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Canada's New Food Guide (canada.ca)
245 points by thtthings 23 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 136 comments

This is great. A no-nonsense, modern take on healthy nutrition. It's simple (no more food groups, portions, etc.), and actually healthy (e.g. not catering to the dairy industry with a daily glass of milk recommendation, pizza is not a vegetable, etc.).

Compare it to this: https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/archived_proje...

> Compare it to this: ...

The USDA updates the guidelines every so often. They no longer use a pyramid, and they’ve silently backed away from recommending so many carbs. Compare Canada’s guide to https://www.choosemyplate.gov/ .


It seems to stick to more traditional lines of avoid saturated fats (butter, ghee,coconut oil) and favour olive oil, canola oil etc.

And reduce fat in general

"This is great. A no-nonsense, modern take on healthy nutrition. "

Even though it's technically 'no nonsense' - it actually is effectively 'nonsense' from a communications perspective.

It's almost meaningless, and un-actionable, and I don't think it will have any effect, on any group. I wonder if this should simply be a single page of points urging us to 'eat healthy' and that should be it.

Consider the main takeaway points:

'Enjoy your food' 'Eat protein' 'Eat lots of vegetables' 'Chose whole grain foods'


This is essentially very traditional approach to food, with noticeably less focus on carbs (we don't work on farms anymore), and also the absence milk, cheese and almost absence of meat which I believe is likely a shade ideological as opposed to nutritional.

It surely is good advice, but it's not specific at all, and essentially boils down to 'eat healthy, don't each junk food'.

Seriously consider this:


It's the page on 'how to enjoy your food'.

"tasting the flavours" "being open to trying new foods" "developing a healthy attitude about food"

Seriously - a page devoted to instructing us to 'taste the flavours' of food.

Here the section on your 'eating environment':

Influences on eating and drinking. These can include:

distractions where you eat who you eat with what you are doing while you are eating

Eating environments can affect:

what you eat and drink the amount you eat and drink ow much you enjoy eating

It's really an eerie thing to read.

I should add: the recipes look really good however.

It’s important to note that this is taught in schools starting from as early as grade 1. I do believe that teaching children about the joys of eating food and sharing meals could have a positive impact. Consider France, arguably one of the healthiest nations when it comes to food, where this is culturally ingrained from an early age.

> It’s important to note that this is taught in schools starting from as early as grade 1.

My kids come home with hungry with half-eaten lunches complaining how they didn’t have enough time to eat. They get rushed to finish within 10-15 minutes and go outside. This is a universal complaint among parents.

We’re culturally ingraining eating as something you rush through on the way to something else.

Isn't that a good thing? Eating for the sake of enjoying eating seems more like a problem than a solution here, eating should be more something you do because you need to rather than something you do for fun.

If you want something beneficial, teach people to enjoy cooking rather than eating.

Food is essential fuel for life and we have complex relationships with it. One could say that some of the recent emphasis on mindfulness around eating is that when we eat as a background task rather than giving it focus, we tend to eat junk and/or overeat.

They have a page about taking time to eat [0] under the eating habits section. It might take a long time before any cultural or policy change happens but they at least acknowledge that being rushed or distracted isn't helpful.

[0] https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/healthy-eating-recommendatio...

Out of curiosity where are you located? I chatted with my partner, a K-6 teacher and here they get 30 minutes to eat followed by 30 minutes to play or go to an activity (like choir). This seems reasonable to me.

You know what would be better is longer lunches and a little less class time anyhow.

2 hours max a day of 'guided learning' a day, the rest somewhere between 'self learning' and 'fooling around' is fine.

> almost absence of meat which I believe is likely a shade ideological as opposed to nutritional.

Finally someone here notice it. Have you also noticed how Canada's New Food Guide looks eerily similar to the much-criticized EAT-Lancet recommendation (reportedly fueled by Vegan propaganda): https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/diagnosis-diet/20190...

I like it, too. Pretty much what I've been following for the last 1-2 years.

Would like more clarification on the saturated fats front, though (compare coconut oil, butter, palm oil, trans fats).

Basically, many of their healthy fat oils are actually highly processed (which are not recommended), while the non-processed unsaturated fats (such as olive oil) are not suitable for (high-temperature) cooking.

"unsaturated fats (such as olive oil) are not suitable for (high-temperature) cooking."

That's not true, another human myth.

here is the paper, TLDR: olive oil retains most of its nutritional benefits even when heated in high temperatures.


go for healthy fat! :)

You're missing the point – oils are (un)suitable for cooking primarily based on the risk of oxidation via heat. That study is only about the polyphenol content of olive oil (which, according to the study, do not get degraded as much as we might have thought), but it says nothing about the oxidation of poly-unsaturated fats.

Unsaturated fats are at a much higher risk of oxidation, which is why cooking with canola oil (7.4% saturated, 28.1% polyunsaturated), for instance, is so dangerous – without the hydrogen armor around the carbon backbone, the fat is at high risk for oxidation, after which point it becomes toxic.

