It has been ten years since the Canada
Food Guide was last updated. With all the
advances in technology, medicine and
general health, we are still following
outdated guidance on what to eat and how
much to eat of it.
Health Canada is preparing to relaunch
the food guide in 2018. Their stated
principles indicate a shift towards a
plant-based diet, and will move away from
the wartime rationing our current guide
Our first food guide - the Official Food
Rules - was launched in 1942. It became The
Food Guide in 1944, and went through
changes in 1949, 1961, 1977, 1982, 1992 and
The first guide identified six food
groups and focused on eating healthy while
staying on the wartime rations. In 1944, the
guide upped the quantity of milk that
should be consumed, and was reduced to
five food groups, having added cheese, eggs
and butter to various categories. The
consumption of water was also encouraged.
In 1949, the focus shifted to clarify
various guidelines to ensure food items
were not being consumed in excess. Five
food groups remained on the list, but
quantities were restructured to say “at least”
By 1961, the availability, processing and
storage of foods had changed in big ways,
meaning we were eating different things.
This version broadened the choices
recommended and softened much of the
language, becoming the “Guide” instead of
the “Rules.” Publications also began to
adopt household measuring styles - using
cups instead of pints for milk servings.
In 1977 the Food Guide made huge
leaps and bounds in changing - graphically
shifting from a list style to a wheel and
incorporating a number of textual
changes. We dropped to four food groups -
combining Vegetables and Fruit - and
dropped the recommended daily potato.
The 1977 update was guided in a large part
by the Nutrition Canada National Survey
taken in 1973.
In 1982 the Guide changed again to
address concerns of medical professionals
about the effects of diet on cardiovascular
health and chronic diseases. Variety and an
“energy balance” were emphasized, along
with an encouragement to eat everything in
Ten years later, in 1992, there was a
drastic shift in the philosophy of the Guide.
Called “a new era,” the 1992 Guide
considered itself an overall guide to healthy
eating through a total diet approach. It also
took into account the differences in body
shapes and sizes and the different needs of
those pregnant or nursing.
In 2007, the Guide expanded, including
age groups, genders and a guide specifically
reflective of t he food choices of Inuit, Metis
and First Nations in Canada.
Rumour has it the newest iteration of
the Guide will lump together all proteins
and could potentially impact the dairy and
beef industries in Canada. More than 20,000
people responded to surveys and
The 1942 Canada Official Rules
consultations, making this the first Guide to
take the average person’s thoughts on
nutrition guidelines into account.
The new guide will be released in two
stages. Part 1 of the new dietary guidance
policy report for health professionals and
policy makers, which will consist of general
healthy eating recommendations, will be
released by early 2018.
In 2019 Part 2 of the new dietary
guidance policy report, which will consist of
healthy eating patterns (recommended
amounts and types of foods) will be
Until August 14, 2017 the general
public (and everyone else) can participate
in an online questionnaire. You can find this
questionnaire here and provide your input
on what the new Guide should contain.
Visit www.canada.ca for more info.
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August 2017 - The HUB 7