The Canada Food Guide is Killing You

~Elsie

Cathlete
Public Health does seem to be behind here, that I will agree to and not just in terms of nutrition but things like mental health & addictions and long term care. I remember in the eighties when these guides seemed to be too largely influenced by the dairy board. Then there was the demonization of eggs. I, personally, feel that the manufacturing of eggs is highly unethical, however eggs in themselves seem are very highly digestible form of protein and amino acids. I also think the 'fats debate' will definitely go on and on. People are taking so many fatty supplements it seems to help with inflammation and hair issues etc. cause it is absent in the diet. If you just eat it, supplements wouldn't be necessary (also much of this supplementation is resulting in unbalanced ecosystems, krill oil for example). Here in Canada, if we invested more in rural sustainable development which would help keep the fishing and agricultural industries smaller, more accountable and healthier (I know, layered issue), our food would come out being healthier and more nutrient dense. With such a growing population though, it is no small task & corporate agri-foods conglomerates have a lot of money and therefore influence.
Sorry, I know I went off there, but it is a large issue here and especially to people like myself whose rural community is dying and has had to move to the city. More people having to move to cities creates more issues like food & water security, more pollution, homelessness etc. etc.

Having said all this, I still think the Globe & Mail headline was a bit much. ;) Killing us? I dunno. If they said eating too much high sodium fast food were killing us, then maybe. But grains?
 
Thanks, Skatch, for starting a discussion on this article. :) I just read it in the National Post 2 days ago and found it interesting. :cool: I agree that it is time to update the Canada Food Guide, especially in terms of the grains. I think we need to get on board with what they have done in the United States over the past few months. The NEW U.S. dietary guidelines put out in January ( http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/executive-summary/ ) are quite detailed but they are cleverly using the 'My Plate' concept to make it easier for people to understand. Here's a link to a simple description/visual of it: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-eating-plate/ Also, Cathe summerized some of the key recommendations found in the new U.S. dietary guidelines in a recent blog: http://cathe.com/how-many-people-are-really-living-a-healthy-lifestyle-prepare-to-be-shocked
Let's hope the Canadian government looks at this American model and then makes some needed adjustments!
 
COMPLETELY agree with you Elsie! Thanks so much for articulating so many thought provoking points and putting this discussion into a larger context.
 

skatch

Cathlete
Public Health does seem to be behind here, that I will agree to and not just in terms of nutrition but things like mental health & addictions and long term care. I remember in the eighties when these guides seemed to be too largely influenced by the dairy board. Then there was the demonization of eggs. I, personally, feel that the manufacturing of eggs is highly unethical, however eggs in themselves seem are very highly digestible form of protein and amino acids. I also think the 'fats debate' will definitely go on and on. People are taking so many fatty supplements it seems to help with inflammation and hair issues etc. cause it is absent in the diet. If you just eat it, supplements wouldn't be necessary (also much of this supplementation is resulting in unbalanced ecosystems, krill oil for example). Here in Canada, if we invested more in rural sustainable development which would help keep the fishing and agricultural industries smaller, more accountable and healthier (I know, layered issue), our food would come out being healthier and more nutrient dense. With such a growing population though, it is no small task & corporate agri-foods conglomerates have a lot of money and therefore influence.
Sorry, I know I went off there, but it is a large issue here and especially to people like myself whose rural community is dying and has had to move to the city. More people having to move to cities creates more issues like food & water security, more pollution, homelessness etc. etc.

Having said all this, I still think the Globe & Mail headline was a bit much. ;) Killing us? I dunno. If they said eating too much high sodium fast food were killing us, then maybe. But grains?


I know it seems crazy, I thought so too at first. But after reading much of the science based information out there, it all makes sense! Heart disease and diabetes are linked to carbohydrates (yes, even grains!) not, fat! Two years ago, I gave up sugar, bread, cereal, rice, pasta (all carbohydrates, really). All I eat is non-starchy vegetables, meats and fat! Once in a while I still indulge, and I can tell you that I feel bloated and just all around horrible when I do. Yes, fast food is bad for you, but people have to realize that cereal and low fat yogurt and skim milk is all just sugar too. Everything I thought I knew about a healthy diet, is wrong now. I can't believe how blind I was. You can't outrun a bad diet.
 

skatch

Cathlete
Thanks, Skatch, for starting a discussion on this article. :) I just read it in the National Post 2 days ago and found it interesting. :cool: I agree that it is time to update the Canada Food Guide, especially in terms of the grains. I think we need to get on board with what they have done in the United States over the past few months. The NEW U.S. dietary guidelines put out in January ( http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/executive-summary/ ) are quite detailed but they are cleverly using the 'My Plate' concept to make it easier for people to understand. Here's a link to a simple description/visual of it: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-eating-plate/ Also, Cathe summerized some of the key recommendations found in the new U.S. dietary guidelines in a recent blog: http://cathe.com/how-many-people-are-really-living-a-healthy-lifestyle-prepare-to-be-shocked
Let's hope the Canadian government looks at this American model and then makes some needed adjustments!

