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Is milk really healthy? Canada's new food-guide says 'not so much'

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 24 January 2019, 04:22 PM
Canada recently released a new food guide, and one thing noticeably missing is the daily dose of milk and milk products. (Photo: Twitter)
Canada recently released a new food guide, and one thing noticeably missing is the daily dose of milk and milk products. (Photo: Twitter)

Milk is/has been considered as the wholesome food, the one item found in almost every refrigerator and the liquid to every cereal. Children and grown-up alike are taught that this dairy food is one of the richest sources for protein. Canada's newest food guide is here to argue otherwise. Canada recently released a new food guide, and one thing noticeably missing is the daily dose of milk and milk products. The guide rather does away with food groups entirely, and instead encourages people to eat a variety of unprocessed foods.

The latest guide course-corrects, says Dr Hasan Hutchinson, director general of Health Canada's office of nutrition policy and promotion.

"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," he told reporters the day before the guide was made public.

The new food-guide recommends portions and serving sizes and for promoting a plant-heavy eating plan that's more in line with dietary guidance from other countries, where the smallest section in the grocery store is the dairy aisle.

The move away from meat and dairy requirements has won praise from vegetarian and vegan advocates, including Dr David Jenkins, the Canada research chair in nutrition and metabolism and a professor at the University of Toronto.

Dr Jenkins created the Glycaemic Index in the 1980s and now follows a plant-based diet for environmental reasons.

"I think [the guide] is moving in a plant-based direction, which will ruffle some feathers, but I think that's the direction it needs to go," he said of the new food guide.

He says we have erroneously placed "cow's milk next to mother's milk" in terms of its importance for human health.

The guide comes at a time many Canadians are cutting back on meat and dairy, for the environment, health or ethical reasons. Milk consumption since 2009 has seen a decline according to Statistics Canada, raising the popularity of plant-based milk-alternatives have grown.

"It's not particularly new to say eat more fruits and veggies, people have been saying this for a while," Dr Jenkins says.

First Published: Thursday, January 24, 2019 03:50 PM
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