 revision from Health Canada recommends eating "plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grain foods and protein foods. Choose protein foods that come from plants more often." The guide was prepared using scientific reports on food and health, excluding industry-commissioned reports given the potential for conflicts of interest, according to Health Canada.[4]

Many applauded the new guide, but the new approach did attract some criticism. While acknowledging that the new food guide is a bold move from Health Canada, Sylvain Charlebois from Dalhousie University stated that it still missed the mark in some areas. The new guide makes it more obvious that Canada's agricultural trade policies aren’t synchronized with the ideal diet. He also stated that the science-based processed to create the guide itself excluded many other academic disciplines, like economics, sociology and history. [5][6]

Food Guide Points[edit]


The Guide recommends eating a variety of healthy foods each day including plenty of vegetables and fruits, protein foods, and whole grain foods. It recommends choosing protein foods that come from plants more often. It also recommends limiting highly processed foods.


The Guide recommends making water your drink of choice. It is a calorie-free, fat-free, sugar-free thirst quencher that is essential to the body's metabolic functions. Consumption of water should increase with temperature or an individual's physical activity. The Guide also recommends avoiding beverages with added sugar or fat. Caffeinated beverages, fruit juices, and energy drinks should only be consumed in moderation.

Healthy Behaviours and Habits[edit]

The Guide also recommends the following behaviours:

  • Be mindful of your eating habits
  • Cook more often
  • Enjoy your food
  • Eat meals with others
  • Use food labels
  • Be aware of food marketing

Serving Size vs. Proportion[edit]

In the past, Canada's Food Guide outlined how much of each specific food is equal to one serving and recommended eating a specific number of serving sizes across each of the four food groups. This approach has been updated to show a proportional plate. Instead of specific servings, the plate shows 50% of calories coming from vegetables and fruits, 25% of calories from whole grain foods, and 25% of calories from protein foods.[7]

Canada's Food Guide First Nations, Inuit and Métis[edit]

Health Canada has also developed a guide specifically catered to those who are First Nations, Inuit and Métis. This guide is similar to the general food guide, but also includes more information on a diet that includes more foods native to Canada, such as wild game and fish. The complete guide can be found on the Health Canada website.


  1. ^ "New 'Canada Food Guide' dishes out fresh advice". CTV News. 5 February 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-02-07. Retrieved 2007-02-07.
  2. ^ "History of the Food Guide". Canada's Food Guide. Health Canada. 2007-02-05. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
  3. ^ Government of Canada. History of Canada's Food Guides from 1942 to 2007. Retrieved 23 January 2019
  4. ^ "New food guide unveiled without food groups or recommended servings". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Hui, Ann. 22 January 2019. "The new Canada’s Food Guide explained: Goodbye four food groups and serving sizes, hello hydration." The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 23 January 2019.

External links[edit]