I still think the American version needs a lot of work. They say limit sugary drinks, then they tell you to have one small glass of juice a day...that is pure sugar! They are also still telling people to avoid butter and then they list canola oil as a healthy fat. It is all so wrong! Not to mention it still heavy on starch and grains. http://www.vox.com/2016/3/25/11305614/soda-juice-energy-drink-consumption-nutrition
 

ChelePA

Cathlete
I know it seems crazy, I thought so too at first. But after reading much of the science based information out there, it all makes sense! Heart disease and diabetes are linked to carbohydrates (yes, even grains!) not, fat! Two years ago, I gave up sugar, bread, cereal, rice, pasta (all carbohydrates, really). All I eat is non-starchy vegetables, meats and fat! Once in a while I still indulge, and I can tell you that I feel bloated and just all around horrible when I do. Yes, fast food is bad for you, but people have to realize that cereal and low fat yogurt and skim milk is all just sugar too. Everything I thought I knew about a healthy diet, is wrong now. I can't believe how blind I was. You can't outrun a bad diet.[/QUOT

You have basically summed up the changes I made two years ago. I only eat berries for fruit..plus veggies and nuts make up most of my carbohydrates. Feel so much better! Slowly transitioning my family.
 
I know it seems crazy, I thought so too at first. But after reading much of the science based information out there, it all makes sense! Heart disease and diabetes are linked to carbohydrates (yes, even grains!) not, fat! Two years ago, I gave up sugar, bread, cereal, rice, pasta (all carbohydrates, really). All I eat is non-starchy vegetables, meats and fat! Once in a while I still indulge, and I can tell you that I feel bloated and just all around horrible when I do. Yes, fast food is bad for you, but people have to realize that cereal and low fat yogurt and skim milk is all just sugar too. Everything I thought I knew about a healthy diet, is wrong now. I can't believe how blind I was. You can't outrun a bad diet.

I have to laugh at myself when I think back to the way I used to eat only a couple of years ago.

I started reading tons of nutrition books that took varying positions: pro-vegetarian, pro-vegan, pro-meat, pro-carb, anti-carb, pro-fat. I wanted to read it all to get as much info as possible. Then I came across the Blue Zone books and it really hit home to me: why don't I learn about what long-lived populations are eating? Why don't I just find real-world examples of what works instead of trying to follow Nutrition Guidelines heavily influenced by politics, big agriculture, and long-entrenched ideas of nutrition that don't seem to ring true?

So I read a couple of books about Blue Zones, geographic areas of the world where people live a long time without the diseases and ailments that seem to hit North America with high frequency (think lots of people regularly living to 90-100 years old with far less diabetes, heart disease, almost no dementia). The books detail not only their diet, but also their social relationships, stress levels and daily activity levels.

The areas are Loma Linda, CA (Seventh-Day Adventists), Nicoya, Costa Rica, Sardinia, Italy, Ikaria, Greece, and Okinawa, Japan.

Overall, I learned that there are many dietary paths to optimal health and wellness, but there is one thing that they all have in common: they all eat real food. They cook real food. The diets are plant-based, heavy on vegetables and beans, some fruit, some dairy. They eat meat (pork, goat, lamb), but use it as a condiment and not every day and not the focal point of a meal (Seventh-Day Adventists are mainly vegetarian, but some eat fish and they also enjoy the same longevity). Although, I think meat intake in Sardinia is pretty regular. Dairy is full-fat, the way it comes out of the cow, sheep, or goat. They are active, physically and mentally. They have social networks that help reduce stress and keep them connected to others.


What also stuck out to me, especially in the parts of the book about Ikaria is that the younger generation there is adopting a more Western-style diet and becoming more sedentary and, surprise, surprise, diabetes, heart disease, and overweight are all on the rise among the younger people. Also, the Ikarian's diet is about 50% fat, which runs completely counter to what we are told is healthy here in the US.

More than any other books I’ve read, the Blue Zones were the most impactful, because they document real-world examples of lifestyles that promote health. It completely changed the way I eat.
 
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ChelePA

Cathlete
I have to laugh at myself when I think back to the way I used to eat only a couple of years ago.

I started reading tons of nutrition books that took varying positions: pro-vegetarian, pro-vegan, pro-meat, pro-carb, anti-carb, pro-fat. I wanted to read it all to get as much info as possible. Then I came across the Blue Zone books and it really hit home to me: why don't I learn about what long-lived populations are eating? Why don't I just find real-world examples of what works instead of trying to follow Nutrition Guidelines heavily influenced by politics, big agriculture, and long-entrenched ideas of nutrition that don't seem to ring true?

