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Food Literacy: The Key to Helping Our Families Make the Most of Canada's New Food Guide

Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Okay, they haven't added caffeine as a food group yet, but other than that, the new-and-improved version of Canada's Food Guide (.pdf) is something worth getting excited about.

What? You weren't planning on throwing a party to mark the release of the new food guide? With all this to celebrate?

  • The guide was created after wide-spread public consultations and it provides for a greater choice of foods than ever before, including foods from a wide varieties of cultures.

  • It can easily be adapted to meet the needs of Canadians at all ages and stages -- including toddlers, preschoolers, moms-to-be, and seniors.

  • There's no one-size-fits-all nutrition solution. (You knew I'd love this part.) One of the coolest things about this release is that you can build your own customized food guide, using this online tool. (It's the Canadian version of MyPyramid.gov -- the customizable U.S. Food Pyramid tool.)


  • As expected, the guide has proven to be controversial. The key criticism? The guide didn't go far enough in waging the war on obesity. Some critics have described the guide as ineffective (or worse) because it doesn't specify recommended calorie count ranges for each food group category.

    What this means, of course, is that the guide assumes a certain amount of "food literacy" on the part of the user. In order to make the food guide work for you, you have to learn what does -- and doesn't -- count as a single serving from each of the food groups. As parents, we have to pass this information on to our kids so that they grow up understanding that potato chips don't qualify as vegetable servings and donuts don't count as grain servings, and so on.

    I guess I'll have to stop lobbying for caffeine to get its own food group if I'm going to walk the nutrition talk at home.

    Related:
    Canada's Food Guide Dishes Out Fresh Advice.

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    | posted by Ann D @ 2:41 PM