The study you linked to even alludes to this danger: > It is worth noting that all the heating methods assayed resulted in more severe polyphenols losses and oil degradation for Arbequina than for Picual oil, which could be related to the lower content in polyunsaturated fatty acids of the latter olive cultivar. These findings may be relevant to the choice of cooking method and olive oil cultivar to increase the intake of olive polyphenols.

Suggesting that if you want to cook at higher heats with olive oil, you should search for one with an exceptionally low polyunsat content.

Olive oil can easily sustain 160C for hour long period of time. You can use it for saute and pan frying. What you are refering too is deep frying with temperatures above 190C. That is what the consensus is, also my personal experience: it smokes really fast and tastes rancid.

I've had some smoking and a bit of rancidity using olive oil to do roast potatoes at 450F (230C) - 400F and lower usually works no issues.

>Suggesting that if you want to cook at higher heats with olive oil, you should search for one with an exceptionally low polyunsat content.

Greeks have been frying french fries in olive oil since, well, the coming of potato to Europe... No casualties yet.

Avocado oil has a very high smoke point. Its not cheap, but not too much more than legit EVOO.

Avoid oils in general. They're mostly devoid of nutrition (i.e. no fiber, lacking vitamins and minerals compared to the food source) and only contain fat https://youtu.be/LbtwwZP4Yfs

As someone from Spain, a place that's soon gonna have the highest life expectancy in the world, yeah we're not removing olive oil from about 50% of the "core" dishes that we regularly eat.




I don't have the book at hand right now to cite exact pages, but Dr. Greger's "How Not to Die" has a much better explanation and cited sources on why one would want to avoid oils in favor of the whole plant source. Looking at longevity, it's relative and multifaceted - maybe oils aren't as damaging as not exercising, but it doesn't make them healthy.

I'd trust the people consuming them (and living to 100+) over some Dr that looks way older than his 46 years...

(Yeah, it's multifaceted, but it's not true that olive oil is "devoid of nutricional value" as someone wrote above (it has antioxidants, omega-6, oleic acid, and so on).

You know that's fallacious logic, right? Olive oil is devoid of value in comparison to olives. It has no fiber and stripped of minerals and vitamins.

We're talking about oil here. Where do the olives come in? When I want oil in my cooking it is for what it tastes, and what recipes it affords.

If I want to fry with oil or put dressing in my salad, another oil might do the trick: olives are irrelevant. Might as well have compared olive oil to a broccoli or almonds...

The fact that it has "no fiber" is also irrelevant as to whether it has nutritional value (fibers are not digested anyway, and I'm not looking into oil for fibers in the first place).

You really are ignorant to the importance of fiber, then, and the negative health effects of consuming a substance without fiber (sugar over a fruit, analogous to cocaine over coca leaf). Fiber is incredibly beneficial to our microbiome and it's a debunked myth that it's not digested - bacteria in the colon consume it and make essential fatty acids, as an example.

I don't look to get fiber from olive oil, I look to get whole plant foods with fiber in my diet. I also want to avoid the negative arterial effects from extracted fats.

There is no physiological need for oil, only culinary. I have changed my cooking habits in light of this and I continue to eat highly flavorful and creative dishes.

Funny thing is that Dr. Valter Longo suggests the exact opposite - a take-in of 80 grams of olive oil a day: https://valterlongo.com/cardiovascular-diseases/

I read both books - "How not to die" (Greger) and "the Longevity Diet" - and I thought about their opinions as well. ATM I tend to stick to good oils from plants as well as nuts. Greger is not very convincing - mostly because he suggests nuts as well, and a good produced oil (like extra virgine olive oil) does not loose much nutritional value. I don't care about reduced antioxidants in oil if I combine it with greens that have loads of them.

How does recommending nuts contradict his message? It doesn't.

His message is that you should not eat oils because their nutritional value has been decreased in the process. He does not meditate about the different fat acids and their functions. In my opinion, he is missing out that there are nuts and oils that are quite similar in their fat composition. Of course, nuts have proteins and carbohydrates (mostly sugar) as well. But what he forgets is that you won't eat olive oil alone - you'll most likely have it with a good amount of greens, tomatoes or whatever.

Just have a look at the study he mentions when he's talking about the impairment of artery functions after eating olive oil: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/clc.49602214...

Quote: "This impairment, however, was also totally eliminated when vitamins C and E were given. As with antioxidant vitamin supplementation, olive oil, eaten with vinegar on a salad, did not impair endothelial function. Some societies that use the Mediterranean diet may have learned to provide the natural antioxidants which buffer the oxidative stress of these fatty meals."

He totally eliminated this aspect so he can ban the oils. Another discussion here on HN blamed him for cherrypicking studies. I'm not sure if that's wrong. He has some good advice in general but for this aspect, I don't really trust him.

