Canada tells dairy to stand down
Our neighbor to the North recently made a huge statement about the health and environmental impacts of animal-based products. Canada proposed a new set of nutritional guidelines that emphasize the importance of shifting away from animal products and towards plant-based proteins. It also overhauls the traditional set of food categories, focusing instead on eating patterns. One result is that there’s no more dairy food group.
This change comes in response to health and nutrition experts claiming that Canadian guidelines need to reflect modern health challenges, not the malnutrition concerns of the 20th century. (And relying on dairy to meet protein needs is so last century). Among other recommendations, Health Canada’s draft urges Canadians to consider the negative effects of animal-based food on the environment, as well as on health: “Diets higher in plant-based foods and lower in animal-based foods are associated with a lesser environmental impact.”
By contrast, the U.S. continues to promote dairy for health, despite research across the globe suggesting humans can be perfectly healthy without it. Its nutrition guidelines have long been subject to the influence of food lobbyists, which may also help explain why the U.S. has the third highest meat consumption per capita worldwide, well more than is good for us. Clearly the country’s environmental health isn’t part of the equation either.
Takeaway: While there are no public plans to revise the USDA’s MyPlate guide, Harvard University has published a nutrition guide, calling for more plant-based foods, that many consider far more relevant.