Canadians Ditching Meat

Canadians are ditching meat and dairy

The dairy industry is not happy with Canada’s new food guide, but Canadians are the winners now.

A Dairy industry representative said: “…any drastic change to the food rules would harm a sector still reeling from concessions granted in recent trade agreements.”

But was it ever fair for a guide meant to promote healthy eating to instead protect the profits of a business sector? Thankfully, our Minister of Health allowed Health Canada to work free from industry influence this time.

This article reports: “…scientists such as Dr. Walter Willett, a Harvard nutrition expert (who comes from a long line of dairy farmers) has argued humans have no nutritional requirement for animal milk whatsoever. Last week, a team of international scientists said a “planetary diet” — drastically low in red meat and high in legumes (beans and lentils) — could save millions of lives and the planet.”

“Humans have no nutritional requirement for animal milk whatsoever.”

These statements are coming from scientists, not animal advocates or environmentalists.

In compiling the new guide, Dr. Hasan Hutchinson from Health Canada said: “We were very clear that when we were looking at the evidence base that we were not going to be using reports that have been funded by industry as well.”

Consider this; in the previous food guide, which was widely believed to have been influenced by animal agriculture, cultural groups that did not have a history of using dairy were still advised to include portions of dairy products each day.

And, people who live in remote regions of the country were led to believe that they needed to serve dairy each day to their families, even though they had to pay high prices for dairy products – seemingly to prop up profitable dairy businesses in other regions.

The new guide does include animal-based proteins as possible protein choices, but they are no longer listed as separate, required categories.

This means vegans and those wishing to reduce their intake of animal products no longer have to face push-back from healthcare professionals who rigidly followed the old, industry-influenced food guide.

A total of approximately 6.5 million Canadians (20% of the population) are actively reducing, or completely eliminating, their consumption of meat, according to a study conducted by Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph. The researchers were interested in discovering how Canadians were responding to the 2019 Canada Food Guide—which de-emphasizes the consumption of meat and dairy, instead recommending that Canadians focus on plant-based sources of protein.

The researchers uncovered that 1.3 million people in Canada now identify as vegetarian and 466,000 as vegan, both representing the highest numbers in those categories recorded in Canada. The majority of the vegetarian population is male while the majority of the vegan population is female and the bulk of each category is comprised of people under the age of 39. In February, several regions in Canada reported tofu shortages as a result of the new Food Guide.