If Spain has the best diet why did it take this long to rise up in the rankings?

Diet is not everything in the equation and we already have the highest life expectancy in Europe, so we're already "high enough". Also things like eliminating pollution from especially cities have become hot topics recently and that's also helped and etc..

My claim specifically, was that I find it rather surprising that olive oil is unhealthy, when the soon to be country with the highest life expectancy in the world, consumes per person 10 kg of it every year.

I think everyone wants to live the longest possible and not long enough as considered by someone else. Maybe people in Spain would live even longer without olive oil?

Also, consider that over 50% of the adult population in Spain is overweight. Maybe less oil would improve issues that come from being overweight and obese.

Plus, leading cause of death in Spain is heart disease.

Yeah right but the obesity increase is mostly correlated all around the world and here with the increased consumption of "junk food", i.e. highly processed and very high in sugar, not with olive oil consumption, so...

But supposedly these Spaniards are consuming oil and not sugar. Perhaps they need to drink it!

They already did. Valter Longo cited studies with an average intake of 1 litre a day. Gist is, it was quite good for them.

Thank you, this was nearly exactly what I was going to reply

It doesn't make a blind bit of difference. As long as you're a) not obese, b) not eating too much sugar and b) eating reasonable quantities of vegetables, everything else is a rounding error. Read just about any study on nutrition and you'll see negligible effect sizes at the very cusp of statistical significance.

All of the confusion about what we're supposed to eat derives from this simple fact. We've got all sorts of data suggesting that this diet or this food might be good for you, but the effect sizes are too small to care about.

If you obsessively tweak your diet based on every little scrap of data, you might possibly earn yourself three or four months of healthy life expectancy compared to a diet that your great-grandmother would recognise as being sensible. It's just not worth the effort.

There is no reason to avoid fat.

Here is one instance of an easily accessible peer-reviewed-science-based list of the current knowledge on dietary fat: https://www.foundmyfitness.com/news/t/fat

It does not show that oils or fat are something to blanket avoid.

I didn't say to avoid fat, I said to avoid extracted fats (oils). Whole food fats e.g. the olive instead of olive oil is fine

About a year ago, I started looking into current nutritional advice. One thing that stood out was that the average American used to get 40% of their calories from fat and 1/6 of Americans were obese. The government recommended reducing fat to less than 30% of overall calories, and, amazingly, Americans actually followed the recommendation. We now get about 30% of our calories from fat, and 1/3 of us are obese.

That doesn’t say much about what kind of fat we’re eating (e.g., if it’s oil), but the advice to reduce calories from fat was based on them being empty calories. It appears that they also help people feel full longer.

Personally, when I eat a salad for lunch, it doesn’t bother me that literally 85% of the calories come from fat (15 calories for the lettuce, 90 calories for the salad dressing). Even if I have low-fat salad dressing (30 calories), I’m getting 66% of my calories from fat.

Then again , maybe I’m reading the data wrong: it’s possible to reduce the percentage of calories coming from fat by eating the same amount of fat, and more food overall. Maybe Americans just did that.

Olives make a good snack, olive oil doesn't. Olive oil is great for frying things in, whole (or even sliced) olives aren't.

It's silly to pretend that you can pick one and live your life without the other. Or that there is never a need for some sort of cooking fat.

Because you're assuming maintaining the same eating habits. I have literally consumed no overt oils for a year now, have had no need for a cooking fat, and have had no lack in creative dishes. I eat flavorful curries, soups, etc. If I want something similar to sauted, I can use water or broth. If I want something crispy, I can bake. You just lack creative imagination to see that it's possible.

As dietary advice is being presented here as explicit statements (incidentally without evidence) I want to make this claim: The advice to avoid extracted fats (oils) is not sound.

As categories, oils and fat are fine. They both contain elements which are good for health. There are subcategories which seem to be bad for health (e.g. trans fats, and oils with those in, or rancid oil).

There's no physiological need for oil. Fat, yes. Oil is purely culinary.

Wrong. Quality fats are not only essential but also good for you for example: olive oils, Avocado oils.

Avoid (cheap) vegetable oils such as sunflower and rapeseed oils and the derived products with hydrogenated oils, such as margarines.

He's saying to prefer the whole food (the "source") over the raw oil. Doesn't seem that wrong.

Also, this health guide lists sunflower and "cheap" canola as examples of good unsaturated fats.

I wonder now if this Guide is also sponsored by the Agriculture and Health Industry. Processed food and sugar are the real things people should avoid.

It sounds like Canada’s guide followed the same path that the US’s did: the original USDA food pyramid was influenced by lobbying and recommended lots of carbohydrates and milk. It also suffered from the fact that there was no attempt to have people follow the diet to see its effects before the USDA recommended it to the whole country. Over the past twenty years, the USDA has quietly been revising the recommendations (they make a big deal when they issue new recommendations and websites to distribute them, but they don’t say much about what actually changed each time).

