News release: New Canada’s Food Guide cuts the crap!

Heart & Stroke applauds focus on whole, real foods

Heart & Stroke applauds Health Canada for its revised, modern Canada’s Food Guide. The new guide takes a practical approach to nutrition that will make healthy eating easier, simpler and even more fun, with an emphasis on consuming whole foods, cooking at home, and enjoying meals together. 

“With our deep commitment to the health of Canadians and our understanding of the challenges faced by people who want to live healthier lives, we were proud to collaborate with Health Canada on the direction and content of the new food guide. It was designed to make preparing and sharing healthy food a pleasure, while improving our health,” said Yves Savoie, CEO of Heart & Stroke.

The new food guide is based on the most current and definitive nutrition evidence and builds on the steps of the Brazilian food guide, considered the international gold standard. The focus is on whole foods prepared at home. Rather than dictate numbers of servings and serving sizes, it shows how to “build a plate” with half of the plate consisting of vegetables and/or fruit, a quarter plate for grains and a quarter for proteins. This approach is easy for consumers to understand.

The food suggestions reflect the diversity of Canada today. People in Canada from different backgrounds will see the foods they eat in the guide. Foods to be consumed less regularly include highly processed foods and sugary drinks; the guide also removes 100% fruit juice as an equivalent to fruits – all issues strongly supported by Heart & Stroke. 

“As we’ve said in the past, ‘we need to cut the crap’. Sugary drinks are the single greatest contributor of sugar in our diets, and Canadians get half of their daily calories from highly processed foods, with kids getting the most,” added Savoie.

The release of the new Canada’s Food Guide is the second significant milestone in the roll-out of the Healthy Eating Strategy, following the elimination of artificial trans fats in all food sold in Canada. Heart & Stroke is looking forward to working with Health Canada to complete other components of the Strategy, notably the passage of legislation to restrict the marketing of foods and beverages to children currently awaiting passage in the Senate, and the implementation of front-of-package nutrition labelling.

Background facts
  • Millions of people in Canada are living with diet-related disease, taking a huge toll on their health and on their families.
  • In Canada, diet-related factors are now the leading risk for death.
  • Unhealthy diets were responsible for about 47,000 deaths in Canada in 2016.
  • The annual cost of diet-related disease in Canada is $26 billion. 
  • Sugary drinks including fruit juices are the single greatest contributor of sugar in our diets.
  • Calories from highly processed food purchases have doubled in 70 years. 
  • Canadians get half of their daily calories from highly processed foods, and kids get the most.
  • Approximately 70% of Canadians aged 18+ years and youth 12–17 years do not eat the recommended servings of vegetables and fruits.
  • Kids who eat an unhealthy diet enter adulthood predisposed to develop chronic diseases already manifested in the rising number of teenagers and young adults diagnosed with adult onset diabetes and cardiovascular disease
  • For the first time we have kids who have spent their whole lives eating unhealthy diets high in processed foods.
  • Almost one in three children are overweight or obese.
About Heart & Stroke

Life. We don’t want you to miss it. That’s why Heart & Stroke leads the fight against heart disease and stroke. We must generate the next medical breakthroughs, so people in Canada don’t miss out on precious moments. Together, we are working to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery through research, health promotion and public policy. 

For additional information, contact:

Jennifer Spencer
Senior Manager, Communications, Heart & Stroke
416 489-7111 ext. 23154