The new Canada Food Guide is coming…what do I think?

Author: Dr. Michelle Durkin on 28 November 2017

The Canada Food Guide is finally getting a healthy revision and I for one am happy about it. Although it’s not exactly what I will be recommending, it’s a step in the right direction.

In my 13 years of practice I have never once recommended the Canada Food Guide as a reference for patients to follow and here’s why:

  1. Fruits and veggies are in the same category. Let’s face it, when you have a choice between a piece of fruit or a vegetable, which one are you more likely to choose? I know I’m picking the fruit, along with 90% of the population, because the natural sugars make them more appetizing to our palate. They are also more convenient, rarely requiring that you need to chop them, or cook them to eat them.

Con: the new food guide still keeps them in the same category

Pro: in the new food guide they are considered the focus of the meal and should make up ½ of your plate (sounds familiar to the “plate” I recommend)

  1. Grains are prioritized over all other food groups for healthy eating. A grain heavy diet causes significantly more insulin secretion from the pancreas. This predisposes people to weight gain and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is an underlying cause of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Aren’t these diseases the main causes of death in our country and the ones a healthy diet is supposed to prevent?

Con: grains still have a prominent role on the new food guide and will create confusing advice to those patients who already have insulin resistance or a leaky gut

Pro: in the new food guide grains are no longer the center of the meal; they should make up only ¼ of your plate; there is also a differentiation between whole-grain and “white products”, brown rice is recommended over white rice, whole wheat pasta is recommended over white pasta, etc.

  1. Beverages like fruit juices and chocolate milk are considered options in the fruit/vegetable and milk/milk alternative categories. I (along with many other nutrition experts) consider these beverages empty calories with minimal nutrients and should never be a replacement for real food.

Con: none

Pro: these beverages have been eliminated from the new food guide as choices and water is promoted as the best option

  1. Dairy is a staple food group. Way too many people are intolerant of dairy products. In fact 65% of the population is considered lactose intolerant. It could be higher or lower depending on your ethnicity. This doesn’t take into account the number of people who are casein or whey intolerant.

Con: in the new food guide low fat, skim milk versions of all dairy products are recommended; fat is still considered a villan

Pro: dairy is no longer part of the plate on the new food guide. Unsweetened and low sugar versions of dairy & dairy alternatives are also promoted.

  1. Margarine and vegetable oils are still promoted as healthy. If you missed my article on industrial seed oils you can check it out here: Why industrial seed oils make you fat. These polyunsaturated, processed fats do not have a place in my healthy eating plan and never will.

Con: in the new food guide fat, regardless if it is real food or not, is still considered the villan. This one I was really disappointed with because we have plenty of evidence that demonstrates not all fat is bad.

Pro: none





Now I would love to hear from you! What are your thoughts about the new Canada Food Guide? Leave a comment below and I’ll be back next week with another edition of Doctor as Teacher Tuesday!

2 Replies to “The new Canada Food Guide is coming…what do I think?”

Bill Beauchamp

My health has improved significantly over the years based on your treatments and solid advice. I am still adjusting my diet and everything I do is linked to the advice you have given me.

I am a stubborn old man accustomed to taking charge and making my own decisions but you are most compelling.

I recall a slogan on the wall in public school. “If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” The truth is that if you do not succeed, you must take a different approach or get better information. You have given all of us that support.

You are an excellent doctor and a lovely young woman.

Thank you!

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

You are welcome Bill! I try my best to balance meeting the patient where they are and getting them to shift out of their comfort zone to better health.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Do you like these posts? Sign up for Dr. Durkin's Apple a Day ....

Apple A Day is where you can find small, digestible, practical action steps to help you feel your best, one apple at a time.

Apple a Day

Quinte Naturopathic Centre

173 Church Street

Belleville, ON K8N 3C1


Hours of Operation:

Monday 10am - 7pm

Tuesday 9am - 6pm

Wednesday 9am - 6pm

Thursday 9am - 6pm

Friday 9am - 2pm


NOTE: Our building is not wheelchair accessible