My favorite example is that a doctor once recommended that I follow the DASH diet to lower my blood pressure. The DASH diet was a modified version of the 1990s food pyramid. A relatively recent study compared it with diets that get fewer calories from carbohydrates, and while all the diets they tried did lower blood pressure, the original DASH diet was the worst of the bunch ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3236092/ ).

Thanks for the link.

This seems mostly in line with what I read in "The Mostly Plant Diet" [1]:

> Fats: Especially avoid trans fats and vegetable (seed) oils, but also other cooking oils, even olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, sesame oil, etc. Enjoy whole olives, whole coconut, whole avocados, whole walnuts, and whole sesame seeds instead. They are naturally packaged with many nutrients and fiber, which is stripped out when processed to make oil.

[1] http://www.humansarenotbroken.com/mostly-plant-diet/

Replying to my own comment since it's too late to edit:

I don't mean avoid fats, I mean avoid extracted fats. Oils lack fiber and much of the nutrition that the whole food has. I.e. eat olives over olive oil, avocados over avocado oil, etc. I understand it sounds crazy, and yes it's not easy, but for my family's health it's been worth it. We've all found great benefit in different ways.

Also Dr Greger's "How Not to Die" book is a better source than the YouTube video I linked.

spraak's point on preferring whole source foods seems sound.

Having watched this video though, it presents a fringe view on dietary lipids, and is full of dubious logic. The presenter gains academic credos by flashing up various small studies very briefly, but never examines their interpretability, nor considers the counterpoint.

Perhaps there is a larger issues here of vegans over-eating poor quality lipids, which he is trying to address.

I don't have the book at hand right now to cite exact pages, but Dr. Greger's "How Not to Die" has a much better explanation and cited sources

There's some evidence that olive oil is directly good for the heart: https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/101/1/44/4564320

That study compares different olive oils, not olive oil vs e.g. whole olives. Dr Greger's "How Not to Die" book explains how oils like olive oil are in general not good for the arteries.

Dr Greger's claims seem to contradict the bulk of academic opinion. Maybe he's right, but when I search, I tend to find things like these:

"Olive oil is well known for its cardioprotective properties" - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23006416

"In conclusion, the aggregated evidence supports the assertion that olive oil consumption is beneficial for human health" - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S037851221...

"In conclusion, olive oil consumption was related to a reduced risk of incident CHD events." - https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-n...

"Higher baseline total olive oil consumption was associated with 48% (HR: 0.52; 95% CI: 0.29 to 0.93) reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality" - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4030221/

"In this experiment, it seems that taking 20ml of raw olive oil – either extra virgin or ‘normal’ – can have a positive effect on our hearts." - https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/tWtLcz30LZm3YTk5Vf...

They both look the same (except for use of pyramid vs circle). What exactly are the major differences as you see?

The new Food Guide doesn't really discriminate by food groups apart from "eat fruits and veggies" and does away with daily portions per food type. What are the similarities you see?

Even if I agree with the guide, one has to remember it is election year in Canada, and Canada is one of the largest grower of pulses and legumes. Nothing is devoid of political ramifications.

While it is not completely impossible, if political ramifications were the prime drivers, meat, dairy and grain would have a lot more space and would have suffered when comparing to previous version of the guide.

The guide as likely little effect outside the country, its effect is more on small institutional kitchens (daycares, schools, clinics etc.), its content is unlikely to affect international sales. Its political effect is more likely to be felt internally, through perception of people in the affected industries rather than the effect the guide may have on their sales.

Some of the not so favoured are powerful industries what occupy a lot of land across several provinces (wheat), have suffered recently and are getting more politically active (dairy) or are in areas where the party currently in power needs to keep its support for the next election (meat).



Both use a pretty similar graphic and both dedicate 50% of the plate for fruit and vegetable.

I'm Canadian and the milk industry seems like a much bigger political issues (and it was already one after the USMCA).

Oh, it’s still catering to some industries, they’re just far less blatant about it than in America.

Do you have anything to back that statement up?


Food science in general is as corrupt as it gets, with the vast majority of research funded by and favorable to agriculture businesses. Even stuff that we take for granted as healthy, such as fruit and vegetables, often have their benefits massively overstated by the companies that stand to benefit by such proclamations of health.

The area has been an absolute miserable failure in its obstensible goals, making us healthy. The western world has been pretty diligent about following the recommendations of the food scientists, especially around eliminating saturated fat, and the results have been a complete and utter disaster. Yet we continue to listen to the exact same people hashing the exact same advice as the population continues to get fatter, sicker, and die sooner.

I don't understand. You're saying a diet based around fruits and vegetables is unhealthy and favourable to the agriculture business but saturated fats are ok?

What a tail spin.

I'm not saying that fruits and vegetables are unhealthy per se, but that their benefits have been vastly overstated, especially for fruits. Triply so for juice, which is basically the same as soda.