So I read a couple of books about Blue Zones, geographic areas of the world where people live a long time without the diseases and ailments that seem to hit North America with high frequency (think lots of people regularly living to 90-100 years old with far less diabetes, heart disease, almost no dementia). The books detail not only their diet, but also their social relationships, stress levels and daily activity levels.

The areas are Loma Linda, CA (Seventh-Day Adventists), Nicoya, Costa Rica, Sardinia, Italy, Ikaria, Greece, and Okinawa, Japan.

Overall, I learned that there are many dietary paths to optimal health and wellness, but there is one thing that they all have in common: they all eat real food. They cook real food. The diets are plant-based, heavy on vegetables and beans, some fruit, some dairy. They eat meat, but use it as a condiment and not every day and not the focal point of a meal (Seventh-Day Adventists are mainly vegetarian, but some eat fish and they also enjoy the same longevity). Dairy is full-fat, the way it comes out of the cow, sheep, or goat. They are active, physically and mentally. They have social networks that help reduce stress and keep them connected to others.


What also stuck out to me, especially in the parts of the book about Ikaria is that the younger generation there is adopting a more Western-style diet and becoming more sedentary and, surprise, surprise, diabetes, heart disease, and overweight are all on the rise among the younger people.

More than any other books I’ve read, the Blue Zones were the most impactful, because they document real-world examples of lifestyles that promote health. It completely changed the way I eat.
Great info!!!
 

Justinef

Cathlete
Thank you, poachedsalmon! I've visited both Sardinia and ikaria, and have heard about Loma Linda and Okinawa, but had no idea there was a book about it all. I'm off to order it now!
There is a to series on in the uk at the moment about how to live longer (and better!) and it talks about a lot of this stuff. Also the effects of social interaction on mental health, and how we need to look after our brains.

Glad you brought the subject up.
 
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Thank you, poachedsalmon! I've visited both Sardinia and ikaria, and have heard about Loma Linda and Okinawa, but had no idea there was a book about it all. I'm off to order it now!
There is a to series on in the uk at the moment about how to live longer (and better!) and it talks about a lot of this stuff. Also the effects of social interaction on mental health, and how we need to look after our brains.

Glad you brought the subject up.


Hope you enjoy them. I am not exaggerating when I say those books were the only ones that really got me moving in the right direction. I think it's because the discussion was based on real life and not some theory about what could be healthy. Somehow I had to read about real people whose diets contain almost no refined sugar or processed foods to get me to stop eating all the junk food and sweets I was eating; for some reason I thought that I could eat all that stuff because I was a vegetarian (for 30 years!) and I exercise. I though it would all balance out (my lab results indicated otherwise). I've branched out in to full-fat goat and sheep milk's yogurt because of the Blue Zones. Like Blue Zone inhabitants, I have sweets at special occasions. I'm still working on portion size when I do eat sweets, though. That is still a problem for me.

I try to relax more and not let little things stress me out. I even joined a volunteer organization to increase my social interaction (I tend to be a loner). I would not have done those things otherwise.

Lastly, I've started eating meat again but with very strict criteria: must be organ meat only (heart, liver, kidney) from grass-fed and pastured-raised animals. Luckily, I have access to two farmers right near me that have just that. But I've also seen the same thing in local health food stores near me. I eat it about once a week. I just started doing this a month ago, so we'll see what happens, health-wise.
 

Justinef

Cathlete
The book has obviously had a huge impact on you. I'm sure your dietary journey will be interesting and very beneficial. I LOVE organ meat (liver especially, but also kidneys, and haggis-of course!) I raise my own animals for food on a (very) small scale farm. It's the only meat I feel OK eating. Over 10 years ago, we turned to a more 'basic' way of life when my husband became very ill. I believe it was the stress of modern living which made him so sick - including modern farming and catering practices. It's not always an easy way of life, but it is so worth it. We were inspired by various cultures we encountered on travels around the world. The huge smiles and healthy glow of those that, on the face of it appeared less privileged than the stressed out manic people rushing around yet standing still.

I wish you the best of health!
 
...In the words of the wonderful Michael Pollen, food writer, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." His 7 word rule for eating says so much...

Justine, could you please provide the title of the UK series that you mentioned? I am very interested in brain health (really enjoyed John Ratey's book, "Spark" - fascinating summary of the research on exercise's impact on brain health), mental health and helpful social interactions. I find for myself that the BIGGEST positive effect of regular physical activity is improved mental health.

Very interesting thread. Thanks so much. I am ordering the Blue Zone books from my local library today. :)
 
Just reviving this thread for an update. I was wondering if anyone has read the Blue Zone books and what you thought of them?
 
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