Saturated fat is good for you, the pop science you've been fed about saturated fat is complete garbage. Sure, saturated fat increases "bad" cholesterol, LDL. Unfortunately it turns out there are two types of LDL, only one of which is actually correlated with heart attacks. Turns out cutting out saturated fat from your diet might drop your LDL, but it also reduces expected lifespan. Oops! You could also take Statins for those "dangerous" levels of LDL, but it turns out they do nothing to improve your all-cause mortality stats unless if you fall within a narrow portion of the population.

It's only a tailspin because you've been fed garbage information about food your whole life. But given the absolute catastrophic state of public health within the United States, I'm genuinely surprised that anyone listens to the official health guides at all.

> Triply so for juice, which is basically the same as soda. https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/healthy-eating-recommendatio...

did you even read the guideline?

In the Pork and apple skillet dinner[1], they recommend using canola oil, a recommendation one doesn't see all that often. With canola oil having been engineered in Canada, is it an oil of choice for Canadians?

[1] https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/canada-food-...

I'd say canola is the default oil if you need fat that has little to no flavour itself in a recipe.

All the vegetable oil I buy here in the UK is actually 100% canola oil. You have to look at the ingredients list to realise it since it's just labeled as vegetable oil.

I'm surprised you don't see that recommendation often. It's a very cheap, versatile cooking oil. I wouldn't say it's anyone's favourite, but it's effectively the default?

No? At least where I'm from, the default is sunflower oil and if you want to upgrade its olive oil. I've never heard of canola oil

FWIW, you may know it as rapeseed oil. "Canola was originally a trademark name of the Rapeseed Association of Canada, and the name was a condensation of "Can" from Canada and "ola" from other vegetable oils like Mazola,[6][7] but is now a generic term for edible varieties of rapeseed oil in North America and Australia. The change in name serves to distinguish it from natural rapeseed oil, which has much higher erucic acid content." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canola_oil

Because it’s awful for your health?

Such as?

Milk is a huge deal in the US, the dairy farmers association has it engrained in every American that they need milk and only milk for calcium - never mind broccoli, almonds, figs, sardines, etc., in fact they go through great pains to not mention alternate sources of calcium. It only works because so much of the US population is lactose tolerant.

One might argue we are lactose tolerant because of the ridiculous amount of lobbying they did in the 50s and 60s.

Calcium in milk is also not bio-available once it’s been homogenized, because it’s stripped out of its protective fat layer and expose to lactose which binds to it in a way that humans can’t undo on our own.

Milk is a fantastic source of calcium, when you don’t mess with it too much. Why wouldn’t it be? It’s evolved specifically to grow mammals up to full size as quickly as possible, which includes growing a lot of bone. The issue is that we’ve monkeyed with it in a way that’s convenient for producers, but bad for consumers.

Do you have any links?

It's not a claim I've ever heard before.

Not a link, but a book. Deep Nutrition, by Catherine Shanahan.

She cites a couple hundred studies in the book, worth a read if you’re into this stuff.

For comparison: Harvard Healthy Eating Plate https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-eating-...

At least among the Harvard faculty, there appears to be a consensus that healthy fats are important, which the Canadian guide doesn't seem to stress that much.



Comments on the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate (https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/diet/intervie...):

INTERVIEWER: Some nutritionists have criticized your pyramid as "floating on a lake of olive oil."

WILLETT: The formal studies that had compared a more moderate fat intake as we've suggested, with low-fat diets, have actually consistently shown that people did as well or better controlling their weight on a moderate-fat diet compared to a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet.

INTERVIEWER: Even good fats are more fattening than good carbs. So they think you're contributing to the obesity epidemic, or there's a risk of that. A tablespoon of olive oil is 14 grams of fat.

WILLETT: There are all kinds of beliefs about the amount of fat in a diet, tremendously strong opinions. What we really need is sound data, and the studies that have been done show that people actually end up controlling their weight at least as well, and usually better, on moderate-fat diets compared to low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets.

INTERVIEWER: Is it okay to get more than 30 percent of your calories from fat?

WILLETT: The evidence is quite clear that it's perfectly fine to get more than 30 percent of your calories from fat, and probably, in fact, it's even better to be getting more than 30 percent of calories from fat, if it's the healthy form of fat. ...


EDIT: formatting

I prefer the visualization on the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate website: it conveys more information in a smaller space than the plate graphic you first see on Canada's Food Guide.

That said, the Canada Food Guide page certainly has fat covered. It doesn't mention it straight from the landing page, but if you explore the guide, you find it pretty quick.

The first link in the sidebar of the Canada Food Guide, "Food Choices," takes you to


which states in the second line of text "Choose foods with healthy fats instead of saturated fat." That text is (non-obviously) a link to


which provides about the same amount of detail about healthy versus saturated fats. It also mentions that "the type of fat you eat over time is more important for health than the total amount of fat you eat."

Finally, the "Further Reading" section links to


which goes into much more detail, and even provides links intended for industry and health professionals for anyone looking for yet more information.

While the Canadian guide's layout is different from the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate, I'd say the Canadian guide has fat covered pretty well!

True, and I don't hate this guide from my government, but the sample recipes are eye-rolling.


Like, guys. Why are we adding brown sugar and why are we stressing skim milk? What are we adding dried cranberries, which lack fibre?

I constantly feel like I need to write a website on how to be healthy. I'm a fit software dev with 11% body fat. I've held it for almost 5 years now, but before that I was just like everyone else. It's really simple.

1. Maximize fibre (i.e., fresh veggies, non-canned chickpeas). 2. Eliminate refined sugar / date / figs / dried fruit as much as humanly possible. 3. Maximize flavour (i.e., fat, spices, added berries) 4. Maximize protein 5. Minimize average effort 6. Minimum 15 minutes of heart pumping exercise per day. Ideally 1 hour or more.

This is easier than you expect. I make a chickpea curry or (mostly) vegetarian chilli in a huge dutch oven once a week. That's 10 meals right there. I bike to get around. Body weight exercise once a week, and that's basically it.

This whole fat vs carbs thing is a total red herring. Some carbs are great for you (resistant starch, both soluble and insoluble fibre) some are fine (lactose, glucose) some are shitty (fructose, sucrose). Some fats are great for you (omega balanced polys) some are fine (mono) some are shitty (trans), but we lump it all into fats vs carbs and no wonder the public is confused.

It's almost like the food guide needs to make recommendations based on the categories you outline, and have those added to the nutrition labels. Eg replace 'fat' as a category with 'omega balanced polys' and trans fat. Gosh, then even color code the nutrition label so show that the bad nutrition elements are in red.

Ie. make it easy for the consumer to pick up to food items in the grocery store and make the healthy decision between the two. As of now, I don't really think that's possible unless you study things like yourself.

What's wrong with canned chickpeas?


This was the first I'd heard of it too, but I looked it up and saw this page (as well as various similar pages). It looks like canned has way less nutritional value when compared to cooked from dry.

There's also the higher sodium content.

Olive oil is not a healthy fat (as much as I'd love it to be) -- it's got a substantial amount of saturated fat, and the interviewer is correct -- it's very easy to get a lot of empty calories with oil.

Aside from that, weight is not the only issue. A high fat diet (even a vegan one) is not good for your cardiovascular system.

There's a widely quoted study by high-fat diet proponents comparing two groups eating a high-fat Mediterranean diet (one with olive oil, one with nuts) to a "low fat" control group: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1200303?query=re...

This study can't really be used to advocate a high fat diet, though, because all the diets (even the control group) were actually high fat. Looking at page 28 of the appendix (https://www.nejm.org/doi/suppl/10.1056/NEJMoa1200303/suppl_f...) shows that the fat intake of all three groups was really very similar -- about 41% calories from fat for the olive oil and nut groups, but only...37% fat from the control group. 37% calories from fat is not "low fat".

On the other hand, a true low fat diet, with fewer than 10% of calories from fat, has been shown to actually reverse the progression of heart disease: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7500065 (this was one of the first studies to demonstrate this, but they've repeated this with larger groups and gotten the same results)

Where's the proof of your assertion that olive oil is not a healthy fat due to the saturated fat content? I'm under the impression saturated fat is a bogeyman similar to cholesterol.

The very same Harvard web-site?

> Saturated fats, while not as harmful as trans fats, by comparison with unsaturated fats negatively impact health and are best consumed in moderation. Foods containing large amounts of saturated fat include red meat, butter, cheese, and ice cream. Some plant-based fats like coconut oil and palm oil are also rich in saturated fat.


> The very same Harvard web-site?

Thanks, but that is not from the post I was responding to, and only addresses part of the claim I was disputing. The link says unsaturated fats are better than saturated fats... and specifically calls out olive oil as being healthy:

> “Good” unsaturated fats — Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — lower disease risk. Foods high in good fats include vegetable oils (such as olive, canola, sunflower, soy, and corn), nuts, seeds, and fish.

Neither that site, nor your quote list olive oil as a saturated fat.

This is the conclusion from your first link.

It seems to disagree with your statements.

"In conclusion, in this primary prevention trial, we observed that an energy-unrestricted Mediterranean diet, supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts, resulted in a substantial reduction in the risk of major cardiovascular events among high-risk persons. The results support the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease."

Another random snippet from same link: "Thus, extra-virgin olive oil and nuts were probably responsible for most of the observed benefits of the Mediterranean diets."

"On the other hand, a true low fat diet, with fewer than 10% of calories from fat, has been shown to actually reverse the progression of heart disease"

I know almost nothing about health studies, but I read the abstract you link to and there's no mention of randomized control group or other mechanism to prevent bias.

Tried a quick search and came up with this Wikipedia article:


I read somewhere that a mix of 50% olive oil and 50% butter very closely approximates the lipid profile of human fat. If saturated fat is bad for you, why does the body choose to store "bad" fats? Wouldn't evolution have weeded out saturated fat storage since it's "bad" for your cardiovascular system?

This argument makes no sense to me. The storage of excess energy in the form of body fat is completely different from the health impacts of the type of fat that you eat. A person's body fat will always be saturated, but their health outcomes will vary drastically based on their diet.

This argument reminds me of the vast difference between eating genetically modified plant or animal tissue versus modifying your own genes.

> What we really need is sound data, and the studies that have been done show that people actually end up controlling their weight at least as well, and usually better, on moderate-fat diets compared to low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets.

In my experience, and what I've read, relatively higher fat food satiates better. If you're relatively less hungry, you have a better chance to resist overeating and boredom eating.

Canada.ca is a recipe website now and it's what HN always wanted: a recipe with no weird preface personal stories about grandmother's or something drinking tea.

The reason for the stories, I think, comes to a matter of US copyright law. For the most part, recipes themselves (ingredients and basic steps) are not protected under copyright. Any extraneous fluff added to the article is, though.

That, and the longer you sit on a site, and the more you have to scroll, the more likely you are to click on an advertisement and earn them some revenue.

scroll scroll scroll ah, finally the ingredients.

The stories are there because you have to be Don Draper to convince people to eat some of the recipes people put on the internet.

I’ve seen macaroni and cheese recipes that should have been called mayonnaise w/ pasta. One recipe for Spanish rice, wish I’d saved the url just to prove it existed, called for ketchup and soy sauce. I’m not sure if that was a prison recipe or if someone actually thought it was good and served it to their family.

IMO there is a huge need for curation and review on the recipe sites, not just the mindless screen scraping that’s been the norm for so long. And you might not know it from watching the food network but there are other genres of food besides Italian and “tacos”.

Some say it has to do with SEO purposes. There is a browser extension that directly shows the recipe itself called Recipe Filter.

I reckon this is influenced by the pioneering Brazilian food guide [1] released in 2014, which was created in partnership with the Universiy of Montreal[2].

[1] https://www.vox.com/2015/2/20/8076961/brazil-food-guide

[2] https://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/features/brazils-revolutio...

New guide, same as the old guide, minus dairy as its own category, and carbs are de-emphasized.

This seems pretty non-controversial.

The old food pyramid suggested having as many carbs as you could handle, and made it seem like milk and meat were absolutely vital.

The new take just lumps those into protein and suggests proteins as a whole should be about 25% of your diet.

While no guide could possibly please everyone (there's a diet trend for every possible food combo out there), this seems like a reasonable baseline to me.

As for the recipes they list... omg no.

Great Job, Canada. They've shot down many of the lobbying companies when publishing this.

It's not perfect, but it's a good start.

> Great Job, Canada. They've shot down many of the lobbying companies when publishing this.

They only shot down diary, meat and juice industry[1], while conveniently ignoring mentioning of lobbying from others (plant-based foods).

Canada actually produces over 50% of the world's supply of lentils and they also grow a large amounts of various grains, legumes that they may be looking to push and make a profit for[2].

The whole food guide is extremely biased and hardly anyone here in HN seems to get it, lol.


[1] https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-new-food-guid...

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3uewoEocYY

My food guide is to learn from examples: How average people of my age and older look like in different parts of the world? Are they healthy? What do they eat? What their habits? etc.

A people's traditional diet does not necessarily correlate to their longevity, there are many other factors one needs to take into account (way of life, access to healthcare, access to food, etc)

Jesus, who invented that???

Mac and cheese with a veggie twist

* 375 mL (1 ½ cups) whole grain macaroni or fusilli * 10 mL (2 tsp) soft non-hydrogenated margarine

Yeah. That recipe looks pretty rough. I hate it when people try to transform unhealthy dishes into healthy "treats".

Just serve pasta with olive oil, some sort of acid (lemon juice, rotating cast of vinegars, tomatoes), and maybe a little grated sharp cheese if you really need that.

Honestly, I'd rather just eat barley, farro, or bulgur in a bowl than try to force whole grains into crumbly pasta. But I guess that's a matter of taste.

The big problem with this dish is the relative lack of umami. Sauteed mushrooms (shitake, portabella) really help here if you don't want to use meat. Or nutritional yeast really does the trick here. Depending on your palette, various fish sauces also help, though most Canadians probably aren't adding fermented fish products on everything.

I would imagine several of the recipes are directed at families with young children?

Most kids love simple noodle and rice dishes.

> Depending on your palette, various fish sauces also help, though most Canadians probably aren't adding fermented fish products on everything.

Hah, am (a very white) Canadian, and fish sauces are the only non-Vegetarian thing I'm still stocking in my house.

I was even more concerned about the margarine. I think it’s pretty established by now that cholesterol and saturated fat is a myth. Might as well eat butter then.

From what I read, and someone please correct me on this, they put a bunch of scientists in a room to do their work without any influences from industry and lobby groups.

I love this. Great job Canada!

I haven't looked over this food guide and probably will not put too much thought into it as a Canadian. Everyone knows that last food guide was completely out of touch with reality and was actually influenced by some of the big food companies. So now they want to try again and they didn't have it right for the last few decades why should I listen now? If they want to get me to listen now they need to highlight the old food guide and the changes they made and why. I notice they now recommend water as the drink of choice when the last one companies like Minute Maid fought to have a glass of juice placed on it. So my generation was sold out on the food guide. My trust now is strained. I will take this one with caution as well and continue to question if there is some alternative motive for the foods recommended.

I can't believe they still promote horrible industrial oils high in omega-6 as healthy fats:

  Unsaturated fats that are good for your health: peanut, soybean, safflower, sunflower.

It's great that they highlight the effects of targeted advertising on eating behaviour: https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/healthy-eating-recommendatio...

Definitely good to see a government organization being aware of how the modern world works.

This is simply perfect.. Everyone can follow this by making small changes in their eating habits towards a healthy lifestyle.

I hope that plate at the top of the front page isn't a suggested meal size!

Has anyone got some background on this, is it part of a larger policy? Is it going to be added to, or is this it now?

Why? Too much? Too little?

The egg seems to be the most reliable scale indicator? Assuming that's a normal size egg, that is a very large plate of food.

I know the intent is to indicate relative proportions of food, but you question suggests more work needs to be done on portion control also.

I think if you divide the food on the plate over the course of a day that might be a reasonable amount, maybe a bit too much. Generally the site tends to focus too much on the problems of overeating while some people (myself included) might rather have problems to eat enough (healthy) food sometimes.

If governements tells you what to eat please be skeptical. They have got it wrong in past and they might be wrong today. The best diet advice always comes from grandma.

Just because they tried and got it wrong doesn't mean we should be skeptical. We should be comparing what is known about food science to what is presented. Honestly, this food guide has been closest to what people currently consider healthy than any other previous guide.

The whole advice from grandma is nonsense. You probably have a wealthy background, but my grandma was poor, uneducated, and cooked meals based on what was affordable. That isn't advice, that's an economic condition.

For some perspective, the original guide was produced to help the Canadian population to stay healthy during war induced restrictions.

The later, and current version of the guide influence institutional kitchens that do not have dedicated nutritionists such as daycares, some schools, clinics, etc.

If I followed by grandma's preferences we'd be eating canned food, salted meat, mincemeat pie, a lot of mayonnaise and cookies (exaggerating of course).

What are the little balls to the left of the egg?

I think pine nuts, perhaps some other type of nuts or maybe even lentils?

It's not the same anti-evolutionary guude promoted by the EAT foundation is it?

Looks like it, and for which there is a good rebuttal: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/diagnosis-diet/20190...

It's interesting how we can all check out Canada's food guide, but we cannot do the same with e.g. the Dutch food guide, or the Italian one, or the Russian one, unless you speak those languages.

In any case, this one appears pretty similar to the Dutch one, so I guess that that's a good sign. The Dutch one recommends specific portions (250g of vegetables for an adult, for example), but I think in similar ratios as shown on that example plate, and similar products.

Literally typing "dutch food guide" into DuckDuckGo got me to this summary in English: http://www.fao.org/nutrition/education/food-based-dietary-gu...

Then following some broken links to https://www.voedingscentrum.nl, here is The Netherlands Nutrition Centre's English home page: https://www.voedingscentrum.nl/nl/service/english.aspx where following some more broken links you get to their "Wheel of Five", "the practical information tool used by the Netherlands Nutrition Centre to give examples of healthy dietary patterns": https://www.voedingscentrum.nl/Assets/Uploads/voedingscentru...

(I don't speak Dutch, and I feel silly pointing out that national dietary guidelines make most sense in national languages, and that English happens to be a national language of Canada.)

Wow interesting, it didn't even occur to me that the Voedingscentrum would have made available English-language content. To be clear, I wouldn't expect the Canadian food guide to be made available in Dutch either.

It's just that I often compare Dutch guidelines with foreign (usually American) ones, and they often diverge. For example, in the Netherlands it's common not to use anaesthesia when giving birth, where most other countries AFAIK do.

> It's interesting how we can all check out Canada's food guide, but we cannot do the same with e.g. the Dutch food guide, or the Italian one, or the Russian one, unless you speak those languages.

It's the same case for Canada's food guide? They're not making it available in other languages except English and French.

Of course; it wasn't a criticism, but an observation. Just because many of us here speak English, even though we're not from Canada, we can know what is recommended in Canada, and how that compares with our own. I wouldn't expect them to make it available in other languages :)

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